Florida Keys is more than just a destination; it’s a lifestyle. Stretching over a dazzling chain of coral islands, the Keys are known for their laid-back atmosphere, crystal-clear waters, and unique island living. Choosing the right Key to call home might seem overwhelming, but this guide is designed to navigate you through the best places to live in the Florida Keys.
I’ve journeyed through the Florida Keys, experiencing firsthand their enchanting beauty and distinctive charm. From the vibrant streets of Key West to the tranquil shores of Big Coppitt Key, the diversity of the Keys is truly remarkable. Whether you’re captivated by the allure of underwater adventures in Key Largo, the community spirit of Tavernier, or the serene nature of Long Key, there’s a spot in the Keys that’s perfect for you.
But what’s the best starting point? The ideal location varies for everyone. Some seek the tranquility of secluded islands, others desire a bustling community with rich cultural experiences, and for many, a balance of affordability and lifestyle is key.
Join me as I delve into the best places to live in the Florida Keys, tailored to what you value most. With extensive exploration and insights from locals, this guide is crafted to help you find your ideal spot in the Keys, catering to various lifestyles and budgets. Let’s begin!
The Best Places to Live in Florida Keys
Eager to explore the most captivating places to live in the Florida Keys? Located at the southern tip of Florida, this enchanting archipelago has a spot for everyone. Keep reading to uncover the prime locations to call home in the Florida Keys.
Searching for the ideal place to settle in the Florida Keys? Whether it’s a tranquil retreat or a vibrant community you’re after, the Florida Keys have something to offer for every preference.
- Best for cultural richness: Key West
- Best for underwater adventures: Key Largo
- Best for serene retreats: Duck Key
- Best for upscale living: Islamorada
- Best for nature enthusiasts: Big Pine Key
- Best for community living: Tavernier
- Best for balanced lifestyle: Marathon
- Best for family-friendly living: Key Colony Beach
- Best for tranquil island life: Cudjoe Key
- Best for authentic Keys experience: Stock Island
- Best for peaceful living: Long Key
- Best for secluded charm: Big Coppitt Key
Here’s your guide to the top living spots in the Florida Keys that you need to know about:
1. Key West
Emerging as a jewel at the southernmost tip of the U.S., Key West captivates with its unique blend of natural beauty and vibrant culture. As one of the best places to live in the Florida Keys, it’s where the ocean greets you with open arms. Imagine streets lined with pastel-hued, conch-style vacation houses and an atmosphere buzzing with artistic energy. Key West isn’t just another coastal retreat. It’s a lifestyle that combines the comforts of urban living with the serenity of beach life.
Dive into Key West’s eclectic scene, where every corner reveals a piece of history or a burst of contemporary flair. From the Ernest Hemingway Museum to the bustling Duval Street, the city’s rich cultural tapestry is unmissable. The local cuisine here is a celebration of the sea, offering flavors that will linger on your palate.
Living in Key West means embracing a community where diversity is celebrated and life moves at a laid-back pace. The ocean is your backyard, ideal for those who find solace in the waves or thrill in aquatic adventures. The city’s vibrant nightlife and culinary scene offer endless entertainment options.
Recognized asthe best city to live in Florida Keys, Key West epitomizes a harmonious blend of history, culture, and waterfront living. It’s a place where every sunset is an event and every day is an opportunity to experience something new. Here, life is not just lived; it’s celebrated in all its colorful, sun-drenched glory.
2. Key Largo
Imagine waking up to a symphony of waves and tropical birds – welcome to Key Largo, where the essence of beach living is redefined. As the northernmost key, it’s a gateway to the rest of the Keys, known for its lush landscapes and exceptional underwater adventures. Diving enthusiasts and nature lovers alike find this island a paradise, making it one of the coolest places to live in the Florida Keys.
Key Largo’s heart beats underwater, with the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park as a jewel in its crown. Here, the vibrant coral reefs teem with marine life, offering a world waiting to be explored. On land, the island is just as enchanting, with nature trails and parks abundant with wildlife.
The community vibe in Key Largo is warm and welcoming. Its culinary scene reflects the island’s spirit, with seafood that goes from ocean to table in hours. The lifestyle here blends relaxation with adventure seamlessly, offering a balance that’s hard to find elsewhere.
Key Largo stands out as one of Florida Keys’s best cities to live, where life’s pace slows down, letting you savor every moment. It’s an island where sunsets are a daily spectacle, and the ocean, a constant companion. For those seeking a life of tranquility mixed with adventure, Key Largo is an unrivaled choice.
