Not many people know about Duck Key, Florida. Maybe it’s because where most of us live are landlocked states, or we’re just too busy to go anywhere but work and pick up groceries. Whatever the case may be, a stay in this beautiful state will leave you itching for more.
Located halfway between Miami and Key West, the beautiful and historic island of Duck Key offers a tranquil setting for a relaxing retreat.
Once a salt mining community, Duck Key was developed into a quaint island town in the 1950s.
The island of Duck Key, Florida, is a census-designated place (CDP) in Monroe County. It is located in the middle of the Florida Keys and includes Conch Key.
If you want to see sunrises and sunsets, this is the place to go. The Sombrero Reef is a federally protected portion of the only living coral barrier reef in the United States.
Duck Key has a diverse mix of restaurants, ranging from casual to upscale, serving fresh seafood, as well as upscale fare.
There is a traditional Keys breakfast at the local coffee houses, and upscale restaurants serve crab dip and fish sandwiches.
But it is the fresh seafood that makes this island so popular, and the sunset happy hours are also a great place to enjoy a delicious meal.
Regardless of what you’re looking for, you’ll surely find the perfect dining spot.
Duck Key, Florida “Key” Facts
There is so much to do in Duck Key. From the museums to the boutiques, and the many galleries, this island has something for everyone.
It is a popular tourist destination for a reason: there are plenty of things to do on this island, and you will be able to experience it on foot.
The island also has many beaches, and it has lively nightlife.
The main thoroughfare is pedestrian-friendly, and many residents walk to restaurants, shops, and the theater.
In 1775, the island of Duck Key was named after the Swiss explorer George Gauld, who identified it as a freshwater source. His survey of the Keys was interrupted by the Revolutionary War, but he did an accurate job of naming the island.
This was followed by several other discoveries that would become Duck Key’s history.
Today, Duck Key is a quaint, secluded paradise that attracts visitors from around the world.
Does Duck Key have a public beach?
The island of Duck Key is a unique community with tropical flowers, skinny Venice-style bridges, and stunning water colors.
In addition to great beaches, Duck Key is also near underwater mountains. These mountains range in depth from 500 feet to over 1,000 feet, providing deep water that attracts sports fishermen.
What’s more, they’re located close to the most famous attraction on the island: A museum.
A 60-acre island resort and spa on Duck Key is Hawks Cay.
There are several amenities and activities at Hawks Cay Resort, including dry photo ops on the dock and kayaking with dolphins.
There’s even a zero-entry beach for kids. In addition, many of the rooms have full kitchens, living rooms, and porches with picturesque views of the water.
If you’re interested in boating, you’ll find a marina with 85 slips. Dockage here includes the use of all resort amenities.
There’s also a beach on Little Crawl Key, which is popular with families. There’s an island day-use area, as well as public restrooms.
You’ll want to go swimming there!
The beach is shallow and there are occasional coral rock outcroppings that will scare the little ones. It’s also worth stopping by the Southernmost Beach Cafe, which overlooks the southernmost beach.
The beach is a great place to take your kids for a relaxing lunch or snack.
The Best Places to Snorkel in the Florida Keys
If you’re looking for the best place to snorkel in the Florida Keys, consider heading to Sombrero Reef, the largest coral reef in the Middle and Duck Keys.
It spans 30 acres and is easily accessible by boat from Marathon or Pigeon Key.
A lighthouse atop the reef provides easy access to the reef.
You can tie off on the 11 mooring buoys at the reef’s south end and explore the coral formations and spur-and-groove coral formations.
This gorgeous property can be explored on foot, by boat, or underwater. The boardwalk over the saltwater lagoon allows you to see the coral formations and other sea life, which you can watch for from the water.
The reef is home to a park ranger who leads guided tours of the area on Saturdays. It is open from June through August and is accessible to both kayakers and snorkelers.
Sombrero Reef is a federally protected section of the United States’ only living coral barrier reef.
Located in the middle of Florida’s Keys, Sombrero Reef is a stunningly beautiful section of the United States’ only living coral-barrier-reef system.
It is a section of the Sombrero Key Sanctuary Preservation Area, a three-mile-long stretch of the ocean located 3.5 miles off Boot Key.
The area is named after the historic Sombrero Key Light, built in 1858 by the army’s “lighthouse brigade”.
