Florida has been the second home of “snow bunnies” for decades. Retirees seeking to escape the chilly temperatures and mounds of snow flock to the warmer climate of the “Sunshine State.” South Florida and the Florida Keys have long beckoned senior citizens seeking to enjoy their “Golden Years” along the Gulf or Atlantic Coast. Modern technology gave birth to the tele-commute and enabled the younger crowd the chance to relocate to a tropical paradise while still earning an income.
Although the opportunity to work at home in your pajamas has created a nomadic work culture, one still needs to find a domicile within their budget. Sun seekers who never want to return to the land of snow, slush and ice after a south Florida vacation, but can’t afford the massive ticket price of a Florida home, now have an alternative. You can now live where you love to visit, and still be able to afford food and flip-flops.
Release your inner Jimmy Buffett persona, hit I-95 south and head for the keys. Even a small, 20 year old mobile home on a lot typically carries a listing price of $120,000. So how do you live in a tropical paradise without bouncing checks? Buy a boat and secure a slip at a liveaboard marina. Both liveaboard marinas and RV resorts offer middle class Americans a ticket to tropical pastures. While such facilities are not unique to the Florida Keys, there are more abundant in Florida than any other state in the union. Enjoy the live entertainment on Mallory Square at sunset or saddle up on a bar stool in Margaritaville and wait for Jimmy Buffet to make one of his frequent appearances at his flagship restaurant.
Liveaboard marines, often referred to a “dockuminiums.” You can lease a boat slip or but a slice a space and hold your own deed to a slice of a balmy and palm tree lined south Florida real estate. After buying a new or used yacht or houseboat, begin searching for a marina which best suits your needs. Browse websites advertising used boats for sale and purchase the vehicle for your life afloat for no more than a single-wide manufactured home.
The marinas often offer similar amenities to the beachfront resorts which dot the landscape of the Florida Keys. After getting your morning exercise walking “Fido” around the on-site dog park, take a dip in the swimming pool or hot tub before starting your work day. Common liveaboard marina amenities include a clubhouse, Tiki bar, parking space, son-site restaurants, workshop, fitness center, storage unit, wireless Internet access and satellite television.
Not ready to completely flex your sea legs and don a captain’s hat? You can lease or rent boat slips on a monthly or seasonal basis. Depending upon the marina’s policies, you can purchase a boat slip and lease it to others while you are back home tending mundane work duties and family affairs.
If you catch yourself looking out the window of your at-home office day dreaming about your next getaway, perhaps a change of scenery would inspire both your creativity and productivity. Unless you are lucky enough to win the lottery you can’t live the life of a beach bum year around, but you can position yourself in the lap of tropical splendor while working toward your eventual goal of complete retirement.
Life afloat sound like an ideal fit for your future? Check out the Top 5 Liveaboard Marinas in the Florida Keys.
Sunset Marina – Key West
Amenities: unobstructed views of the Gulf of Mexico, accommodates boats up to 65 feet long, wireless Internet access, bath house, laundromat, cable television and telephone service.
Manatee Bay Club – Key Largo
Amenities: swimming pool, hot tub, laundromat, wireless Internet access, accommodates boats up to 34 feet long, cable television, telephone service, Chickee hut and bait freezer for angler’s convenience.
Oceanside Marina – Key West
Amenities: accommodates boats up to 60 feet long, on-site restaurant and lounge, cable television, Internet access, laundromat, bath house and telephone service.
Garrison Bight Marina – Key West
Amenities: mangrove protection from tropical storms, cable television, fishing pier, laundromat, Tiki hut and live entertainment, accommodates boats up to 65 feet long, wireless Internet access and a clubhouse.
Bonefish Marina – Marathon Key
Amenities: Tiki bar, fishing pier, accommodates boats up to 48 feet long, laundromat, cable television, cable television, bath house, wireless Internet access and a clubhouse with organized activities and entertainment.