New Homes for Sale Near NAS Key West Navy Base | Florida
Boca Chica Key, the second-last significant Florida Keys Island, is home to the Naval Air Station Key West navy base.
The base provides the military with a state-of-the-art training facility to train pilots and crews of fighter pilots from all the U.S. armed services. What's more, NAS Key West is a leading training center for the navy's surface and subsurface combat operations and provides top-class pier-side support for U.S. and foreign vessels.
A base with a wide range of operations located in one of the nation's top tourist hotspots means many opportunities are available for people who want to live in the new homes for sale near the NAS Key West navy base.
If you are thinking of moving to Key West, here's all you need to know about living near the base, things to do, and the best neighborhoods on the island.
A History of The Naval Air Station Key West Base
The NAS Key West navy base has a long and colorful history.
On March 25, 1822, a naval officer called Matthew Perry sailed to Key West and planted the U.S. flag there, claiming the Florida Keys as the property of the United States. A year later, current-day Mallory Square became a naval base.
The Spanish-American war saw the expansion of the base as the Atlantic Fleet shifted its headquarters to Key West. After the war, however, the U.S. withdrew its naval presence on the island until the outbreak of World War I.
Ideal weather and a strategic location soon convinced the navy to set up a submarine base at the current Truman Annex. The navy also discovered that the base would be suitable as a training facility for its fledgling aviation force, resulting in constructing of an air patrol station at Trumbo Point in December 1917. When World War I ended, the air station and submarine base closed, with the Truman Annex naval station only seeing limited use.
With the growing German submarine menace during World War II, the navy reopened Naval Station Key West as a home port for aircraft squadrons, destroyers, and submarines. After the war and into the 1970s, the U.S. naval presence on the island significantly reduced.
A navy sold a substantial chunk of the base property to local private developers. However, the southernmost NAS Key West remained open, and the navy developed it into a state-of-the-art training facility for naval aviators and pilots from other armed services.
What Is Off-Base Life in Key West Like?
The island town of Key West in Monroe County, Florida, is one of the most desirable places to live in the entire nation.
There are many excellent schools near the Key West navy base, offering plenty of choices for parents looking for quality education for their children. The town is home to many young professionals, and most residents hold moderate political views.
People who buy the new homes for sale near the NAS Key West navy base enjoy a comfortable, suburban life close to many parks, shopping centers, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.
Because it is such a desirable place to live, it is crucial to have a good job when you choose to move to one of the new homes for sale near the NAS Key West navy base. Luckily, Key West has a relatively low unemployment rate of approximately 1.5%, substantially lower than the national average of 3.7%.
Still, competition for jobs is fierce, so it is best to visit Key West to ensure you can secure employment before moving. To give you a better understanding of what jobs pay in Key West, here are the average annual salaries for typical jobs:
- Accountant - $55,670
- Mechanical Engineer - $69,550
- Registered Nurse - $62,540
- HR Manager - $105,437
Because of the location's "touristy" nature, the most common jobs are hospitality-related, like server, hotel clerk, or cashier. However, you should know that the competition for the best jobs is intense since many people outside the Key West naval base work more than one job.
The average annual salary for workers in Key West is about $43,000, which is $20.67 hourly. What's more, the minimum wage in Florida is more than $10 per hour, slightly higher than the federal minimum of $7.25.
An important consideration for buyers of new homes for sale near the NAS Key West navy base is the type of educational facilities available for their kids.
Fifteen public K-12 schools serve more than 4,500 students from neighborhoods near the base. The schools are part of the wider Monroe County School District that serves all the Florida Keys and whose administrative offices are in Key West.
There are also three private schools in the area, serving approximately 430 students.
Some of the top public schools in Key West are Poinciana Elementary School, Sigsbee Charter School, and Key West High School.
Things to See and Do
Although Key West has many on-the-water activities, from snorkeling to sunset cruises, there are also enjoy many other distinctive attractions available on dry land. Riding the Conch Tour Train is the fastest way to get to know the town's attractions. The "engineers" know all about the historic district and entertain passengers with local folklore like the story of Robert the haunted doll.
