Living in the Florida Keys: A Slice of Paradise on Earth

Bed near swimming pool and beach.

Stretching over a distance of about 120 miles off the southern tip of Florida, the Florida Keys is an archipelago of coral cay islands, each possessing a unique charm. While most people envision the Keys as a tourist destination, it’s also a place many people proudly call home. Living in the Florida Keys is not just about enjoying the sun and the sea; it’s about immersing oneself in a distinctive way of life. Here’s an insight into what it’s like to live in this tropical paradise.

Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities

The Florida Keys boast an environment unlike any other in the continental United States. From the stunning sunsets of Key West to the untouched beauty of Bahia Honda State Park, nature’s splendor is always on full display.

  1. Water Sports: Given its island nature, water activities are a significant part of life in the Keys. Snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and boating are not just weekend activities; they’re everyday possibilities.
  2. Fishing: The Keys are known as the Fishing Capital of the World. From deep-sea fishing to flats fishing, there’s something for every angler here.
  3. Wildlife: With the unique ecosystems of both the Everglades and the coral reefs nearby, residents often find themselves in close proximity to diverse wildlife, including the famous Key deer, dolphins, and countless bird species.

A Blend of Cultures

Over the years, the Florida Keys have become a melting pot of cultures. From Cuban influences to Bahamian heritage and the imprint of artists, writers, and musicians from all walks of life, this diversity is palpable in the local cuisine, art, and daily life.

A Slower Pace

Life in the Keys operates on “island time.” It’s a more relaxed way of life, where the hustle and bustle of big city living fade away. This slower pace is ideal for those looking to escape the rat race. However, it’s essential to note that this leisurely approach might sometimes translate to businesses and services operating less urgently than what some might be used to.

Community Spirit

Despite being a sought-after tourist destination, the Florida Keys maintain a close-knit community vibe. With a relatively low population, it’s common for neighbors to know each other, and community events often see enthusiastic participation. The spirit of unity was especially evident during challenging times, such as in the aftermath of hurricanes.

Cost of Living and Housing

Living in paradise does come with its costs. The cost of living in the Florida Keys can be higher than in other parts of Florida, especially when it comes to housing. Many properties are priced at a premium, especially those with water access or views. However, some residents find the trade-off between cost and quality of life worth it.

Weather Considerations

While the Keys enjoy a tropical climate, making for warm winters and a year-round summer vibe, they are also susceptible to hurricanes. It’s essential for residents to be prepared and have evacuation plans in place. On the flip side, the balmy weather for most of the year is a significant attraction.

Ecological Responsibility

Living in the Keys also comes with a responsibility to protect the fragile ecosystem. The coral reefs are vital not only to marine life but also to the economy of the Keys, given their attraction to tourists. Sustainable living, awareness about the local environment, and conservation efforts are paramount.


Life in the Florida Keys is not for everyone. It’s for those who dream of sunsets over the ocean, who cherish the thought of a tight-knit community, and who respect and want to be surrounded by nature’s bounty. While it offers unparalleled natural beauty and a unique way of life, it also comes with its challenges, like any other place. For those who resonate with its rhythm, however, the Florida Keys is not just a home; it’s a paradise on earth.

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