Monroe County, FL FAQs
Is Monroe County, Florida A Good Place to Live?
Monroe County, FL
Monroe County is located in South Florida, and with its total area of 3,738 square miles, it is the Sunshine State’s largest county. Much of the county’s territory though is water which accounts for 73.7 percent or 2,754 square miles of its territory.
The main reason for this sort of oddity is that the chain of islands of the Florida Keys, spreading 126 miles south toward Cuba, are part of Monroe County. The Everglades constitute 87 percent of the county’s acreage on the mainland, but this area is largely uninhabited. This being so, nearly all of Monroe’s population reside in the Florida Keys.
Home Buying Spots
Monroe County was created in 1823 and named after the fifth U.S. President James Monroe, who served 1817‒1825.The island-city of Key West is the county seat and Monroe’s largest city. Other promising destinations in the county for home buyers include Marathon, Key Colony Beach and Layton, as well as the village of Islamorada. Census-designated places in Monroe, like Big Pine Key, Stock Island, Big Coppit Key, Duck Key, and Key Largo, offer home-buying opportunities as well.
Those moving to Monroe County would have to prepare to embrace or at least understand the locals’ distinctive “conch culture.” Locals refer to themselves a conch, a takeoff from the snail native to the Florida Keys and an important element in Monroe’s economy. The hallmarks of the conch culture include an intimate knowledge of the sea, particularly the local waters, and overall, a non-conformist stance to most mainland standards and an openness to alternative lifestyles.
Much of the conch culture revolves around fishing an important economic activity in Monroe Charter fishing and similar tourism-based businesses have grown in importance in the county, overshadowing commercial fishing. Visitors looking for the joys of the sea that Monroe County provides can find rewarding trips not only to Key West but also to Key Largo, Islamorada, and Marathon.
Arts and Culture Strength
Notwithstanding Monroe’s maverick conch character, traditional arts also thrive in the county. Making this possible is the nonprofit agency Florida Keys Council for the Arts serving local communities from Key Largo to Key West. Its operations include running the Monroe County Art in Public Places program as well as other activities promoting arts a part of the daily life in the county’s various islands. Monroe’s academe plays a key role as well, with the county’s primary college education provided by the Florida Keys Community College with its main campus in Key West and additional facilities in Marathon and Key Largo.
Notably too, the island chain of Monroe County is woven as one via the Overseas Highway. Covering the southernmost segment of Highway 1, it runs for 113 miles in a spectacular stretch linking together Monroe’s islands and atolls between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. Also under development as a complement to this highway is the 106-mile, multi-use Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail for bikers and pedestrians that upon completion will link Key West and Key Largo. Two international airports—Key West International and Florida Keys Marathon Airport—serve Monroe County to further sharpen its marketability to home buyers.