America's Southernmost town has always hosted some memorable, larger-than-life characters. The Ernst Hemingway Home and Museum immerses you in the Pulitzer Prize-winning author's adventures. However, the quirkiness of the town's locals shines through at the Key West Cemetery containing tombstones with cheeky, lighthearted epitaphs like one that reads, "I Told You I Was Sick."
Visit the Harry S. Truman Little White House to dig deeper into the town's fascinating history as a military port. There is also a Civil War-era fort on the island's best beach, within the sprawling Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Take a day trip 70 miles offshore to Dry Tortugas National Park and snorkel within the Fort Jefferson ruins.
A few meters from Fort Zachary is the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, a nature lover's paradise with a 2,500-gallon Living Reef exhibit, where you can learn about the local marine ecosystem. Another must-see attraction is the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, a serene garden sanctuary home to thousands of colorful winged insects and beautiful flamingos in a wading pool.
For the best dining, drinking, people watching, and - crucially - the best shopping experience in South Florida, nothing beats Duval Street in the historic Old Town Key West.
Everyone who comes to this town finds themselves cruising this street eventually. Duval has some of the island's most original and unusual shops where everyone can find something interesting to buy. The boutiques on Duval Street provide as much of the local charm as Key West's unforgettable sunsets.
You can find anything you want to buy somewhere on this street at almost any hour of the day or night. Large national chains, including Gap, Coach, and Banana Republic, have all moved in to satisfy the shopping needs of a town that does not have a single mall.
An authentic Key West shop that you must visit is Key West Aloe, located at 416 Greene Street. For more than 35 years, the store has produced natural aloe products that moisturize, soothe, and protect skin how nature intended.
At 315 Petronia Street, you will find the unique, charming, and well-curated Besame Mucho. The store offers a romantic collection of delights worldwide, including exotic chocolates, original jewelry, French beauty products, and housewares.
Is fishing your thing? Then make sure that you visit The Angling Company. Situated at 333 Simonton Street, the store sells an impressive collection of clothing and equipment for saltwater fishing, particularly fly fishing.
Another colorful street with unique shops like Local Color is Caroline Street, also in the Old Town district. If you are looking for original pieces to decorate your new home, you should look for ART@830, located on this street. Here, you'll find the incredible stained-glass artwork of Greg McDonald, whose genre lamps can be found in only a handful of galleries worldwide.
Dining and Nightlife
If you're looking for a place where you can find cuisine from all over the world, Key West is the place to be! From Alonso's Oyster Bar located on Schooner Warf to the excellent Italian restaurant La Trattoria situated on Duvall Street to taking in an all-inclusive dinner cruise at sunset. Additionally, you can find many contemporary American eateries where you can enjoy your meal indoors and then move outside for Happy Hour.
Do you want to watch the sunset from a perfect oceanfront location? Try out the Sunset Bar & Grille at the foot of the 7-Mile Bridge. The restaurant's design emulates a thatched tiki hut from the South Seas, featuring a massive ocean-facing deck and one of the biggest pools in all Florida Keys! The food perfectly matches the incredible ambiance with fresh seafood, sushi, salads, chicken dishes, burgers, and steaks.
Key West is also world-famous for its incredibly festive nightlife. The island has an eclectic mix of low-key pubs, lively bars, live music venues, high-energy nightclubs, poolside party spots, and restaurants to ensure no shortage of music, fun, and delicious cocktails.
Neighborhoods to Consider When Seeking New Homes for Sale Near NAS Key West Navy Base
If you're looking for an exciting new place to live near the NAS Key West navy base, then we have the ultimate guide to the best neighborhoods in the area. Although this small island measures only two by four miles, it contains a collection of some of America's most beautiful and diverse communities.
While some differences are subtle, each neighborhood has a unique character, architectural style, and history. Read on to find out what island life is like away from the base and the tourist-packed streets.
This mixed residential/business district encompasses the historic waterfront of Old Town Key West on the gulf side, stretching to lower Duval Street.
In the late 1800s, the town's founders built the island's first warehouses and shipping docks, grand homes, and restaurants, which still stand today as a massive and impressive collection of the best turn-of-the-century architecture. Many styles are available, from charming shotgun cottages to grand Greek Revival Victorians. Most of these alluring structures are renovated and restored to their former glory.
