Their beauty, subtropical location and atmosphere draw thousands of tourists daily. With the unspoiled beaches, inviting blue water, and great weather, the islands are the ideal vacation spot for many. But what is it like to live there?
In general, people have a more slow moving and relaxed attitude. The hustle and bustle of big cities is not found on the islands. Instead, “No hurry” is an often heard expression used by the natives. And they truly mean it! Time seems to move slower in the Keys. Northerners who relocate there may have trouble adjusting to this way of life.
Situated with the Gulf of Mexico on one side, and the Atlantic on the other, the sea plays a central part in hobbies, activities, food and even jobs. Thousands of beaches play host to informal parties, family gatherings and last minute outings. Whether it is snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, beach combing, shell collecting, fishing, swimming, para-sailing, or simply laying on the sugary sand absorbing the sun’s rays, the ocean provides everyone with the opportunities to enjoy life.
The climate is unlike other parts of the United States, and even mainland Florida. During “wet season” islanders are treated to an afternoon rain shower almost daily. With the Keys being in the middle of the ocean, and having few barriers against storms, hurricane season is a time when many become cautious and watchful of the weather. Key West is 2 miles wide and 4 miles long. A direct hit from a hurricane the size of Katrina could potentially destroy these islands.
Access to the Keys is limited. Of course there are planes and boats willing to take you for a price. But for the people who live there, their most used method of transportation leaves them with no options. There is only one road in and one road out. Highway 1, also known as the Overseas Highway, stretching an amazing 113 miles across the ocean, is the only road that connects the islands to mainland and to each other.
The island life is not for everyone. Those who do live there gladly gave up some of the conveniences found on mainland, that aren’t available in the Florida Keys. Limited landmass results in fewer job opportunities, which is usually a deciding factor for those wanting to move there.