3. Duck Key
Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean lies Duck Key, a hidden gem with a quaint atmosphere. This island stands out as a tranquil retreat, perfect for those seeking a serene waterfront lifestyle. Its charming canals and bridges evoke a sense of Venetian elegance, making it one of the best places in Florida Keys to live in.
Life on Duck Key is an idyllic blend of leisure and adventure. The island’s crystal-clear waters are a haven for anglers and water sports enthusiasts. Here, you can spend your days kayaking through serene canals or exploring vibrant coral reefs. The island’s marinas bustle with activity, offering endless opportunities for ocean escapades.
The community in Duck Key is close-knit, fostering a sense of belonging. The island’s homes range from cozy waterfront cottages to luxurious estates, each offering breathtaking views of the surrounding seascape. Duck Key’s dining scene, though intimate, offers an array of delights, with fresh seafood being a staple.
This island is a nice city to live in the Florida Keys’s mosaic of islands. It’s a place where time slows, allowing you to cherish every moment. Duck Key isn’t just a location. It’s a lifestyle where every sunrise brings new adventures and every sunset promises tranquility.
Draped across six stunning islands, Islamorada is more than just a place – it’s a picturesque canvas of blue waters and lush greenery. Known as the “Village of Islands,” this destination is a treasure trove for anyone seeking a blend of relaxation and adventure, earning its reputation as one of the best places to live in the Florida Keys.
The island’s allure isn’t just its breathtaking scenery; it’s also a hub for world-class sport fishing. Here, the thrill of the catch meets the serenity of the sea. Beyond fishing, Islamorada offers a kaleidoscope of activities – from snorkeling in crystal-clear waters to exploring rich cultural sites and art galleries.
The residential scene in Islamorada is as diverse as its marine life. Whether you’re looking for a cozy beachfront cottage or a luxurious estate, the island caters to all tastes and lifestyles. The community here is vibrant and welcoming, making every resident feel like part of a big island family.
Islamorada isn’t just a destination; it’s a lifestyle choice, a great place to live in the Florida Keys. It’s where the sunsets paint the sky in hues of gold and purple, and each day brings new possibilities for exploration and relaxation. This island isn’t just a place to live; it’s a place to thrive.
5. Big Pine Key
Tucked away in the lower Florida Keys, Big Pine Key offers a serene escape into nature’s lap. This island, known for its laid-back ambiance and natural beauty, is an ideal spot for those seeking a peaceful yet vibrant community. It’s a good place to live in the Florida Keys, offering a blend of solitude and community spirit.
Big Pine Key is renowned for its unique wildlife, including the endangered Key Deer. These gentle creatures add a touch of magic to the island, making walks and drives a delightful experience. The island’s natural environment is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, offering hiking, kayaking, and spectacular star-gazing opportunities.
The real estate in Big Pine Key ranges from charming cottages to modern homes, all embracing the island’s tranquil spirit. Living here means being part of a community that values the environment and a slower pace of life. The local shops and eateries exude a small-town charm, offering a warm welcome to all.
As one of the best Florida Keys cities, Big Pine Key stands as a haven for those who cherish nature and quietude. It’s a place where the hustle of city life fades away, replaced by the soothing sounds of the ocean and the rustling of palm leaves. Big Pine Key isn’t just a place to stay; it’s a lifestyle choice for peace, nature, and community.
In the heart of the Florida Keys, Tavernier offers a slice of paradise with a dash of small-town charm. This hidden gem, nestled just south of Key Largo, presents a perfect blend of tranquility and community vibrancy. For those seeking a coastal lifestyle away from the urban hustle, Tavernier shines as one of the best areas to live in Florida Keys.
The essence of Tavernier is its close-knit community and laid-back lifestyle. Here, the days are marked by stunning sunrises and the nights by gentle sea breezes. The local seafood is a culinary delight, fresh from the ocean and served with a touch of island hospitality. The island’s natural beauty, with its inviting blue waters and lush landscapes, beckons outdoor enthusiasts for diving, fishing, and kayaking.
Tavernier’s real estate market offers a variety of choices, from quaint waterfront homes to cozy bungalows, all encapsulating the island’s serene spirit. It’s a place where neighbors know each other and life moves at a leisurely pace. The local schools and community events foster a strong sense of belonging, making it an ideal place for families.
As a destination that embodies the essence of island living, Tavernier stands out in the nice parts of Florida Keys. It’s more than just a place to live; it’s a community where you can unwind, explore, and create lasting memories. Tavernier isn’t just a location; it’s a lifestyle, welcoming and warm.
