Stretching about 120 miles off of Florida’s southern tip you’ll find a string of tropical islands. The Florida Keys extend between the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, offering small town living, picturesque views, and outdoor adventures at every turn. It’s no wonder why so many people choose the Florida Keys for the site of their vacation home or permanent residence. The real estate market in the Keys is truly unique. Homes on the tropical islands are in high demand, yet there is a low supply, making the market fairly stable. With real estate in the Florida Keys now available, you can now own your little piece of heaven.
While the Lower Keys is home to fewer people than anywhere else in the archipelago, it offers residents a laidback way of life free from the hustle and bustle of the bigger islands. The 36 mile stretch of islands spans between Key West and Marathon with a total population of about 16,000. While the Lower Florida Keys may seem more secluded, they are less than a half-day drive from Miami. While shopping and dining in the Lower Keys may be minimal, the tropical isles are home to a national marine sanctuary, national wildlife refuges, and a marine environment abundant with wildlife.
For investors in search of an easy way of life, the Lower Keys offers relaxation and near year-round tropical weather. These islands do not have the touristy feel that the other islands have. In fact, many homeowners in the area say that the Lower Keys have an ‘Old Florida’ essence. However, if you’re looking for more excitement on occasion, know that it’s just a half-hour drive to Key West. While the Lower Keys may lack the thrill of the more populated islands, it does have its advantages. Shark Key is just one of many gated communities featuring less than 100 upscale homes.
The Middle Keys make up the center section of the Florida Keys. This is the location of the Marathon group of islands, as well as the Historic Pigeon Key. The Middle Keys also has more than a dozen additional keys, such as Craig Key, Long Key, Grassy Key, Fat Deer Key, Vaca Key, and Knight’s Key. The Middle Keys extend from Long Key at the eastern end to Marathon at the western end. The 10-mile long island is family-oriented and is just 50 miles from Key West and a two-hour drive from Miami.
The Middle Keys is home to approximately 8,297 people according to a 2010 estimate, and is frequented by tourists year-round. The close-knit island community reflects an “Old Keys” lifestyle with a rich history of fishing, diving, and other water-based activities. The Middle Keys has all of the essentials to serve residents, including hospitals, public and private schools, beaches, libraries, banks, golf courses, shopping, and a commercial airport in Marathon. Within the Middle Keys you will find homes and condos that suit all budgets, whether you’re looking to stay put or simply want a vacation home to visit periodically.
Located on the north side of the Florida Keys, the Upper Keys are a major tourist attraction. The Upper Keys is where you will find the largest island of Key Largo which is known to have the best diving sites in the Florida Keys. Key Largo also shares a piece of the Everglades National Park. Just south of Key Largo is another population tourist destination, a fisherman town known as Islamorado. In the Upper Keys you’ll also find Plantation Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Windley Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, and Lightnumvitae Key.
There are two main beaches in the Upper Keys. Cannon beach is a popular snorkeling destination that contains remnants of an early Spanish shipwreck just 100 feet offshore. The area is also a popular place for fishing, walking the scenic nature trails, and picnicking. The 33 mile long island of Key Largo is connected by two roads to Miami-Dade County. Card Sound Road connects to the northern area of Key Largo and runs southeast towards County Road 905. U.S. Highway 1, or the overseas Highway, enters Key Largo towards the middle of the island in Jewfish Creek.
The Florida Keys have quickly become one of the most popular places to live in the world. Not only a tropical paradise, the Keys has beautiful weather year-round, amazing views, and luxurious homes at all price points. Of course, you want to take your time when shopping for a home to ensure that you are making a wise investment. Throughout the Keys you can find private neighborhoods away from the chaos of the more touristy areas. These communities are often filled with working class people who have made the Keys their permanent home.
After reaching the end of the 18-mile stretch that connects the Florida Keys to the rest of the world you’ll find that life moves a little bit slower. Small town island life is what draws many people to the archipelago which is perched on an ancient coral reef. Living in the Florida Keys is the ultimate way to experience the Caribbean without having to leave the country. During your stay you will also run into new and unique creatures such as green iguanas and Key deer, an endangered species found only in the Middle Keys.
The Florida Keys remain one of the most pristine coastlines in the United States. From Key West at the southern tip to Key Largo near the northern point, the Keys feature over 100 miles of oceanfront. While homes in the Florida Keys are known to be snatched up by wealthy buyers, you don’t have to be rich to enjoy the atmosphere. Whether you desire a modest single family home or want a lavish estate with sweeping views of the Atlantic, you are sure to find real estate that meets your needs. Start your search today for your next home in the Florida Keys.