Hawks Cay Blog: The Ultimate Resort Guide!
Hawks Cay Holiday Cheer
December 16, 2014
We are serious about Christmas here at Hawks Cay Resort. Don’t believe us? Just ask Santa. He’s been popping up all over the resort the last couple of weeks, trying to get in as much R&R as he can before the big day.
He’s actually been spotted soaking up some sun by the Saltwater Lagoon, hanging out with guests at the Front Desk and making sure Sundance Watersports’ Marinna the Elf stays out of trouble. Now, you didn’t hear this from us, but we heard he will be making a Keys-style arrival this Saturday for the last of our Santa Saturdays program. If you’re going to be here with us, be sure to be at the Saltwater Lagoon at 10 a.m. and stick around for pictures at 11 a.m.
Starting December 22, our holiday calendar will literally be overflowing with festive activities like Snowman Shot Put, Candy Cane Toss and Penguin Bowling. Yes, you read that right, Penguin Bowling. Check out the full schedule here and be sure to get your “silver and gold” game face on.
Be sure to stay though the New Year because we have the best party in the Keys for New Year’s Eve. Savor a special dinner at Ocean, dance into the night with live music then enjoy our specular fireworks over the Atlantic Ocean at midnight. It’s the perfect way to ring in the New Year. We hope you’ll join us.
Until next time…We wish you and yours happy and healthy holidays.
Ride the breeze in the Keys with oTHErside Boardsports and Keys Cable
December 2, 2014
Today is the first official Hawks Cay blog takeover! We’re so excited about this new element to the blog where we will be inviting friends and partners to guest post. Now you can learn more about our special amenities, activities and partnerships straight from the experts themselves.
We’re stoked to introduce our first guest blogger, Matt Sexton. He’s an internationally known kiteboarder and the co-founder of oTHErside Boardsports and Keys Cable. Matt and his partners are some of the coolest people in the Keys and we think we’re pretty cool for being able to connect our guests with their Kiteboarding expertise here at Hawks Cay for a lesson or at their training facility, Keys Cable. Now, here’s Matt with today’s post.
As the cold fronts begin to arrive in the Florida Keys we experience a rare time of the year where, just for a moment, we catch our glimpse of what it’s like to live with changing seasons. Traditionally, as the northern states start to get blasted with snow and blustery weather, we see a quick day of north winds that bring the occasional rain. Then the front passes and our trade winds return from the east, bringing warm steady air with them. While the name "cold front" might sound contradictory to what’s expected on a Florida vacation, take note that the temperature rarely drops below 70 degrees and if it does, it’s very short lived. The bright side is that these "cool fronts" usually make for unbelievable fishing and some of the best kiteboarding conditions available in the world.
While fishing has long since been a staple in the Florida Keys, Kiteboarding is rapidly on the rise. It’s one of those sports that can literally change your life. Whether you think it’s for you or not, it can't be denied that the first time you see it, you won't be able to look away. Not only is it extremely visually stimulating, but it’s hands down one of the most addicting sports that exist in the world today. While it remains in its infancy, kiteboarding originated in the late 90's with the greatest amount of growth in the first decade of the new millennium. In 1999, only the most hardcore watermen were making the pilgrimage to Maui to figure out how to master and improve the sport. But by 2005/2006, the equipment was so advanced and reliable that kiteboarding was rapidly emerging as the go to "extreme sport" for almost anyone willing to put in the effort to try it.
Our crew at oTHErside Boardsports and Keys Cable have been involved in kiteboarding since day one. Our early years in the scene were spent scouring the world in search of the friendliest locations to teach and enjoy the sport the way we thought it should be done! Hawks Cay Resort and its marina provides us with one of the premier facilities in the Keys to access all wind directions, whether we're out in the bay for the "cool front" days or soaking up our tropical east winds on the ocean side. Our instructors have been hand-picked from around the world to guarantee a quality experience that will have you smiling from ear to ear by the time your session is over! On top of our shallow water and consistent winds, we also have a fool proof back up plan should Mother Nature choose not to cooperate. Keys Cable, our nearby cable park, is one of the most advanced training locations for all boardsport related activities in the keys!
We live and breathe with the wind and the water, so next time you’re sitting at the pool or the Saltwater Lagoon and a gust of wind blows your umbrella out of your cocktail, give us a shout and let’s have some fun on the water! For more information, visit our kiteboarding page on HawksCay.com.
