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A Solo Trip to Hawks Cay Florida Keys Resort

By Holly Rosen Fink, GoGirlfriend Contributor

Solo travel can be so...

Empowering.

Restorative.

Enlightening.

My recent trip to the Hawks Cay Resort was all of those things and more. For a few days, I left my family at home, well taken care of, and traveled to check out the new renovations at Hawks Cay Resort. The resort is on Duck Key, cocooned by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Key Largo is 46 miles north, Key West 61 miles south and it’s a 2 ½ hour drive from Miami airport.

Time to explore

time to relax and rejuvenate in Florida's warmthFor a few days, I'd explore the hotel with a group of writers and have experiences just not possible with my kids in tow. Don't get me wrong, I love traveling with my children, but when we want to take a few hours to ourselves to go out on the water or have a quiet meal, we worry about childcare and entertaining them. The agenda was full of experiences, such as jet skiing, fishing, spa treatments, a dolphin encounter, a sunset cruise and a visit to the adult-only pool….all experiences that are easier to have without tykes to attend to.

Time to indulge

Hawks Cay Resort, Florida KeysHawks Cay, while ideal for families and couple getaways, is also a sweet spot for solo travel. It's the ultimate destination for self-care, indulgence and self-fulfillment, and it all starts as soon as you arrive at the airport. I'd say my visit was akin to being on a private island. It was a few days or tranquility and serenity, not having to be anywhere on a certain time and soaking up the sun (which I desperately needed coming from snowy NYC).

About Hawks Cay

rooms designed to relax and pamperHawks Cay sits on 60 acres on the islet of Duck Key and consists of a main hotel and separate condo units. I stayed in the hotel with a gorgeous view of the adults-only pool and ocean. The hotel also has tennis courts, a kids club, a full service marina, a saltwater lagoon for swimming, the Dolphin Connection and much more. My hotel room was spacious and comfortable, with a King-sized bed, flat screen TV, desk with chair, bathroom, WIFI access, a Keurig coffee maker and a lovely porch. I took great pleasure in drinking coffee while sitting outside, soaking in the silence I don't typically get while traveling with my kids.

Highlights of a visit to Hawks Cay

On my first morning, we were taken to the Dolphin Connection. The experience takes place in a protected ecosystem that was built to support and nurture Hawks Cay's resident pod of dolphins. The experts have been studying bottlenose dolphins since 1990 and certified trainers will work with guests to either swim or interact with the dolphins.

exploring the Cay for a few hoursLater we headed to the resort's marina, which is  home to more than 85 boats and an ice-cream shop, as well as a Starbuck's and opportunities to go scuba-diving, snorkeling, paddle-boarding and kite-boarding, as well as fishing charters and kayak rentals. We opted for an afternoon of jet skiing, which allowed me a water-view of the majestic islands. The water was clear and the space open enough to provide a terrific ride. I felt free as a bird pushing the pedals to gain speed, feeling confident that my time on the jet skis will propel me into a better space when I got home.

Hook & Cook

a fishing excursion for some funThe next day, we began with an early start on the warm water at the marina, this time boarding a boat with fishing experts who took us into the ocean to catch fish. Trout, snapper – they came fast and furious. Our entire group fished, creating a sense of competition disguised in genuine camaraderie, catching enough for a fabulous dinner of fresh fish that we caught ourselves. It was very satisfying, literally and figuratively. The resort calls the experience "Hook and Cook," and we enjoyed dining on the fish we caught as a team.

Pursuing passion at the spa

the relaxing influence of a fireLater, for a bit of relaxing, we headed to the Calm Waters Spa. The spa was voted best hotel spa in the U.S. by the readers of Travel + Leisure in 2009, and I can understand why. I opted for a one-hour facial and took extra time in the sauna and steam room to make the most of my spa afternoon. It was so relaxing and I left glowing, a look and feeling that would go home with me. To top off my visit, I rented a bike to see the island, which took me through local neighborhoods bathed in rich and vibrant colors. Riding a bike is something I love to do. I love the breeze on my skin and being able to get a good view of places I visit on the ground.

Culinary sensations

heavenly food to refuelThere are a variety of restaurants at Hawks Cay, and I experienced all of them – talk about delicious exploring. All offer delectable seafood with healthy options. At Alma, we dined on a variety of Latin-influenced dishes – the fish dishes were tender and the wine perfect. For a more casual meal and for breakfast, we dined at Ocean, which features a menu of sustainable seafood, fresh pastas, and signature pizzetas. Their buffet option is a great option for families with picky eaters. For lunch daily, we dined at The Beach Grill, my personal favorite, and munched on fish tacos, burgers and salads. I highly recommend the watermelon salad with mahi mahi. We were able to order from their menu while sitting at the adult pool, too, where I sipped on yummy pina coladas.

a great place to refresh at Hawks Cay Florida KeysAll in all, my solo adventure to Hawks Cay was invigorating. A brief trip on my own was what I needed to clear my head and come back with a new energy.

For more information, visit Hawks Cay Florida Keys Resort, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram  or check out what travelers have to say about them on TripAdvisor.

Where do you go to get away on a solo adventure just to unwind and regroup? Let us know what other great places rejuvenate and refresh as a solo getaway. Drop a comment below or connect with the GoGirlfriend community on Facebook or Twitter.

About Holly Rosen FinkHolly Rosen Fink ~ @HollyChronicles

Holly Rosen Fink is a Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, Branding and Social Media expert with over 15 years’ experience increasing brand awareness and sales at leading publishing houses and media companies. She is the founder of TheCultureMom and is a current contributor to This Girl Travels, Ciao Bambino, Family Vacation Critic, The Broad Side, BlogHer and Women & Hollywood.

Last year she edited Come Closer: How Tourism is Shaping the Future of Nations and associate produced the off-off-Broadway hit The Best of Everything and the NYC production of Listen to Your Mother.

Disclosure: Holly was on a press trip at Hawk's Cay, but all opinions expressed are her own.

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