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Moving To LGBT Key West, Florida? How To Find Your Perfect Gay Neighborhood!

Moving To LGBT Key West, Florida? How To Find Your Perfect Gay Neighborhood!

Moving to LGBT Key West has been popular for decades now – and it is easy to see why. Not only is it one of the country’s most unique locations, but it is also scenic, artistic, laid-back, and quirky. Even so, that’s not all. 

This relatively small Florida Keys island, renowned for its chilled-out atmosphere, tropical climate, and relaxed vibes, has opened up to visitors looking to find a break from the norm for many years.

Despite what many might think, Key West is not just for vacations either, and many LGBT people now choose to live and even retire here. We can’t blame them as Key West now has one the highest concentration of gay couples of any major US city! 

And did we mention a tight-knit queer community?

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Yes, just like in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Springs, Provincetown and other fabulously gay US cities, there is also an enthusiastic LGBT scene here, and this is something a gay realtor in Key West can help you navigate as you find your new perfect home here.

Key West is a major LGBTQ holiday destination that promotes openness and pride and draws more than 250,000 people annually. The city is known for its loving and tolerant atmosphere.

In 2000, “One Human Family” was established as Key West’s official motto. Monroe County, which includes the whole Florida Keys island chain, soon followed suit meaning you can feel safe moving to any of the Keys.

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At times it can feel like the whole city is just one giant gay Mecca – and with wild gay annual events like Tropical Heat, Fantasyfest, and Womenfest, the Duvel Street gay nightlife, a plethora of clothing option gay resorts and more drag shows than we could count, it arguably is!

If you ask anyone in Key West which neighborhoods are safe for gays, they will tell you “Honey…this whole island is gay-friendly!”, and in our experience, this is entirely true!

Think of this article as a queer Key West relocation guide that will help you understand what you’re getting yourself into when moving to this ravishing island. If you need a more nightlife and travel-focused guide detailing all the LGBT clubs, parties, and more, check out our Gay Key West Guide!

Moving To LGBT Key West, Florida? How To Find Your Perfect Gay Neighborhood!
Moving To LGBT Key West, Florida? How To Find Your Perfect Gay Neighborhood!
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Highlights of Moving to LGBTQ Key West

Key West residents are well aware that their island has an issue with overtourism – but that doesn’t mean there are no hidden gems still to be discovered. Key West and the other Florida Keys are brimming with culture and beautiful sights just waiting to be discovered.

Securing a relocation here will also allow you to meet others with similar interests, thanks to a quirky yet highly involved LGBT culture, which includes more than a few fantastic queer spots of interest in Key Key’s most popular neighborhoods.

Many people visit this island to write, fish, party or re-energize – yet almost anything that your heart desires can be found here. There are plenty of things to look forwards to when moving to LGBT Key West, be it entertaining cocktail bars, charming coffee shops, or boozy brunch haunts.

Key West is an area where you can be who you are, discover yourself, or re-invent yourself. Living here isn’t the same as visiting, so we’ve put together a few highlights of what you should expect while living on this island. 

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So Many Attractions

Of course, Key West’s sunny beaches are among the city’s most popular attractions.  Smathers Beach, Higgs Beach, South Beach, and Simonton Beach are among the most popular. Key West has a long history as one of the country’s best destinations for diving and deep-sea diving. However, relaxing on the beach is also highly recommended.

The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, home to a range of elegant insects, is an excellent place to spend your day. The surroundings include flowering plants and waterfalls to establish a tropical ambiance, and there are more than 50 butterfly species from all over the world to watch.

Scooters And Bicycles Replace Cars

Key West is one of the rare areas in the country where cars are thought of as a burden rather than helpful. Being an island town, petrol prices are higher than in other areas since the product requires transportation from the mainland. In addition, it’s hard to find parking spaces here, so bicycles and scooters are more desirable.

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It’s A Fisherman’s Dream Come True.

