Could You Live in Key West?

There are certain places in the United States that are commonly recommended as vacation destinations, but not often discussed as targets for homeowners. For example, North Carolina’s Outer Banks are known as fantastic locations for vacations and vacation homes, but very few people actually live there year round; similarly, we rarely consider what life is like for permanent residents of Hawaii, but instead think of the island only as a place for weddings and summer vacations. Unfortunately, thinking this way can limit your options as you consider new places to live – for example, if you have ever considered living in Key West, Florida, you may have begun to thought about it as only a vacation spot. Is this really the case, however? Yes and no.

One of the reasons that Key West is a popular destination to begin with is that it does have a rather tropical element that very few other places that can count themselves as part of the United States have. In fact, some even refer to Key West as the American branch of the Caribbean, and the distinction is not entirely inaccurate. Taking some time off at Key West can certainly feel more like an island getaway. However, because of this tropical atmosphere, as well as the fact that real estate and living costs on Key West tend to be exorbitantly expensive, most people never really consider this location for permanent living. In actuality, however, the people who do live there tend to manage just fine, and figure out ways to enjoy a vacation-like setting for the whole year, every year!

The simple fact about living in Key West is that its charms and conveniences allow you to make certain sacrifices with relative ease. For example, many residents of Key West trade the beautiful setting for a slightly smaller home than they may be able to afford elsewhere in the United States. Additionally, many people forego the expenses of having cars, instead preferring to rely on bikes, scooters, etc., which tend to be sufficient for getting around in Key West. Making little changes like this can help to negate the high real estate and living costs of Key West, and can therefore make living there manageable.

Once you figure out whether or not you are prepared and able to make the necessary sacrifices, you will discover that Key West is an extremely charming area in which to live. Not only are there tropical beach settings, but “Old Town” in Key West is known as a very unique and historical residential town area complete with a number of preserved and restored houses that have been there quite some time. The town features a unique blend of Caribbean atmosphere and American history, and can ultimately be a very nice place to settle.

- Samantha Cohen is an online writer for, and has contributed to multiple sites in the fields of home improvement, family protection, and real estate.

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