Until next time, may the winds be forever in your favor!
“Thanks” for Thanksgiving
November 25, 2014
We’ve highlighted Halloween on Facebook and wrote about Christmas on the blog. Just because Thanksgiving is “stuffed” between two holidays, we don’t think it seems fair to ignore it. So, to celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving feast (and hopefully get some good karma in return), we’ve compiled our top 10 list of things we are thankful for this year.
- Our guests! We love you guys. You are the reason we come to work each and every day.
- Our Staff!! Well, you wouldn’t visit us without the amazing smiling faces that greet you upon check-in, serve you your frosty beverage and introduce you to amazing new experiences.
- Speaking of frosty beverages, we’d like to give a special shout out to our bartenders. They really do create the tastiest libations in the Keys.
- The amazing team Sundance Watersports for all they do to give guests amazing and memorable experiences while visiting us.
- Dive Duck Key. They introduce guests to the wonderful world below the sea. It doesn’t get much better than that!
- Our Captains. These salty guys get to do what they love most and know exactly how and where to get the perfect catch.
- Dolphin Connection for educating guests on the incredible bottlenose dolphins that call Hawks Cay home.
- Key Limes! We wouldn’t have our popular Calm Waters Spa Key Lime Mojito Scrub without them.
- The fire pit for creating the perfect setting to snuggle up with loves.
- Mother Nature. We live in a wondrous place with magical sunsets, amazing wildlife and crystalline waters. It’s a privilege to call this place home and share it with guests from around the globe.
Here in “our little slice of paradise,” as we call it, there are so many things to be thankful for each and every day. Beautiful weather, fantastic fishing and the fact that we can wear shorts to work – the list goes on and on. Humor aside, Thanksgiving really is a special day to be grateful for family and friends. To all of our guests, have a safe and happy holiday.
Until next time… Happy Thanksgiving!
Have a Holly Jolly Hawks Cay Christmas
November 18, 2014
We don’t mean to steal Thanksgiving’s thunder, but we just have to say that we’re really excited about Hawks Cay Christmas, our annual holiday program. In our usual Hawks Cay style, we put a fun, Florida Keys twist on holiday celebrations. Where else in the world can you wear a bathing suit while sipping holiday libations under a palm tree lit up with Christmas lights? Yep, we think we’re pretty lucky.
We know just how exhausting preparing for the holidays can be. Just thinking about the to-do list can feel overwhelming. And that’s exactly why Santa has been known to pop up at the resort this time of year – to relax and rest up for the big night. He’s usually chillin’ by the Saltwater Lagoon or taking a Jet Ski out for a spin. We welcome guests to do the same, plus we make it very easy to get into the holiday spirit with holiday bonuses, from a Christmas “Spirit” Punch Card to Story Time and Hot Chocolate with Mrs. Claus.
Now, here comes the best part of this year’s program. For the first time ever, Santa’s Little Helpers will be here this year to help us spread holiday cheer with elf tuck-ins. Yes, you read that right. Santa’s elves will be on patrol to read bedtime stories to our youngest guests and of course, they just might leave behind a little pre-Christmas present too.
Plus, we’ll be offering discounts on all of our favorite Hawks Cay activities including diving, SNUBA and Dolphin Connection. We highly recommend a Calm Waters Spa massage. It’s the best way to ease away the holiday stress. Check out the full Hawks Cay Christmas package for all our holiday activities and see for yourself.
Until next time… Happy Ho! Ho! Holidays!
Say cheers with our Key Lime Pie Mojito
November 4, 2014
Key limes are about as Keys-y as you can get. Whether it’s key lime pie, key lime chocolates or a key lime mojito scrub, we love finding ways to incorporate those tart little fruits into pretty much anything and everything at Hawks Cay. Now, thanks to our genius bar tenders, we have “stirred” things up with our famous Key Lime Mojito by adding cream liqueur to make it a Key Lime Pie Mojito. Dessert in a glass made just for grown-ups. Yes, please!
This drink is perfect for a cool fall night by the fire pit, but if you’re not able to make it down here to try it for yourself, we’ve got the recipe to make it at home.
What you’ll need: Conch Republic Rum, Keke Key Lime Cream Liqueur, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, mint, limes and club soda. Because a drink this good should be enjoyed with friends or family, we’ve included a recipe for a 32 oz shaker along with the 12 oz single. Of course, if you want to keep it all for yourself, we won’t tell!