The “backcountry” refers to the warm waters between the Keys and mainland Florida. Anglers will be able to catch various game fish, including permit and tarpon. You can find bigger fish in the deeper parts off the southern coast, where Ernest Hemingway would take Pilar, his boat.

The Climate

There has never been a frost in Key West. It’s the southernmost city in the United States, and because of its tropical climate, President Harry Truman opted for it as the location for his winter White House between 1946 – 1952. In fact, Key West is in closer proximity to Havana than Miami

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Does Key West Embrace The LGBTQ Community?

Key West is recognized globally as a gay mecca, with over 250,000 visitors flocking to this leading LGBTQ vacation destination that embraces pride and openness. The entire island is famous for its accepting and welcoming attitude.

In 2000, “One Human Family”, Key West’s official philosophy, was quickly adopted by the entire Monroe County, including the whole Florida Keys chain of islands. The all-inclusive island is known for its accepting and welcoming attitude, acknowledging that everyone is created equal. In 2015, the City of Key West fitted four permanent rainbow crossings at the junction of Petronia and Duval streets, which are the core of the LGBTQ entertainment district. 

The first lesbian mayor of Key West was elected in 2018. Former city commissioner Teri Johnston was also the first openly queer woman to be elected mayor of a Florida city. In the past, when gay life was independent of birth families, jobs, and a virulently intolerant mainstream, the country’s LGBT community chose to holiday in unlikely places, and  Key West was among the few accepting, inviting destinations for LGBT visitors who wanted to express their freedom, creativity, and love. 

For centuries, the city has defied stereotypical views and refused to recognize boundaries. On this fun, authentic island, acceptance is honored and joyfully offered. Key West is one of the most tourist-friendly areas in the Florida Keys, and it’s also the region’s central gay hub. While most parts of Florida Keys lack official gay bars/clubs, Key West has a plethora.

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Is Key West An Expensive City to Move To?

With an average home price of $633,000, the city is 174.1 percent more expensive than the country’s average. However, it is still cheaper than many other metropolitan areas, including 7 percent cheaper than New York and 8.8% less expensive than L.A.

The cost of groceries is similar to the national average, but transportation is 30.6 percent less costly and utilities are 3% less expensive. The median household income in the city is also higher than the country’s average, at $69,000, suggesting that it may be more affordable than most think!

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The Best Gay Neighborhoods In Key West

When relocating to LGBT Key West, there are a few areas of the islands you should know about as they are close to the queer community, allowing you to conventionally pull your U-Haul up to your new house in a gay-friendly neighborhood or part of town.

If you’re a lesbiangaybisexualtransgender, or otherwise queer person manifesting a liberal neighborhood with facilities you’ll cherish, start with these top gay and gay-friendly Key West neighborhoods to discover your perfect new home, each with its own distinct personality. 

Give yourself enough time to acquaint yourself with Key West’s diverse personalities, and remember that this city offers something for everyone – LGBTQ or not!

If it all seems a little overwhelming, you should speak to a local LGBT real estate agent for a more nuanced and up-to-date understanding of the best options available to you.

Most areas in this city would welcome you, but let’s take a look at where the more fabulous gay areas in Key West are and talk about the Key West gayborhood where you might feel most at home!

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Bahama Village

Bahama Village is a one-of-a-kind historic district in Key West where Bahamians emigrated from the Bahamas during the late 1800s. Some people consider Bahama Village the last colony of “the legitimate Key West.”

With clapboard houses colored white, canary yellow, and Caribbean blue, village streets are suggestive of the Bahamas. However, as this tiny district has gentrified, many historic buildings have been renovated and restored, paving the way for trendy and ethnic restaurants, cottage-style homes, and boutique shops on a few streets. 

Home to a small but vibrant African-American community, the neighborhood is a cherished island area that’s actively working to retain its unique cultural heritage. A few newly refurbished cottage homes are available for vacation rentals, albeit mainly on the village’s outskirts. 


