Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Retire in Big Pine Key, Florida?
Overview: Remote Big Pine Key sits on an island of the same name. The island and the town are the beginning of Florida's Lower Keys, the least developed islands in the Keys. They start where the Keys island chain takes a slight turn to the west.
The Lower Keys have an untamed, ends of the earth feeling, and Big Pine Key does, too. It is, though, the commercial hub of this area and has a shopping center with a Winn-Dixie and some thatched roof restaurants. Other merchants, including a hardware store, a bar or two, a bait and tackle shop and Coconuts liquor store, are along the Overseas Highway that runs through town. Diving and snorkeling are what bring people to Big Pine Key, and just south of town, Looe Key Reef in the National Marine Sanctuary is known for its gorgeous coral reef and schools of friendly fish. Wildlife is never far away, particularly with the National Key Deer Refuge just north of town. It is home to the last remaining herd of Key Deer and other assorted species. Residents enjoy festivals such as the Island Art Festival and the Underwater Music Festival (for divers and mermaids).
Neighborhoods feel unfinished, with sandy roads and overgrown vegetation. Residences include cottages, bungalows, ranch ramblers and stilt homes. Some sit along a canal.
Population: 4,500 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 48%
Cost of Living: 38% above national average
Median Home Price: $405,000
Climate: Summer has temperatures in the 80s and 90s, and winter has temperatures in the 60s and 70s. On average, the area receives 40 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No. The nearest accredited hospital is in Marathon, 22 miles away.
Public Transit: Key West Transit travels between the Keys and makes three stops in Big Pine Key.
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Liberal
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Big Pine Key is completely vulnerable should a hurricane hit. Some locals complain about "island fever."
Notes: The nearest larger town, Marathon, is 22 miles away. Key West is 40 miles away.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Maybe. Big Pine Key is a seductive place, but the travel time to an accredited hospital and the distance to other civilization should be weighed before retiring in this tropical outpost.
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