Marathon, a city spread across 13 islands in the Florida Keys, offers an enchanting mix of natural beauty and community warmth. This island chain is a hub of activity and culture, perfect for those who love a balance of serene nature and vibrant social life, making it a great place to live in the Florida Keys.
Here, life revolves around the water. With beautiful beaches, barrier reefs, and an abundance of marine life, Marathon is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. The city also boasts one of the best school systems in the state, making it a fantastic choice for families. The community spirit in Marathon is tangible, with local events and gatherings fostering a sense of togetherness.
The real estate in Marathon varies from cozy waterfront villas to luxurious estates, each offering breathtaking views and easy access to the ocean. The area’s unique geography provides a picturesque setting for homes, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other.
Marathon is not just a collection of islands; it’s a lifestyle. As one of the where is the best places to live in the Florida Keys, it offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Whether you’re sunbathing on the beach or exploring the local culture, life in Marathon is an endless vacation.
8. Key Colony Beach
Discover the allure of Key Colony Beach, where island living takes on a refined charm. This small, picturesque city nestled in the heart of the Florida Keys is known for its stunning beaches and friendly community. It’s a place that seamlessly blends leisure with luxury, making it one of Florida Keys’ best places to live.
From the moment you arrive, Key Colony Beach captivates with its serene lagoons and stretches of sandy beaches. The city is a haven for those who enjoy water activities, from snorkeling to leisurely kayak rides. The local aquarium, with hands-on exhibits, is a delight for both young and old, enhancing the city’s family-friendly appeal.
The real estate here is as beautiful as the landscape, with homes offering stunning ocean views and a sense of seclusion. Whether you’re seeking a vacation home or a permanent residence, Key Colony Beach offers a variety of options to suit your lifestyle. The city’s local eateries and shops add to its charm, providing a taste of island life.
Key Colony Beach is more than just a destination; it’s a most livable city in the Florida Keys. It’s a community where you can relax on the beach, engage in thrilling water sports, and enjoy the tranquility of island life. Here, every day is a vacation and every sunset a celebration.
9. Cudjoe Key
Cudjoe Key, a tranquil oasis nestled in the Lower Florida Keys, is a world away from the ordinary. This serene island is a blend of natural beauty and peaceful living, offering residents a unique lifestyle that’s both relaxing and invigorating. It’s recognized as one of the best cities to live in Florida Keys, thanks to its laid-back atmosphere and breathtaking scenery.
Life in Cudjoe Key revolves around the water. Whether it’s boating, fishing, or just enjoying the sunset, the ocean is an integral part of daily life here. The island’s crystal-clear waters and lush landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures. The community spirit in Cudjoe Key is palpable, with neighbors sharing a deep appreciation for their island paradise.
The real estate options on Cudjoe Key range from cozy waterfront homes to elegant estates, each offering a unique view of the surrounding natural beauty. The quiet streets and friendly locals make it an ideal place for those seeking a retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Cudjoe Key is not just a place to live; it’s a lifestyle choice. As one of the what are the best places to live in Florida, it offers a rare combination of tranquility and community, making it a perfect haven for those seeking a slower pace of life in a stunning natural setting.
10. Stock Island
Step into Stock Island, where the charm of old Florida Keys meets modern living. This vibrant community, just moments from Key West, offers an authentic island experience, hailed as one of the best Florida Keys towns to live. It’s a place where the spirit of the Keys is alive and thriving.
Stock Island’s identity is deeply rooted in its maritime heritage. The island’s marinas and boatyards buzz with activity, reflecting a long-standing tradition of fishing and boating. Here, life moves at the pace of the tides, with each day bringing new opportunities for sea adventures or leisurely strolls along the docks.
The residential landscape in Stock Island is diverse, ranging from charming bungalows to contemporary homes. Each offers a unique view of the island’s scenic beauty. The local eateries and art scene reflect the island’s rich cultural tapestry, offering a taste of the authentic Keys lifestyle.
Living in Stock Island means being part of a community where the ocean is a backdrop to daily life. It’s a place where you can enjoy the tranquility of island living with easy access to the amenities of Key West. As a place to move in the Florida Keys, Stock Island stands out as a destination that offers the best of both worlds – a peaceful retreat with a vibrant community spirit.
