If you don’t know by now, I just love the Florida Keys! Oh, let me count the ways. The Keys are not too far from Miami, about an hour, depending on which Key you stop on. The vibe is so different from other places in Florida. It’s a “grab a cold one, come as you are” sort of vibe. And, in my opinion there’s no better invitation for relaxation than that. Just ask Jimmy Buffet and the Beach Boys. We recently traveled to Islamorada, the second major Key south of Miami for my mother-in-law’s big birthday celebration. And we returned with a suitcase full of wet bathing suits, beautiful pictures and full bellies. I think I can speak for my whole family when I say that we are ready to plan our next trip to paradise.
We stayed at the luxurious Cheeca Lodge (Gigi loves luxurious things) and they have the perfect set up for families or extended families, in our case. My in-laws had a suite with a mini kitchen and living room and we had an adjoining room with two double beds. The living room couch pulled out to a bed so we could have crammed a few more kids in too. The resort is top-notch and frankly we were pleasantly surprised at all of the amenities that were included in our stay.
As you walk out to the private beach you can’t help but notice the huge fishing pier. Rods are included so you can just grab one and see what you catch. But be careful, the local pelican are nearby just waiting for you to drop your treasures.
If you want to head off shore, the Lodge will happily schedule a family fishing or snorkeling trip. All sorts of water sports are included in your stay like paddle boards and kayaks. For a small fee you can rent a paddle boat, sailboat or even go parasailing. If you are water lovers like my children, you’ll spend 90% of the time in the awesome, kid-friendly pool. The Tiki Bar is conveniently only steps away. They also have an adult-only pool with a fitness room if you need to escape to recharge.
We didn’t get to the 9 hole, par 3 golf course, but clubs are available to borrow and it looked like a great way to spend some time with the kids. They also have tennis courts, bikes to borrow, and a spa.
The grounds are pristine and lush so walking to our room was a nice respite from the sun on a hot day. Watching the lizards scatter as we strolled was a treat. Overnight, the resort fairies freshly rake the sand on the beach and wash the pool deck so each day is just as beautiful as the last.
We highly recommend the Sunset Cruise, a little extra cost but a beautiful way to end a day at the beach. The friendly boat captains also provided fun commentary about the area while sipping on cold adult drinks. If you like being a nosy neighbor, just ask about some of the prices of the houses and boats you ride by.
We also enjoyed several of the restaurants on the grounds of Cheeca, but I think it’s more fun to explore a bit and check out the local restaurants and boy are there a ton to choose from!
Part 2 of our adventures in Islamorada is coming! Stay tuned for our pics for activities with the kids (if you can peel yourself away from Cheeca) and our favorite places to grab a bite.
Tips for Cheeca Lodge:
- Check Cheeca Lodge’s web site for any discounts or coupon codes.
- They have a kids club so if you need an afternoon away to read a book or take a fishing trip, take advantage. And, they have an evening option as well. Date night!
- Pack your own snorkel gear or pick some up at a nearby store. They don’t have any masks or fins at Cheeca for guests.
- You don’t need to bring tennis rackets or golf clubs. They have them on site for your use for free.
- If you want to take professional photos of your family, choose a photographer that is approved by the resort and has insurance. If you have a big crowd you’ll need to coordinate with the events staff on site.
- Service at the resort was hit or miss when we were there. Sometimes they were on top of things but a few times we had to call twice for things like extra towels. Hopefully it will improve by the time you go.
- When in Florida, don’t forget the sunscreen!