Stretching over one hundred and eighty miles and numbering eight hundred in total, the Florida Keys have been a highly desirable destination for quite some time. Aside from picturesque beaches and blissful weather nearly year-round, the Florida Keys off the southern coast of Florida offer residents plenty of benefits as they spend their days on any of the small, sunny islands. Ranging from highly popular locales such as Key West and Key Largo to smaller, more private communities such as Bird Key and Longboat Key, there’s a key to suit a plethora of diverse island lifestyles. This list is just a small handful of reasons people love living in the Florida Keys:
When you’re living on an island, you can expect to always be on or near the waterside, which can mean a relaxing atmosphere the majority of the mornings each year. The hustle and bustle of life in the mainland United States don’t affect individuals in the Keys. In fact, island living seems to carry on at a more leisurely pace. Of course with waterfront living, aside from feeling like you own a luxury vacation property, come a number of other advantages. Even if your future luxury waterfront property is only intended as a seasonal residence, there’s no limit to the serenity to be had living next to the warm ocean waters.
Recreational and Leisure Activities
Whether you’re the type to set up the net for a friendly match of beach volleyball or get out the paddleboards for a day on the water, there’s a place for you to enjoy it. Don’t limit your experiences to only things which are familiar to you. As a majority of the employment opportunities in the Keys come from hospitality and marine sports/recreation, a number of instructors, tours, and rentals are available at your fingertips. The Big Pine Kayak Adventures Inc is a perfect example of a business you shouldn’t pass up when planning a day out on the water. Whether you’ve got some experience already and are looking for a short to a long-term rental, are interested in shallow water fishing, or want to indulge yourself in taking a full or half-day kayaking eco-tour, Captain Bill Keogh has the equipment you’re searching for.
Take advantage of the constant beautiful weather by enjoying all of your favorite outdoor activities at the park amenities available at The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Just adjacent to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the state park was established in 1963 as the first undersea park in the United States. The park extends three miles into the Atlantic Ocean waters, spreads across twenty-five miles in length, and covers approximately one hundred seventy-eight nautical square miles of coral reefs, protected mangrove swamps, and seagrass beds. Snorkeling tours and tours on the park’s flagship glass-bottom boat, the Spirit of the Pennekamp, are based out of Key Largo. The sixty-five-foot catamaran carries up to one hundred and thirty passengers throughout a variety of the Florida Keys and National Sanctuary destinations. Receive snorkeling instruction by yourself or as part of a group and gain a new life skill that will allow for a deeper appreciation of your ocean surroundings.
It goes without saying that utilizing a number of public beaches is well within your grasp. Participate in your favorite water sports, spend time walking across the sand with a loved one and sunbathe on one of the keys’ notoriously warm days. Each beach will have its own unique pros and cons, including which amenities it does and doesn’t include, which beaches will allow pets, and which beaches are the most kid and family-friendly. Calusa Beach on Big Pine Key is such a place. Located on the gulf side of the Bahia Honda State Park, the beach is a serene slice of calm waters ideal for families with children and grandchildren. A picnic area is covered to provide shelter from the midday sun and enjoy a light meal before heading back into the water for some coral reef exploration and a swim.
The Florida Keys are home to a plethora of plant and animal species, many of which can only be found in this area of the United States. In fact, the keys are home to the most sea turtle nests in the US. A number of wildlife refuges and rescue centers exist throughout the Florida Keys, including the Key West Wildlife Center inside the seven-acre Indigenous Park and the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary. The five-and-a-half acre sanctuary works to rehabilitate birds suffering from a variety of ailments including broken wings, orphaned young, and fish hook removal, as well as providing migrating bird species a lush, natural habitat to visit as they’re passing through. Bird watchers will rejoice at the number of opportunities that await them throughout the Keys.
The preservation and protection of nature don’t end with animals. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary established in 1975 works to protect two thousand nine hundred square nautical miles of waters and submerged lands encompassing the entire chain of Florida Key islands and the coral reef which runs beside it. Fun Fact: the reef is North America’s only barrier coral reef! Snorkeling and diving are highly popular, though the Sanctuary does not offer its own diving tours. In order to preserve and protect the coral reef, it’s recommended that you hire a Blue Star recognized dive operator who has been trained and dedicated to habitat conservation and education.
Though golf may not be the first leisure sport you consider when thinking about passing time in the Florida Keys, there are some challenging yet highly enjoyable courses to be found in the area. Public establishments such as the Key West Golf Club provide playable greens to general citizens while places like the private Card Sound Golf Club inside the Ocean Reef Club offer a more private, sport indulgent experience with additional club benefits.
At the Key West Golf Club, visitors can find an eighteen-hole par seventy course that stretches over two hundred acres and plays up to six thousand five hundred yards on lush Bermuda grass. The first nine holes of the course were opened to the public in 1924, the remaining nine holes were completed in the 1960s, then completely redesigned by golf course architect Rees Jones in 1983. The greens were rebuilt on all eighteen holes over the Summers of 2006 and 2007. Players today can still enjoy these changes.
Credit: Key West Golf Club
The Card Sound Golf Club allows members to access a private course at the Northern tip of Key Largo. Originally designed in 1974, the course did have some issues that affected the overall playability of the course. Thus, the course was renovated in 1999. The best aspects of the original course were preserved, though the rest was altered to improve playability. The new design played over six thousand five hundred yards through the lush, tropical landscape and turned out to be a more challenging game than the original.
Suzanne and Richard own the popular Key West locale which has become known not only for the Floridian-Caribbean cuisine and al fresco dining but for the livestock (cats and chickens) which roam freely about the premises. Though the eccentric setting may lower your expectations, the food that comes from the kitchen at Blue Heaven is, without a doubt, fine dining. The breakfast and lunch menu feature iconic favorites such as a fruit bowl with a side of banana bread or breakfast sandwich to unique dishes like the Yellow Submarine, a snapper fillet sautéed and placed on a baguette with vinegar slaw, mango tartar, yellow peppers, and baron pickles. The dinner menu ranges from soups, salads, and appetizers to local seafood offerings and farm plates. The filet mignon served in the red wine demi-glace with herb roasted potatoes and skillet corn is mouthwatering from the first bite to the last!
Living in the Florida Keys may sound like the life of your dreams, yet wading through the waters of the complicated process of choosing the right area for you can be daunting. Don’t be afraid to make the entire process easier by contacting realtor Roger Pettingell, a waterfront specialist with knowledge of the unique hurdles that come with island living. Work alongside a realtor who knows the ins and outs of purchasing your dream luxury waterfront home.