Happy to have this guest post by Mindy on Key West, Florida. Please visit my Duty station guest post page for posts on other locations or more information about how you can write a guest post about where you have been stationed.
Key West, FL. Home of NAS Key West, Coast Guard Sector and JIATF South. You will find every branch of the military here and a diverse group of locals. Living in Key West can be amazing and difficult at the same time. Being here is an adventure, from the gloriously blue waters to the fun animals you will find.
The difficult part will be the expense you will incur. It is not cheap to live here. Most cost effective will be to reside on the installation. Although it will take a majority of you BAH, it is a lot more house than you will be able to afford in the civilian world. Here is a picture of the duplexes you will most likely be living in, unless you are off post or officer. While these seem lovely, they are still over 70 years old and are just now being renovated, but not completely.
For those of you used to large bases, you will not find that here. The island is only 4×2 and consists of a couple of smaller islands that hold the bases.
I can say many things about Key West, since I was born and raised there. I spent approx. 26 years on the island so my knowledge can come in handy. Utilize the base commissary as much as possible except for produce get that at Publix. Our commissary is quite small, most normal bases would call it a mini mart compared to theirs. I have tons of bad and good things to say about the base. Instead I would like to show you the amazing things that can be done on the island.
The adventure awaits…
First, Key West Chickens DO cross the road, Why? Just because they are everywhere.
Dolphin Research Center has so much amazing fun and you can even meet the descendants of the REAL FLIPPER, You can even have one of them pain you a masterpiece.
The ocean life is a miracle. Meet the amazing pod of Manatee that lived behind my house.
Fury Water Adventures has everything from WaveRunners, Parasailing to snorkeling the only living coral reef in the United States
Sunrise from my back yard is something that shouldn’t be missed
And the sunsets are phenomenal.
So at the end of the day, I cannot bash Key West as much as I want to because the experience is amazing. It will test your relationship, your wallet and your sense of time. But in the end, Key West has memories that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
I may never go back there or choose it as my own duty station, however, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Mindy Brewster is the spouse of a Ret Navy Seabee and mother to two beautiful daughters. She is the Brand Ambassador for Military Spouse Magazine and works with military spouses all over the globe find resources they need through her Dear Mindy column. You can reach her at DearMindyMSM@gmail.com