When the question comes up, some of the obvious locations mentioned are Manhattan’s East Village for its hipster charm, Venice Beach, CA for its bohemian culture or, if you wanted to bypass the hustle and bustle of a major metropolis for majestic views and a slower pace of life, you’d look for units in Hawaii.

But what if you wanted to cherry pick those elements and put them in one town? You might opt for a rental in the unassuming Florida Keys – it has all of the above-mentioned attributes and much more.

Sweet solitude

grounds at Steamboat property in Key West

Photo courtesy of Key West Residential Property Management/rent.com

You have to remember, the Florida Keys are relatively large compared to Manhattan Island. While Manhattan only spans 33.5 square miles, it’s jam packed with a total population of 1,664,717 people. The Florida Keys however covers a vast 137 square miles with a relatively small population of 73,090. That means you can rent a quirky house like 55 Boca Chica without being on top of your neighbors.

As a matter of fact, unless you live in one of the Keys’ luxury condominiums like the Steamplant overlooking the Key West Bight Marina or 2601 S Roosevelt located across from Smathers Beach (the largest beach in Key West), you might not see or hear from your neighbors for several days.

The simple life

Make no mistake though, the hipster charm of the Florida Keys is not ironic, nor is it tongue in cheek, unlike Manhattan’s East Village. For the most part, the Keys look like an old school beach community because it legitimately is a beach community – it doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. Rental homes, condos and apartments aren’t extravagant – they were built with durability to withstand hurricanes.

You’re not going to find fancy rentals with landscapes that cost thousands a year to maintain or exotic species of palm trees lining the roads of the Florida Keys. This is simply because the islands get their fair share of damage during the hurricane seasons. One could say the Keys’ architectural style is evenly split between functional suburban ’80s, Jersey Shore cottages and hints of the post-modern ’70s.

As far as money is concerned, the Keys have a lot in common with Venice Beach. If you’ve perused Venice’s rental prices lately, you’ll note the massive division in monthly rent. You’ll find rentals as high as $100,000 a month for seven bedrooms and as low as $995 for a one-bedroom, one-bath.

Paying for peace and quiet

house for rent at stock island in the florida keys

Photo courtesy of Key West Residential Property Management/rent.com

While you won’t see rentals on the Florida Keys for $100K, the variances are similar. You can live in one of the most desirable buildings on the Keys like the aforementioned Steamplant for $15,000 or you can rent a charming house on Stock Island for $2,500.

Renting on the Florida Keys isn’t for everyone. If you’re addicted to the daily 9-to-5 grind or if you’re a foodie who plans their weekends around boutique restaurants that come and go with the seasons, you’ll get bored with the Keys fast. But if you want to decelerate your day to a mid-paced crawl and live like you’re on summer vacation, Key West can give you the best bang for your rental buck.

The rent information included in this article is based on January 2019 multifamily rental property inventory on ApartmentGuide.com and Rent.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein does not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.
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