1 ½ oz Conch Republic Rum
½ oz Keke Key Lime Cream Liqueur
½ oz Fresh lime juice
½ oz Simple syrup
2 ½ oz Club soda
8 Mint leaves
1 Mint sprig
3 oz Conch Republic Rum
1 oz Keke Key Lime Liqueur
1 ¼ oz Fresh lime juice
1 ¼ oz Simple syrup
6 ¼ oz Club soda
20 Mint leaves
1 ½ Lime
4 Mint sprigs
- Combine all ingredients (except club soda) into a shaker.
- Fill 2/3 full with ice.
- Shake vigorously.
- Add club soda.
- Shake once.
- Pour contents into 12 oz glass or 32 oz shaker.
- Garnish with fresh lime juice and mint sprig (s).
- Serve Shakers with (2) 12 oz glasses, each garnished and filled with ice.
Until next time…Bottoms up! We’ll save you a seat at the Tiki Bar.
Halloween Done Island Style
October 21, 2014
You know what we love about Halloween down here in the Keys? It can still be done in a bathing suit and flip flops! But that’s just how we roll down here. When everyone up north has to bundle up the kiddos for a night of trick-or-treating, we’re going to be dressed for weather in the low 80s. Don’t believe us? Come see for yourself!
If you’re visiting next week, be sure to join us for all of our Halloween festivities. Since the holiday falls on a Friday, we’re making it a weekend full of spooky and kooky events at the Indies Club. Check’em out:
- Decorate a trick-or-treat bag from 1-3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30. The activity is open to kids of all ages as well as those who consider themselves kids at heart.
- Swing by at 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31 to try your hand at pumpkin ring toss, our holiday version of the old carnival game. If you win, we’ll treat you to a free ice cream cone from the Dockside Store.
- At 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1 to join the Great Teen Pumpkin Bike Scavenger Hunt, a race to find clues we’ve hidden in pumpkins scattered around the resort. Mawhahaha!
- Make your own Hawks Cay souvenir by painting a pumpkin from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2
Of course, it wouldn’t be Halloween without some good, old-fashioned trick-or-treating. And it wouldn’t be Hawks Cay without putting our own spin on it, so we’ve decided to make trick-or-treating a little “tricky” if you know what we mean. You’ll have to stop by the Indies Club starting at 5 p.m. on Halloween night to find out more.
Get your sugar rush on with some s’mores at the fire pit when you’re done. It’s a great place to share a scary story or two!
To see the full list of Halloween weekend activities, click here.
Until next time…Be safe and Happy Halloween!
Cruis’n the Keys
October 7, 2014
If you think Hawks Cay Resort is the only resident of Duck Key, we’ve got news for you. Duck Key is actually made up of five small islands connected by Venetian bridges, which are really just little humps that join the islands, and is home to a pristine residential community. While we love for guests to relax by the pool all day sipping tropical concoctions, it’s a good idea to get a little vacation exercise in with a bike ride to explore the area. Don’t worry…We don’t have any mountains or rough terrain. We’re talking about a leisurely ride on a beach cruiser that can be rented at the Indies Club.
Everyone in the family can join too. We have men’s and women’s adult cruisers and a full set of kids bikes, with and without training wheels. Two of our cruisers are even outfitted with trailers for the wee ones. Although the ride isn’t long, we recommend bringing water, sunscreen and even some snacks. Oh and it’s a good idea to grab a map!
Start your biking adventure off with a loop around the resort then head out into the residential area. The islands are home to some beautiful and “Keys-y” properties. (If you don’t know what Keys-y means, it’s wonderfully eclectic look that reflects the vibe that can only be found here.) Check out the native flora and fauna, take a sneak peak at some of the impressive boats in the neighborhood and enjoy what real island life feels like.
Take in the views - the amazing views - which can be found in all directions. If you’re lucky, you might even see a sea turtle or a manatee swim by. Now, here’s our insider’s tip…When you get to the third island, go straight on Corsair Road and you will find our favorite spot for photo ops overlooking nearby Tom’s Harbor island.
A typical ride will last about an hour, but take as much time as you need. Before you head back to the resort, however, be sure to snap a pic on a bridge with the beautiful view behind you and upload your #HawksCaySelfie then head on over to the Dockside Store for some ice cream. You’ll surely need a sweet treat to cool off and reward yourself for all that hard work.
Do you want to cruise the Keys this fall? Check out our new Fall into the Keys package, which includes a one day bike rental.