In the early twentieth century, Sombrero Reef was an important aid to navigation, helping the Keys’ salvaging industry to come to an end. The reef itself is a treasure, featuring boulders and branching corals.
A ten-mile-long island, Marathon is a progressive and family-oriented community that is located right in the heart of the Keys.
With its pristine waters and numerous snorkeling and diving sites, Marathon is the perfect place to spend your vacation.
You can explore the ocean’s beauty and snorkel over the Sombrero Reef, a section of the United States’ only living coral barrier reef.
While you’re there, be sure to visit nearby Crane Point, where you can hike through a tropical hardwood grove or take a kayak tour.
In Marathon, you can shop at the many local stores and restaurants, and take advantage of the area’s numerous activities.
Hawks Cay Island Resort is located on the island of Duck Key
A wooden bridge connected the island to Highway U.S. 1 and Hawks Cay Resort was opened in 1983.
Today, Hawks Cay is a beautiful destination for couples and families looking for an unforgettable Florida Keys vacation.
You can choose to dine in one of the several on-site restaurants, most of which overlook the lagoon or the pool. However, if seafood is your thing, you can dine in one of the two restaurants at Hawks Cay.
Located near the marina, the Angler and Ale is an excellent choice.
Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a romantic dinner, you’ll find a fresh fish preparation at the Angler and Ale restaurant.
The waitstaff is always friendly and willing to offer little extras. And food arrives quickly – you won’t have to wait long for your meal.
Vaca Key is a Beach for Sunrise Pics
There are numerous beaches in Duck Key. If you want to catch the sunrise over the water, you should visit Vaca Key.
This secluded island lies between Lower Matecumbe and Vaca Key.
It is a wonderful destination for nature lovers because it is protected federal land. Vaca Key is home to Lime Tree Bay, a charming resort located on the water.
Vaca Key is a Marina
Vaca Key is located on the north side of the Ducks’ Islands and is connected to Boot Key by the bridge. This section of the Ducks’ islands has plenty to offer the intrepid sailor.
The city gained an airport during World War II, and it served as a training field for pilots flying between Miami and Homestead. The airport was eventually turned over to the county.
The town of Duck Key is located on a small island between Key Largo and the Gulf of Mexico. With a population of around 443 people, this island is home to many vacationers and boaters.
If you’re looking to spend a day on the water will love the marina life on Duck Key. The waters are beautiful, and you can go fishing or boating all year round.
Affordable hotels in Duck Key
Budget-conscious travelers are not left out in Duck Key, Florida. Many accommodations in the area offer basic amenities and good comfort.
Bed and breakfasts, for instance, offer the convenience of staying in the comfort of one’s own home without the high price tag.
Motels are also affordable options.
Whether you are looking for a hotel with free breakfast, a gym, or a pool, you are sure to find something in Duck Key that suits your needs and budget.
If you are looking for a less expensive place to stay in Duck Key, you may want to book a room during the low season, such as December and September.
Prices may vary, but the best days to book a Duck Key hotel are on Mondays, while Thursdays are typically the most expensive.
While the price of a Duck Key hotel may seem high, it’s worth checking out!
How do you get to Duck Key?
In order to get there, you need to travel by ferry.
There are two companies that run these ferries: Miller Boat Line and Island Express.
The Miller Boat Line has three different ferry services: one to the Commodore Keys and two different ones to Duck Key.
The first (which is actually closer) takes you to Little Duck Key–an island located in-between Big and Little Duck Keys where there is no decent place to stay; I’ve stayed here and it isn’t worth it.
So instead, you will want to take the second service, which goes from Long Point Key on the mainland out past Big Duck Key and then all the way down south again to a place called Sombrero Beach, where there are a couple of nice hotel options.
Of course, this ferry does not go directly to Duck Key–that would be too convenient–but it does stop at some places in between (the aforementioned Little Duck Key included).
You will have to take a water taxi from Sombrero Beach over to Duck Key if you want to see the real cute stuff.
The Island Express ferry, though more expensive than the Miller line ferries, only.
I believe that Duck Key has a lot to offer tourists.
At the same time, however, it is evident that the island’s popularity is growing with every passing year.
So any plans for vacationing here should be made as early in advance as possible.
I had a wonderful trip visiting Duck Key and recommend it to anyone who enjoys the luxury of quiet beaches, restaurants and bars, beautiful sunsets, and people-watching.
I will definitely make my visit an annual event to remember!