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Retire in Cudjoe Key, Florida?
Overview: The Lower Keys is a group of islands at the southern end of the Florida Keys and includes Summerland Key, Big Torch Key, Little Torch Key, Sugarloaf Key, Big Coppitt and Cudjoe Key. Named after either the Joewood tree or a fugitive slave - no one is quite sure - Cudjoe Key became home to an air force station in 1959. A small station remains, and its "Fat Albert" blimp (actually a Tethered Aerostat Radar System) still hovers over the island detecting illegal drugs en route to the U.S.
Cudjoe Key is balmy, a little bohemian and mostly residential. Short palm trees sway, and telephone poles line streets without sidewalks. Time proceeds at a lanquid pace. Businesses include charter fishing services, fish warehouses, rental cottages, an inn and a market. Residents also enjoy a highly rated seafood restaurant, Italian restaurant and Cuban restaurant. Fishermen reel in plentiful amounts of mahi mahi, jack fish, and snapper from Cudjoe Bay, and the full-service Cudjoe Key Garden Marina is a great place to set sail for a tropical adventure. Most of the island is in its natural state, so nearly all residences - a mixture of white and pastel-colored mobile homes and stilt homes - are clustered the on island's southern end. The majority of dwellings sit next to a canal and have direct access to Cudjoe Bay or Pirate's Cove.
Residents are 20 minutes from all of the galleries, festivals, theater, and cultural amenities of Key West. The Lower Keys are also home to the Underwater Music Festival. The Great White Heron National Refuge stretches from Bahia Honda State Park to North Key West, and the nearby 9,200-acre National Key Deer Refuge has 23 endangered species.
Population: 1,900 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 56%
Cost of Living: 32% above the national average
Median Home Price: $365,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 60s and 70s. On average, the area receives 40 inches of rain each year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No. A Fisherman's Community Hospital clinic is 10 miles away in Big Pine Key, but the nearest hospital, Fishermen's Community Hospital, is 25 minutes away in Marathon.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No. The nearest accredited hospital is Fisherman's Community Hospital, 25 minutes away in Marathon.
Public Transit: No, but a bus runs from Key West to the Miami area.
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: No, but one is in Big Pine Key, about 10 miles away.
Political Leanings: Split down the middle
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: There is nowhere to hide if a hurricane should strike.
Notes: Cudjoe Key has boat launch areas but does not have a beach. The population has grown by 5% within the last decade. One road, the Overseas Highway, runs across the southern end of the island and connects Cudjoe Key to Upper Suarloaf Key to the west and Summerland Key to the east.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the lack of local hospital is something to consider if thinking of retirement here.
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