Until next time…Happy trails!
Channel up your pin-spiration to win a stay at Hawks Cay!
September 23, 2014
To kick off the fall, we’re launching a Pinterest contest, giving you, our fans, a chance to stay at Hawks Cay and enjoy the change of seasons, Florida Keys-style. One lucky winner will win a three-night stay at Hawks Cay for two!
How to enter? It’s simple. Find us on Pinterest and follow us @HawksCayResort or go to http://www.pinterest.com/hawkscayresort/. Create a new board named “My Dream Hawks Cay Vacation” and pin your top 10 inspirations (or more) for your dream Hawks Cay vacation. Maybe it’s wading the flats by the resort in search of some elusive bonefish, or maybe it’s enjoying a Sunshine Bucket at the Tiki Bar or maybe it’s watching a beautiful sunset by the Sunset Village villas.
Whatever they may be, use your favorite Hawks Cay moments and activities to create a board. There’s no limit to the number of pins, so let your imagination run wild. Once your board is completed and pin-perfect, fill out the form on http://hawkscay.com/pinterest to submit your entry to win! We’ll be announcing the winner this winter, just in time to book a Hawks Cay getaway and escape to the Keys.
Don’t forget to tag each photo #StayAtHawksCay before submitting your board. Need some “pin-spiration”? Check out our board at http://www.pinterest.com/hawkscayresort/my-dream-hawks-cay-vacation-pinterest-contest/ for some ideas to get started. The deadline to enter is November 25, so make sure your entries are in before then!
Until next time…Happy pinning!
"Fall" in love with Hawks
September 9, 2014
Sad that summer’s over? We sure are! Since school officially started around the country last week, our team already misses all the kiddos running around. But once we get over the fact that we have to get back to the daily grind too, we actually love this time of the year down here.
With the kids back in school, the resort takes on a completely different vibe. It’s more like summer camp for grownups! Days are still long, but the air is a cool, the water is calm and the resort is peaceful. The adults have free reign over the kayaks and standup paddleboards in the saltwater lagoon. The pool is perfect for floating with cocktail in hand. And it’s easy to find something – or nothing – to do. Happy hour around the fire pit is only time you might have a hard time finding a seat.
It’s a great time for a romantic getaway or visit with a group of friends. Reserve side-by-side villas to enjoy coffee together on the back porch in the morning and sip a glass of white wine while watching the sun set over the water in the evening. You’ll thank us later!
Being the fishing fanatics that we are, we certainly can’t talk about the fall without mentioning the awesome fishing this time of year too. Inshore, bonefish and permit are cruising the shallows and our backcountry waters are loaded with redfish and tarpon. Yay! On the other hand, offshore offers rod-bending action with blackfin tuna and mahi mahi (or dolphin as we like to call them) biting. Ah… decisions, decisions.
Hopefully, that’s the hardest decision we have to make this season. Until next time…Cheers!
Hawks Cay Honors America’s Heroes
August 26, 2014
It has become a tradition here at Hawks Cay Resort, one that we are proud to host. And with so many friends and colleagues of the Hawks Cay family among those honored – military, fire and rescue, law enforcement, medical personnel – our annual Heroes Salute celebration has become ever more meaningful, memorable and popular with each passing year.
It’s not merely about discounted access to an activity or two. You see, we host this annual program to celebrate the amazing service of our heroes and first responders. For us, it’s all about giving back to these dedicated men and women by providing a place where they can take a break, spend time with family and friends and make wonderful memories in the process.
If you don’t already have plans for Labor Day weekend, come stay with us and do something good for your country in the process. We’ll be kicking off Heroes Salute, which runs through November 25, with a tribute weekend full of patriotic events and activities. There will be a 5K race, touch-a-truck area, all-American barbeque, tribute ceremony complete with Color Guard and a concert by country crooner Daniel Lee Martin that will be topped off by a beautiful fireworks display over the ocean.
This year, for the first time, guests will be able to submit images for our tribute ceremony in advance via social media using #HawksCayHeroes. It’s a lovely way to pay respect to the hero in your life and join us in creating a touching tribute for all guests who will be on property for the weekend. Of course, if you can’t join us for the tribute weekend, be sure to submit images and the dates you will be on property by uploading the photo and information on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest and using the hashtag #HawksCayHeroes. We host a tribute ceremony every Saturday night throughout the program.
