My travel and accommodations were comped for the purpose of review, but all words and opinions are my own.
Want a Caribbean vacation full of relaxation, beauty and maybe just a tad of adventure? Want all of that without needing to get passports for the entire family and spend a fortune on International flights? If your answer was yes, then the Florida Keys is a no-brainer. Technically part of the state of Florida, this gorgeous island archipelago provides all the benefits of a Caribbean vacation without the enormous price tag and hassle with customs. There are a myriad of attraction and accommodation choices available for families here. On a recent trip to explore the area, I had the chance to visit two of them that are perfect for families, whether you are looking to splurge or save.
Save at Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel and Resort
Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel and Resort is located in Marathon, just a short ride or walk from a variety of family friendly attractions and dining options. The cozy beach cottage vibe here instantly soothes the soul and puts you in the mood to relax. Larger families like mine will appreciate the ample space in the 87 two and three bedroom beach houses that come with full kitchens and everything you need to make this place your home away from home. Children will love having a room of their own, while parents can enjoy some alone time without having to worry about kids in the bed next to them. The kitchen provides plenty of opportunity to save on meals, and expansive porches and balconies provide the perfect place to relax and unwind with a gorgeous view.
The Tranquility Bay resort features 12 acres overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, with three tropical style pools (one being for adults only) and 2.5 acres of white sand beach, as well as a small beach entry area with a shallow lagoon for swimming. On our first night here, we were sitting out on the beach when a friendly dolphin showed up to say hello.
Traveling without the kids, or want a smaller room option? Tranquility Bay recently added 16 single level Tropical Garden Guestrooms with lush garden views, and both two queen or one king bed rooms are available. These are a great money saving option for those that don’t need the extra space of a full beach house.
The Butterfly Cafe is the #1 rated Marathon, FL. destination restaurant and provides families with an on-site place to grab a delicious bite, while TJ’s Tiki Bar on the beach serves up delicious tropical drinks and lighter fare. Activities, including snorkeling, fishing charters, back-country eco tours and more are available on-site through Turtle Island Watersports.
The vibe at this resort is truly relaxing, and walking the grounds feels like you are in a quaint beach side village complete with friendly rescue cats that roam the property and exotic wildlife. It’s the perfect tropical getaway for families looking for luxury at a lower price.
Splurge at Cheeca Lodge and Spa
If you are looking to splurge on your trip to the Florida Keys, there is nowhere else your money could be better spent than the Cheeca Lodge and Spa in Islamorada, which has been providing luxury accommodations to guests since 1946. This resort literally drips luxury, beginning with the glass of bubbly you receive at check in. From there, you can explore the lush exotic gardens that cover the landscape of this resort that is a destination in itself. If you never left the front gates of the Cheeca Lodge during your stay, you would not find a shortage of delectable food, pampering and adventurous activities to enjoy.
There are 214 rooms available at the Cheeca lodge, and they range from beach bungalows to spacious oceanfront suites. Families will find ample room, while soaking up the luxurious island setting. You’ll never feel crowded or cramped, because the resort spans 27 beautifully landscaped acres, with plenty of room to explore.
We stayed in the Premier Oceanfront Suite and it was one of those rooms that literally take your breath away from the moment you walk in. The tub. Oh, how can I ever say enough good things about that tub. There is nothing like sinking into some steaming soapy water while the brisk salt sea air kisses your skin. The view is incredible, and your worries literally melt away. This is the largest room in the Florida Keys at 840 square feet of pure luxury and indulgence, perfect for families looking to spare no expense.
On property, you will find three restaurants and two bars. Atlantic’s Edge is an upscale seafood establishment, Limoncello serves Italian cuisine in a family friendly environment, and Nikai is the resorts premier sushi restaurant. The Tiki Bar and Chart Room both provide ample seating and a relaxed environment for adults to kick back with a tropical drink in hand.
Amenities abound at the Cheeca Lodge and Spa. The Cheeca Spa, offering a 5,700 square foot sanctuary for pampering and relaxation, including pool side cabanas with butler service and a full fitness center. Spend a day on the 9 hole golf course designed by none other than Jack Nicklaus himself, or take advantage of the free activities that are included in your resort fee, including fishing equipment rental, kayaks, snorkeling gear, bicycles and more! When I say that Cheeca Lodge and Spa is a destination in itself, there is no exaggeration.
What makes this such a great pick for families though? Camp Cheeca is the on-site kid’s camp that provides care for the little ones so parents can get some alone time. This environmentally-focused day camp provides a fun-filled program for children ages 5-12 with activities including fishing, snorkeling in the resort’s lagoon, arts and crafts and so much more!
From top to bottom, Cheeca Lodge and Spa is the picture of luxury and relaxation in The Keys, and is the perfect escape whether you come with the kids or without.
For more information on planning the picture perfect trip to the Florida Keys, you can visit the official site for the Florida Keys and Key West. Current season rates for either of these amazing properties can be found on either the Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel and Resort and Cheeca Lodge and Spa sites respectively.
Which of these resorts would you most like to visit?