Our good friends are due with baby #3 and suggested a mini-vac away with us before their due date. My friend and I both really wanted to check out Hawk’s Cay, a really nice resort in the Keys known for its beautiful grounds and family friendly atmosphere. So we went together! The kids & parents both got to hang out, which added to the fun.
(These are the same friends we went on our 2019 Disney Cruise with – we are experienced co-vacationers now I guess!)
((This sounds like a sponsored review. It definitely is NOT. Paid full price. Just FYI!))
Things I learned:
1- Staying at our own little house/villa FAR beats a hotel room! BUT I still need to think about sleeping arrangements more. I ended up sharing a bed with G which was disastrous because a) she moves around and kicks all night and b) she fell out of bed on the second night which was traumatic for us both!! (She is completely okay but omg, lesson learned).
2- Need to spend a little more time on planning meals to eat in — ie, what groceries to order, etc. It worked out but with kids it’s so much easier to do breakfast in your own place.
3- JUST BECAUSE THERE IS A COFFEE MAKER DOESN’T MEAN THERE ARE COFFEE FILTERS! Just a PSA which obviously we learned the hard way. But paper towels do work in a pinch!
4- Not ideal to arrive home on a Sunday afternoon with a full (extra full, really) day of work Monday. But I guess it was worth it. (STRESSFUL Sunday afternoon, though!)
Josh and I will try to put these lessons into action when we take our longer fam trip to Amelia Island in August!
Both can be described as “pricey but worth it” (and for us, we of course did not have to factor in any flight costs – Duck Key is a 2.5 hr drive from where we live). I definitely plan on going back.
About two years ago, I started implementing a new rule in which I take one extra day off after vacation to reset life/house. So if we arrive home on a Sunday, I also take Monday off. (caveat: if we arrive home on a Friday or Saturday, I don’t do this…but we often tend to travel on non-weekend days for whatever reason).
I have found that having the extra day TO MYSELF in an empty house to reset, unpack, do laundry, pick up groceries, and generally get the family back to ‘normal’ status is priceless. I actually really enjoy doing all of these things when I can be guaranteed to do them by myself with no children around. And my husband has commented on many occasions how nice it is when I’m able to do this because it just makes everyone less stressed on the day we arrive home. And bonus: I will frequently time our housecleaners to also come while we are on vacation because there is nothing better than coming home to a spotless house!
Of course, this only works if you have the vacation time to take the extra day, but I always do…so I use it. Something to consider for your next family trip!!! Glad you guys had a great (if not perfect) time.
We’re hoping to visit Hawk’s Cay this winter with our 2.5 yo. Glad to hear its great for kids (and grownups)! As for the sleeping arrangements, we have an inflatable toddler bed (like a mini air mattress with raised sides) that we use on driving-distance trips. I think a child up to 5-6 would be comfortable on it and they can’t really fall out.
That sounds amazing! I am definitely filing this place away for a future trip. I have always wanted to go to the keys! We would have to fly into… some where.
We are also big on renting houses especially with food issues and picky eaters. I typically do an Instacart order ahead of time to be delivered a couple hours after we arrive. Worth every penny! We discovered this hack during COVID but will definitely continue post pandemic.
Just looking at those pictures feels relaxing! Glad you had a chance to go on that trip.
Couldn’t agree more with all lessons learned. We try to always favor AirBnB/VRBO accommodations or extended stay hotels at minimum. I feel like having a kitchen is a life-saver with a child around. So much added flexibility. And amen to that buffer day between back home and back to the daily routines.
Finally, a minor comment on language (this coming from a linguist & language nerd)
“mini-vac” sounds like a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure involving aspiration of some undesirable fluid 🙂
I thought that was Hawks Cay in your picture the other day. We went there a few times as kids when I lived in South Florida. Glad you had fun!
I bought a ‘the shrunks’ inflatable toddler bed for my son when he was 3 and was too big for the portable cot. It’s awesome. Has built in bed rails and is pretty compact to pack. He still sleeps on it at almost 5 and has plenty of room. Highly recommended
ooh I am going to look into this!!! Thank you!
You’re welcome! Highly recommended. Just put some kind of blanket or mattress topper under the sheets otherwise they get quite chilly on the air bed.
We have one too, and with only the inner bed part inflated (so keeping the outer ‘bed rails’ deflated), even my 8 year old son can (mostly) comfortably sleep on it when we have grandparents visit! It’s light and very compact. Highly recommend.
We have this and love it! Can vouch!
I’m glad that you had a great experience overall! We always plan to have breakfast in our condo/rental, typically had lunch out, and then dinner was either out or we’d grill/make something at the condo. I also splurged when we last traveled so our son would have his own room – so my parents had a room, we had a room, and Paul had a room and we brought his travel crib. He is teeny so still fits in the bjorn travel crib at 3! He sleeps in a mini crib at home so that bjorn is going to work for quite awhile, I think, although now the baby will need it when we travel next and he’ll probably be in a big boy bed by then so we’ll have to figure something else out. Maybe the inflatable bed the other commenters mentioned! But I completely recognize how lucky we are to be able to spend more $$$ to get a 3-bedroom condo. Not sure what we will do when we travel next, although we won’t have my parents staying with us so could just do another 3-bedroom condo.
The filter thing is annoying and extremely common in rentals. So we have learned to bring some filters with us although paper towels do work like you mentioned. You’d think that would be a standard thing rentals provided by that is not always the case!
Our next trip won’t be until next Feb/Mar when we go to AZ to visit my sister/meet her baby (who will be 1 by then!!) so I’ll have some time to figure out sleeping arrangements for our boys.
So we were trying to figure out where we wanted to go over winter break and I was thinking Caribbean, but you’ve sold me on this place. So I just booked it 🙂 I love it when friends with high vacation standards make recommendations. 🙂 Does the work for me!!
Yes!!!! You guys will love it!! And easier not to deal with crossing country borders!
I’m very excited about dolphins and flying into MIA is so much easier than multiple planes etc to get to a tiny Caribbean Island. Plus with B only being 4, I feel like I want to wait til he is a little older to go somewhere like Costa Rica or the USVI, because he can’t do things like canopy tours and late night kayak rides.
Book the dolphin encounter stat 🙂 My kids weren’t tall enough to swim with them but maybe griffin is! I think you have to be 4’6”
Will do! He’s 4’7″ and loving every inch of it. 🙂
Sounds like a lovely getaway! A tip we learned for strange/ hotel beds is to take a towel and roll it tightly, then stick it under the fitted sheet of the bed along the outside of the child to prevent roll outs- it works surprisingly well and is always availabile in a pinch!