For more information, visit our Heroes Salute page on the website.
Until next time…Salute to the Services!
Saltwater Experience Weekend Returns to Hawks Cay
August 12, 2014
You know them. You love them. They’re back!!
Captains Rich Tudor and Tom Rowland, of NBC Sports’ Saltwater Experience fame, are bringing their angling prowess back to Hawks Cay Resort for the second annual Saltwater Experience Weekend you won’t want to miss. Fishermen, fisherwomen and fisherkids (yes, made the last two up) of all sizes, shapes and levels of fishing experience will want to be a part of this unique event, September 5-7, to learn from and fish with the guys who make it seem so easy…and always make it fun! If you’re interested in fishing, this is the place to be.
Guests will have the opportunity to discover the hosts’ best kept fishing secrets right from the home base of the popular television series. Not only will you learn from the masters everything there is to know about fishing – including gear, equipment, navigation, bait, casting, fly-casting, netting, finding your target, reeling it in, etc. – but you will have the opportunity to try out your new skills on and in the water, in a location that many professional anglers consider the creme de la creme of fishing hotspots off the Florida Keys.
Saltwater Experience Weekend packages are available but filling up quickly. You have the option of the complete weekend of activities, including the Friday night Welcome Reception with Rich and Tom and Keys Cookout Farewell Dinner, or single day participation if that’s more in line with family interests and budgets. Whatever you choose, you will kick yourself if you miss out on this rare opportunity to drop a line with your favorite TV anglers and learn a lot in the process. And what’s more, you might just be a cool mom or dad, at least for a day, in the eyes of your kids once they hobnob and angle with “the boys.”
Until next time…Tight lines!
It’s Lobster Time!
July 30, 2014
It’s here! Mini lobster season, that two-day mecca of lobster diving the last Wednesday and Thursday of July that welcomes in the full lobster season beginning in August, is upon us. And there is no better place for “bug hunters” to go after those delectable spiny bugs than the Florida Keys or, more specifically, Duck Key. In case you’re wondering, we call lobsters bugs down here in the Keys because they share some physical similarities to insects – plus the little buggers are hard to catch!
Nestled in the much less crowded midway point between Key West and Key Largo, Hawks Cay is the perfect base for bug hunters with our full-service marina, onsite dive operator and access to some of the best lobstering in the Keys. And guess what! The charter fleet at Dive Duck Key makes life very easy for guests to turn into bug hunters with a lobster license that covers everyone onboard.
From 12:01 a.m. this morning (Wednesday) through midnight tomorrow (Thursday), the crustaceans are fair game. And the regular lobster season kicks off on its traditional August 6.
During mini season and throughout the month of August, every Hawks Cay dining outlet will actually cook your catch. From refreshing lobster ceviche to mouthwatering lobster ravioli, our chefs will turn your lobster into a culinary delight for you and your friends to enjoy.
What a great way for guests to experience something they will never forget – a dive or snorkel among one of the world’s most beautiful underwater regions, the opportunity to “hunt” in an appropriate way for one of the most delicious creatures in the sea and to top it off, a personal chef-guided culinary moment to celebrate the season.
Until next time…Happy hunting!
Welcome to the Hawks Cay Blog!
July 16, 2014
With summer vacation in full swing, we know it can be a lot of pressure to fill the days with fun activities for the family. The best way to do so is a summer vacation, of course, and Hawks Cay is the best place to find every activity above and below the water you can imagine. Well, you can rest easy because you have found the ultimate resort guide where you will find all the Hawks Cay answers and more. Learn what to wear to stay “cool” (pun intended). Or read about how to book the best excursions for your kids. Find tips on fileting your first catch. And perhaps the best of all, we will tell you how to make our killer drinks at home. The Hawks Cay blog team is here to share our insider secrets.
In celebration of our summer launch, we thought it would be fitting to share our favorite summertime tunes. It’s a road trip playlist, created by our very own Facebook fans, for the drive from Mile Marker 100 in Key Largo to our front door at Mile Marker 61. For a little Keys-piration at home, just hit play and imagine sitting under a palm tree at our Saltwater Lagoon.
Cheers to the summer and your next Hawks Cay vacation! Be sure to check back with us regularly to learn about how to #PlayatHawksCay and all the adventures that can be found along the way. In the meantime, stay connected through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and (gasp for air) YouTube. We are happy to answer questions and we may even take a blog request or two.
Until next time…Happy summer!