Because of its close vicinity to the southern shore, this area of Key West is known as the beachside district. It runs along South Roosevelt Blvd. through Flagler Street all the way to the southern shore, then further to White Street and Bertha Street. 

With gentle ocean breezes, this side of the city feels like a beach town community, and it isn’t uncommon to see people biking or walking to Smathers or Higgs Beach in their bathing suits. There are both year-round and seasonal residents in the area. 

The neighborhood has a few houses for rent, as well as a few private condominiums available for short-term vacation rentals. Biking to downtown Old Town only takes 10 to 15 minutes and is easy and fun, thanks to the pavements on the beach path. Because the island is flat, it’s a pleasant 30-minute walk with plenty to see.

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Casa Marina

Casa Marina neighborhood is located on the island’s southernmost tip, near the White Street Pier and Higgs Beach. The Casa Marina Hotel, which is a component of the Waldorf Astoria Collection of exquisite hotels, gave the area its name. The Casa Marina Hotel previously’ served as the last stop for passengers on Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railway. 

This neighborhood was once deemed the island’s countryside. The outcome is a heritage of exceptional turn-of-the-century, mid-century, and modern architecture with lush gardens and much more yard space than would be commonly found in Key West’s many residential neighborhoods. 

This is a peaceful residential neighborhood near the beachfront restaurants, the Atlantic Ocean, the United States’ Southernmost Point, and the White Street shopping and gallery district. The beach is a three or five-minute walk away. 


The Meadows is amongst the most sought-after residential areas in the city. The Meadows’ houses vary in style from grand estates to bohemian bungalows, with many traditional conch-style homes sprinkled into the mix.

When Henry Flagler’s railroad arrived in the city in the 1900s, this serene, residential neighborhood snowballed. Most of the initial homes have been adequately maintained and rehabilitated to preserve the district’s historic charm. 

This neighborhood has a higher concentration of full-time residents compared to other areas of Old Town, but it also has a number of vacation rentals and second homes. Though the district is known as the Meadows, it is unclear whether there were any meadows here. What is known is that in the past, there was a dairy farm on the property. 

In the early 1900s, there were many dairies on the island. The reconditioned Cold’s Milk Farmhouse, which is the oldest residence on White Street, still stands here. Newton, Pine, Olivia, and Petronia are the neighborhood’s main streets, which are surrounded by beautiful shade trees such as Mahogany, Royal Poinciana, and different Palms. 

These delightful streets are a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of Duval Street while still being close enough to bike or walk almost anywhere.

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Annual LGBT Events In Chicago

After moving to a new city, you will likely want to create new connections, meet new people, and network. Thankfully, LGBT Key West plays host to a variety of annual events for lesbians, transgender persons, gays, and anyone else who wants to have a good time.

While there are many queer events in the city, the ones listed here are the largest and greatest and are all worth marking in your calendar as you won’t want to miss them.

Gay Spring Break Key West – Every March thousands of hot, sexy men flock to gay Key West to relive their college days through epic parties, adventures, shows and events. For many years there was an official event, but now it’s more scattered with different bars and gay resorts in Key West offering their own activities. Still, that doesn’t stop all the boys from heading down…

Key West Pride – The annual pride celebration of this tropical paradise is held annually in June. Get lost in the magic of the island – and all its queer parties- while paying tribute to Key West’s One Human Family philosophy.

Tropical Heat Key West – What better way could there be to celebrate August, the hottest month in the Keys, than a 4-day event filled with all-male theme parties, pool parties, and adult-oriented entertainment promises? Tropical Heat pledges to be hot, steamy and oh-so-scandalous, and it never disappoints.

Womenfest Key West – Held annually in September this is one of the world’s biggest gatherings of lesbians who come together in a celebration of themselves. And ladies, you deserve it! An epic clothing-optional pool party, reek trips, roller derby, white party and stoplight party are just some of the event’s highlights. Though if you simply want to enjoy the atmosphere with a good margarita on a poolside chaise lounger, we wouldn’t blame you!