11. Long Key
Long Key, with its stunning natural beauty and tranquil ambiance, offers a serene escape from the bustling world. This island, known for its pristine beaches and rich history, provides a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. It stands as one of the best towns to live in Florida Keys, offering a unique island lifestyle that is both peaceful and invigorating.
The essence of Long Key is found in its unspoiled landscapes and the crystal-clear waters that surround it. The island’s state park is a paradise for nature lovers, offering opportunities for kayaking, bird watching, and beachcombing. The calm waters and gentle breezes make it an ideal spot for relaxation and reflection.
Housing in Long Key reflects the island’s serene atmosphere, with homes that offer stunning ocean views and a sense of seclusion. The community here, though small, is warm and welcoming. The island’s restaurants and local businesses exude a charming, laid-back vibe, providing a taste of the island’s unique culture.
Long Key is more than just a place to live; it’s an experience. As one of the best Florida Keys cities, it offers a rare combination of peaceful living and natural beauty. This makes it a haven for those seeking a slower pace of life in a picturesque setting. Here, every day is a celebration of nature’s wonders.
12. Big Coppitt Key
Big Coppitt Key, a serene island located just a short drive from Key West, is a hidden gem in the Florida Keys. Offering a tranquil lifestyle away from the tourist crowds, it’s celebrated as one of the top cities in Florida Keys to live. This island combines the ease of island living with convenient access to urban amenities.
The heart of Big Coppitt Key lies in its tight-knit community and laid-back lifestyle. Here, residents enjoy the luxury of peaceful streets and waterfront views. The local waters are perfect for fishing, boating, and simply enjoying the Florida sun. The community parks and local hangouts add to the island’s charm. This makes it an ideal place for family living or a quiet retreat.
Housing on Big Coppitt Key ranges from cozy waterfront homes to more spacious properties, all offering a relaxed island living experience. The real estate here provides an opportunity to live in harmony with nature while still being close to the conveniences of a larger city.
Big Coppitt Key stands out as a best Florida Keys cities choice for those seeking a balance between peaceful living and accessibility. It’s a place where the hustle of city life fades into the background, replaced by the soothing rhythm of island time. Here, life is savored one beautiful sunset at a time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live in Florida Keys
Curious to learn more about the top living spots in the Florida Keys? Let’s dive into some frequently asked questions about the best places to call home in this stunning archipelago.
Which of the Florida Keys is the best to live in?
Determining the “best” Florida Key to live in depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle needs. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Key West: Ideal for those who love a vibrant cultural scene, historic charm, and a lively community. It’s perfect for those seeking an active social life and rich cultural experiences.
- Key Largo: A top choice for underwater adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. Its proximity to Miami also makes it a convenient location.
- Islamorada: Best suited for those who enjoy luxury living, sport fishing, and a blend of adventure with upscale amenities.
- Marathon: A great pick for families and individuals seeking a balance between small-town feel and access to urban amenities.
- Big Pine Key: Ideal for nature enthusiasts and those who prefer a quieter, more secluded living environment.
- Tavernier: Offers a strong sense of community and is perfect for those looking for a suburban feel in the Keys.
- Cudjoe Key: Excellent for those seeking a tranquil and scenic island lifestyle away from the main tourist hubs.
Ultimately, the best Key to live in is the one that aligns with your lifestyle and priorities. Each Key has its unique charm and offerings, making the Florida Keys a diverse and appealing choice for many.
Which side of the Florida Keys is better?
Choosing between the Gulf side (Bay side) and the Atlantic side of the Florida Keys largely depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle:
Gulf Side (Bay Side):
- Calm Waters: Generally, the Gulf side offers calmer waters, ideal for activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, and leisure boating.
- Sunsets: Known for its stunning sunsets, this side provides picturesque evening views.
- Fishing: The Gulf waters are rich in marine life, making it a prime spot for fishing enthusiasts.
- Quietude: Typically, the Gulf side is more laid-back and less crowded, suitable for those seeking peace and tranquility.
- Vibrant Coral Reefs: This side is renowned for its vibrant coral reefs, making it a paradise for divers and snorkelers.
- Beaches: The Atlantic side often has more accessible beaches with opportunities for swimming and sunbathing.
- Ocean Breeze: It generally has a more consistent ocean breeze, which can be refreshing and ideal for sailing.
- Activity Hub: This side tends to be more active and is often closer to popular attractions and restaurants.
Each side has its unique advantages. Your choice should align with your interests, whether they lean towards peaceful sunset views and fishing or vibrant marine exploration and beach activities.
Which is the nicest key in Florida?