Furthermore, today's district boasts a collection of famous waterfront bars and restaurants, museums, retail stores, sailing charters, fishing gear stores, Mallory Square, and various homes.
The Truman Annex residential district is an exclusive gated neighborhood named after the Little White House, where President Harry S. Truman spent his winters.
From here, Truman handled some of the most pressing matters of his presidency, like the Cold War, rebuilding Europe, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Palestine question. Located on the district's Front Street, the president's stately former residence is now formally known as the Harry Truman Little White House Museum.
In the 1990s, a private developer renovated and redesigned the original 100 acres of military grounds. As a result, the grounds of the Truman Annex have a park-like look, manicured and exquisitely landscaped to picturesque perfection. The Truman Annex is a delightful neighborhood to bicycle to or to take a walk, with freshly clipped hedges, fountains, and green grounds providing an impressive backdrop for a stroll into town.
Developers renovated the original military family homes, creating large luxury mansions with a mix of Greek Revival and Italian architectural designs. When you move toward the southern end of the Annex, there are rows of smaller, new townhomes with sitting porches and tin roofs built in classic cottage style.
Just outside the Annex gate is Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, a historic site that boasts one of the island's best beaches. From here, it is a 5 to 10-minute walk to Mallory Square Sunset Celebration and Duval Street in downtown Old Town.
Sandwiched between New Town and the White Street Gallery district, this neighborhood has relatively blurred boundaries - generally described as North Roosevelt Boulevard to Flagler Avenue and First to White streets.
Midtown is almost exclusively residential and was created from a landfill during the 1940s and 1950s to create room for early suburban development on the island. The initial architecture generally reflected the typical style of spacious but modest mid-century homes, and many local families live here.
However, with the increased property values in Key West from the late 1990s, many homeowners renovated their homes to create unique island dream residences with swimming pools and lush tropical landscaping.
This cozy "off the beaten path" type of neighborhood is so close to New Town, White Street, and the beach that most people consider it the most convenient location on the island. Moreover, it only takes 20 minutes to ride a bike to upper Duval. Although few people walk to town, it is quicker than you may think, and there is plenty to see.
The Meadows is an exclusive residential district that is, in reality, an extension of the main historic Old Town seaport area where the harbor is said to "round the bend." The site was initially developed in the early 1900s as a suburban neighborhood and has retained a distinctly intimate and graceful feel with its large yards and tree-lined streets.
There's also generally less commercial development here than in the center of the Old Town or the seaport area of White Street. Still, The Meadows flanks White Street, which offers residents many of their favorite local shops, restaurants, bakeries, and art galleries. This neighborhood is a 5 to 10-minute walk to the seaport, and a stroll to Duval Street only takes about 20 minutes.
Unlike many neighborhoods with new homes for sale near the NAS Key West Navy base, most of the Meadows' residents live on Key West all year round.
The signature landmark of this district of Key West is the historic Henry Flagler Hotel, built in the 1920s.
Henry Flagler is famous for building the overseas railway extending more than 100 miles to Key West from mainland Florida with his luxurious building on the oceanfront as its centerpiece. Today, the area around the hotel is called the Casa Marina and is a small, exclusive, and highly desirable neighborhood within Old Town Key West.
For most of the mid-1900s, most people considered the area the "countryside" of Key West. As a result, the modern-day Casa Marina has a unique mix of turn-of-the-century, the mid-1900s, and modern architecture within meters of each other. The homes in this district have stunning gardens and typically have more space than most other houses in other areas of Old Town.
The area is quiet and close to the Atlantic but is still easily accessible from beachfront restaurants, the White Street shopping area, and the gallery. From here, Duval Street is a 20-minute walk away.
Find Your Dream Space in One of The New Homes for Sale Near NAS Key West Navy Base
Key West and other areas surrounding the navy base are full of culture, history, and vibrant life. If you look beyond the well-known tourist attractions and get to know the neighborhoods above, you will be better prepared to invest in one of the new homes for sale near the NAS Key West navy base.
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