Fantasy Fest

The biggest gay event in Key West takes place annually in October – we are not kidding when we say Fantasy Fest street festival rivals New Orleans Mardi Gras and Mardi Gras in Sydney in terms of debauchery and pleasure. A ten-day extravaganza that includes a parade, balls, costume competitions + parties, AIDS fundraisers, drag queen contests, body painting, pet parades and plenty of alcohol. The Headdress Ball is the ultimate gay event of the annual Fantasyfest and is absolutely not to be missed. Let your freak flag fly here!

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LGBTQ+ Community Organizations In Key West

To progress the LGBTQ agenda, the queer community commonly has to rely on donor organizations or non-profits.

Wherever you live, it’s critical that you support such groups in any way you can use so that they can reach out and aid others in the community. You might even need their assistance right or at some point in the future – and no matter what, every queer person has benefited from their tireless work to achieve the progress and rights we have today.  Here are some outstanding community LGBT organizations in Key West.

These are wonderful places to start if you’re looking for LGBTQ groups to join, seek support from, meet new people with or volunteer for a cause you care about.

The Key West Business Guild

The Key West Business Guild is a non-profit dedicated to promoting the city to LGBTQ+ visitors. The organization provides in-depth info about Gay Key West and endorses member businesses to a domestic and international audience. This work contributes to the annual influx of approximately 250,000 LGBTQ+ visitors to the city, earning it a well-deserved track record as one of the world’s most appealing gay-friendly destinations.

The Guild was founded in 1978 to promote tourism during the summer and aid the city’s gay community. KWBG is the country’s pioneer LGBTQ+ destination marketing organization. It has evolved from a small initial membership to over 475 businesses representing almost all aspects of the island’s business sector.

The Key West Gay and Lesbian Community Center

The Key West Gay and Lesbian Community Center is a catalog of programs, history, and people. The Center is an emblem of freedom of expression, civil rights, and the belief that everyone is created as an equal member of a single human family.  The Center, as a community center, offers public policy, social services, and cultural/educational and recreational programs. It also serves as a meeting place for community groups. The Center also offers a variety of services to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people.

LGBTQ+ Community Organizations In Key West

LGBT-Owned Businesses In Key West

After moving to LGBT Key West, it’s only natural to want to support queer businesses. One strategy for establishing a safer and more inclusive society is to create a secure environment where people may rest, buy, dine, and connect without fear, and this is exactly what LGBT companies should strive for.

To safeguard the queer community’s survival and success, it is critical to support these initiatives wherever you are. When you shop locally, you put in a personal investment in your city and community. Here’s a short list of LGBTQ+-owned businesses in Key West you can invest in with your pink dollars…

Aqua Nightclub

A Key West LGBT nightclub famed for their talented drag shows performed by the Aquanettes. Upscale, classy and always raucous – If you’re looking for sophisticated style over cruisy go-go fulled fun this is the place to go. There is also the quaint Back Bar; here with a great selection of beers and specialty drinks favored by locals as a bit of a hidden gem.

Island House

Frequently named one of the best gay resorts in the world, the legendary Island House in Key West draws in tens of thousands of men every year –  from all over the world and in all shapes, sizes, and ages. A true sanctuary for men offering plenty of those magical Key West moments with a fun pool, a popular bar, plenty of social activities and only a 10-minute walk from Duval Street gay bars. The most famous gay stay on the island with shared showers for the basic rooms, a sauna + gym and free Happy Hour drinks for all guests, every day! Our favorite Key West gay resort offers a little bit of everything – and even if they are full, you can still visit by purchasing an Island House Key West day pass for $30 valid from the time of purchase until 8 am the following morning.