Deciding on the “nicest” key in Florida is subjective, as each key offers its unique appeal. However, a widely acclaimed contender is:
- Islamorada: Often regarded as one of the nicest keys, Islamorada, also known as the “Village of Islands,” is famous for its stunning oceanfront vistas, luxury resorts, and a rich blend of leisure and cultural activities. It’s particularly favored for its:
- World-Class Sport Fishing: Known as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World, it attracts anglers from all over.
- Beautiful Beaches: The key offers some of the most picturesque beaches in the Florida Keys.
- Arts and Culture: Home to numerous art galleries, theaters, and cultural events.
- Outdoor Activities: Beyond fishing, there’s snorkeling, diving, and kayaking among the coral reefs and clear waters.
- Dining and Shopping: It boasts a variety of fine dining restaurants and unique shops.
- Islamorada’s balance of natural beauty, recreational activities, and cultural richness makes it a top choice for many as the nicest key in Florida.
Are the Florida Keys nice to live in?
Living in the Florida Keys is often considered a dream come true for many, thanks to its unique blend of natural beauty, relaxed lifestyle, and vibrant community atmosphere. Here are some reasons why the Florida Keys are nice to live in:
- Natural Beauty: The Keys are renowned for their stunning landscapes, including crystal-clear waters, beautiful coral reefs, and picturesque sunsets.
- Relaxed Lifestyle: The pace of life is slower and more laid-back, offering a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
- Outdoor Activities: With easy access to the ocean, residents enjoy a variety of activities like fishing, boating, snorkeling, and diving.
- Strong Community Feel: The Keys are known for their tight-knit communities, where neighbors often become friends.
- Mild Climate: The subtropical climate means warm weather year-round, perfect for those who enjoy spending time outdoors.
- Cultural and Artistic Scene: There’s a vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries, music festivals, and cultural events.
- Wildlife and Conservation: The Keys are home to unique wildlife and ecosystems, offering opportunities for eco-friendly living and wildlife encounters.
However, it’s important to consider factors like cost of living, which can be higher than the mainland, and the potential for hurricanes. But for many, the positives greatly outweigh these considerations, making the Florida Keys a truly nice place to live.
What part of Florida Keys is best for families?
The Florida Keys offer several family-friendly areas, each with unique features catering to a wholesome family lifestyle. One of the best parts for families is:
- Marathon: Known for its family-oriented community, Marathon is a top choice for families living in the Florida Keys due to its:
- Good Schools: The area is known for its quality education system, which is a major draw for families.
- Community Atmosphere: Marathon has a tight-knit community feel, making it easier for families to connect and support each other.
- Recreational Activities: With family-friendly beaches, parks, and the famous Dolphin Research Center, there are plenty of activities for children and adults alike.
- Healthcare Facilities: The presence of good healthcare, including Fishermen’s Community Hospital, adds to its appeal for families.
- Safe Environment: The area is known for its low crime rate, which is a significant consideration for families.
Marathon’s blend of community spirit, educational opportunities, and family-oriented activities makes it an ideal location for families looking to enjoy a peaceful yet engaging lifestyle in the Florida Keys.
Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Florida Keys
The Florida Keys, a chain of islands known for their breathtaking beauty and unique lifestyle, offer a diverse array of living experiences. From the vibrant and cultural richness of Key West to the tranquil and serene environment of Big Coppitt Key, each location presents its own slice of paradise. Whether you’re drawn to the underwater adventures of Key Largo or the tight-knit community feel of Tavernier, the Keys have a spot that resonates with everyone’s preferences.
For those seeking affordability without compromising on the island lifestyle, places like Marathon and Stock Island stand out. They exemplify the possibility of enjoying the quintessential Florida Keys experience without breaking the bank. Conversely, if you’re looking for a more upscale and tranquil living experience, areas like Islamorada and Big Pine Key offer a luxurious retreat amidst natural beauty.
The Florida Keys aren’t just about the picturesque landscapes; they’re also about a way of life that prioritizes community, relaxation, and a connection with nature. Islands like Long Key and Cudjoe Key are perfect examples of this, offering a balance of leisurely living with ample outdoor activities.
Deciding on the best places to move in the Florida Keys involves considering what each unique key has to offer and aligning it with your personal lifestyle choices. Whether it’s the laid-back living, the rich culture, or the natural beauty that draws you in, one thing is certain: life in the Florida Keys goes beyond just a place to live – it’s about embracing a lifestyle that’s as vibrant and diverse as the islands themselves.