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Key West Cakes

Paulie and Steven established Key West Cakes in 2001. The shop was founded as a specialty cake bakery devoted to the perfect blend of presentation, creativity, and flavor. The bakery was started in Paul’s home kitchen, with a tiny kitchen and a close-knit band of cake artists. The rest has gone off without a hitch. Key West Cakes and the whole business grew.

Better Than Sex

Better Than Sex is an eatery with some amazing desserts in a cozy speakeasy-style setting. They also have a unique selection of caramel and chocolate-covered beers, wines, and custom cocktails that you won’t find anywhere else. Unlike other restaurants, most of their tables have a degree of privacy due to the presence of a curtain or wall between them. They’re the ideal spot for special occasions, a date night, or a get-together with a group of friends.

Key Lime Pie Bakery

Key-Lime Pie bakery is a family-owned and operated business that serves freshly baked key Lime pie to its customers every day. They also have a wide assortment of souvenirs for international visitors to bring home as a memento of their trip to Key West. Visit them when you move to Key West, or enjoy their online store, and don’t forget to join their lively and rapidly expanding Facebook community.

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Final Thoughts On Moving To LGBTQ Key West

There’s been much to say about moving to LGBTQ Key West. However, the bottom line is that this laid-back city will offer you a much-needed break away from city life. Whether you’re moving here to start a new life with a loved one, or simply want to relax, Key West has everything you need to make your dreams come true!

Keep in mind that life is what you make it, and wherever you choose to begin your new life in gay Key West, we hope you find the openness and security you deserve. The surest way to discover LGBT Key West is always going to be living in a gay-friendly neighborhood by frequenting local LGBT businesses and events and joining queer community groups and sports teams.

We promise that if you follow these steps, your transition to LGBT Key West will be easier, and you’ll rapidly meet like-minded people to build your new chosen family here. 

Key West Gay Relocation Guide

Finding Gay Realtors In Key West Florida

When looking for the ideal realtor, why would you consider someone’s sexuality? This may seem strange at first, but there are several reasons why contacting a gay realtor in Key West is a great way to find your dream house.

After all, when it relates to one of life’s most important transactions, it’s not unreasonable to expect fair, equal, and honest representation from someone who understands the queer community’s particular needs and wishes. Furthermore, unfortunately, many people (up to a third of Americans) continue to believe that our community does not deserve protection and dignity in housing, adoption, employment, and other areas of life.

So it’s no surprise that LGBT people who use mainstream realtors often describe feelings of discomfort, unnecessary trouble, unenthusiastic representation, or even antagonism or outright contempt. Everyone deserves a pleasant, stress-free home buying or selling experience while being adequately represented, and this is why we feel you should hire a gay realtor to assist you in finding your future home.

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LGBTQ realtors are more likely to be familiar with the diverse communities in their area and know which ones may be best suited to you when looking for a home. That’s not to say a heterosexual realtor isn’t capable, but they’ve probably never had to address many of the issues LGBT people face. Rather than just being concerned with how bustling, fashionable, or up-and-coming a neighborhood is (or what it may appear like), gay realtors conduct extensive research into the neighborhoods in which they sell homes to ensure that clients are safe.

It used to be difficult to locate professional LGBT-friendly real estate agents in Key West, and it was virtually impossible to find one if you were relocating here from out of state and didn’t have access to a local referral. You no longer have to search for a realtor without knowing whether or not they are accepting of others because you can use a list of gay, lesbian, and gay-friendly agents in Key West to do all of your homework for you.

Simply go to the page, and you’ll be presented with a free list of gay, lesbian, and gay-friendly agents who can help you with your relocation as well as other useful information like LGBT+friendly schools, shopping, storage firms, tradesmen, and more. Read the biographies of LGBT real estate agents, then choose the one who is right for you. It’s critical that you find someone who will be by your side and support you and your family during one of life’s most exciting occasions.

Even better, there is no hidden motive, cost, or obligation whatsoever!

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