NAS Key West is located on Boca Chica Key. The Key West area includes some of the best scenery in the country. You get beautiful sunsets every night and just as beautiful sunrises each morning. These are some of the perks of living near Near US Naval Air NAS Key West is located on Boca Chica Key. The Key West area includes some of the best scenery in the country. You get beautiful sunsets every night and just as beautiful sunrises each morning. These are some of the perks of living near Near US Naval Air Local Guide

Best Family Neighborhoods Near US Naval Air Force Base in Key West FL

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The Key West area includes some of the best scenery in the country. You get beautiful sunsets every night and just as beautiful sunrises each morning. You also get refreshing breezes, warm, tropical weather all year round, and can feel like you are a decent distance from some hustle and bustle of inland Florida, and really the rest of the country.

As military postings go, NAS Key West isn’t too bad. Located on Boca Chica Key, it includes a naval air station and military airport. The base provides year-round training for combat aircraft and is also the home to the Joint Agency Task Force-East, which focuses on narcotic smuggling.

It’s considered fairly small, at least by military standards, with typically about 1,600 active duty personnel and 1,300 civilian personnel on staff at any time. But it still includes its own golf course and other amenities that are designed to maximize enjoyment of the natural environment.

Plus, there’s plenty to do in the area when you’re off duty, including fishing, bicycling, and getting out on a boat and enjoying the wonderful water.


Typically, bases can provide housing for guests, temporary visitors who are there for training, or unaccompanied military members. Couples or families from the USAF or other branches who are part of the staff are often encouraged to find suitable off-base housing. Some people in the area for a longer duration of a class also might consider renting a place in town.

At NAS Key West, however, there are off-campus options for couples and families as well as on-base housing options in different neighborhoods and different sized homes, based on rank. This service is provided through Balfour Beatty Communities, a private company.

For those who still want to find their own place, some of the recommended nearby neighborhoods especially recommended for military families include:

1. New Town

A quiet and modern part of the greater Key West community, is popular with tourists but is also considered a welcoming place for residents. Along with many of the area’s popular hotels and restaurants, there are a variety of private homes nearby plus easy access to shops (the grocery kind as well as the tourist/souvenir type). Also called MidTown, the neighborhood includes open water areas. Some of the homes are historic and can include pools, large lots and enclosed gardens. Because it’s in the center of the Lower Keys, it’s easy to reach other communities too.

2. Sunset Marina

An ideal place for families, especially those new to the area trying to find an ideal place eventually. The private condominium complex includes community areas such as a pool, boat slips or clubhouse. The condos all have views of the water and some residents can have their own boat slips. They are available for short- or long-term rental.

3. Casa East

Also called Casa Marina, this part of the Keys is considered to be a little more laid back. It’s near the Old Town community, which has a lot of shops and attractions, but also has homes that are larger than many other ones in the area. They provide a bit of privacy, but there are also biking and walking trails. Plus, this area also provides easy access to “Dog Beach,” a unique beachside dog park that’s popular with area pooches as well as their people.

4. Smathers Beach

Whatever your family size is, you’ll find something for them at Smathers Beach. The area is the most diverse in terms of housing options, including several sizes of homes, condos and apartments. Interestingly, it’s one of the few communities that offer beachfront access. It is also home to the Key West Beach Club, a private facility that includes plenty of services for members and their families.

5. Bahama Village

Some call this community “The Real Key West” since it seems to have either resisted or at least done its very best to avoid much of the massive development that covered the Key West area in the last few decades. It’s considered one of the older enclaves in the area, originally settled by immigrants from the Bahamas as early as the 1400s and later in the late 1800s. There’s definitely a pleasant multicultural vibe taking place here, which can be seen in everything from a wide array of restaurants to many locally-owned shops. Bahama Village is also one of the more colorful communities in the greater Key West region, with plenty of homes painted white, canary yellow, or Caribbean blue. Some of the homes are new but most are restored originals, which adds to the area’s heritage and overall sense of history. Residents looking for fun activities in and around Bahama Village are encouraged to play in the water or visit the Key West Lighthouse, which is now a museum that includes original 19th century furnishings in the lighthouse keeper’s room.

6. Big Pine and Lower Keys

Sometimes, a little distance is a good thing. Even though it’s not too far, mileage-wise, from the rest of the Keys and NAS Key West, this area feels pleasantly remote for those who want to call this area home. It could be a perfect place to live, especially if you’re a wildlife fan. It’s considered one of the more diverse Keys for populations of land and water animals, including being known as one of the last remaining homes for the endangered Key deer. Some of them can still be seen running free, but the bulk of this special species of deer can usually be found at the Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge. The Looe Key Marine Sanctuary also lets divers see plenty of rare and unique fish up close and personal. Divers and hikers also might want to check out a blue hole, which is a unique and deep sinkhole in the middle of the water that has a center of fresh water in it above the saltwater. Although there are natural blue holes that can be found in other parts of the world, this one was actually manmade when workers were digging rocks for the highway. Even if you aren’t a diver, you can still observe the sinkhole from some of the floating platforms along some of the hiking trails. The key is named after a surrounding pine forest, which is another unique geographic feature of this part of the world. It’s also easy to access some of the smaller, more remote keys from here.

7. Historic Seaport

Even in the late 19th century when the area was beginning to boom, ship captains recognized that this particular Key was optimally-shaped for docking ships of all sizes. It’s still a common place for docking and has also turned into a thriving community known for its shops, artists, restaurants, and easy access to watersports. Historic Seaport officials have worked hard to maintain a historical look and feel, which could be enjoyable for year-round residents who want to be part of a unique community. It includes a notable harbor walk surrounding the Key West Bight Marina, which can be found right in the middle of the historic district. Seaport is also home to a unique cultural celebration: the annual recognition of the founding of the Conch Republic. In the early 1980s, the area was blockaded by the U.S. Border Patrol as part of a massive crackdown on drug smuggling and human smuggling. Unhappy city leaders at the time decided that since they were being treated like they were a foreign country, they may as well form their own government. Although the actual secession movement didn’t go much further than raising an official Conch Nation flag over the bar/capitol and throwing some stale bread at nearby Coast Guard boats in protest, residents are still proud of taking their short stand. The anniversary is humorously celebrated each April.

8. Old Town

This area was originally home to Key West’s first warehouses and docks, and then later became where the owners of these establishments decided to build their own homes, especially around the turn of the 20th century. Many of these homes are still intact or at least have been renovated over the years to continue standing and looking impressive. These homes are generally called “architecturally diverse,” from small but sound shotgun-style cabins to larger Greco-Roman-style mansions. Each home seems to have unique stories surrounding it, and some even claim to be haunted. Even residents who live here often enjoy playing tourist, since there are all sorts of stories to be learned about the area’s history. Some tales can be picked up by visiting various museums, but there are also a series of narrated trolley rides around the community that share even more interesting tidbits about the area’s incredibly interesting heritage. The area also serves as a perfect bridge between “newer” and “older” Key West, especially since Duval Street, a main road, passes through it on the way to New Town. Old timers disagree on the specific technical borders of Old Town and the rest of Key West, but agree it generally takes up about half the island.

The military, various military support organizations, or the base Housing Office and Relocation Office can assist with some of the details about where to live and how to move properly, but it helps if you have an idea of what you’re looking for – or if you already have somewhere in mind.

School options

Unfortunately, NAS Key West doesn’t have its own Department of Defense school on base like some bases do. This means that students in military families can access several private and public schools or receive homeschooling. The area is served by the Monroe County School District and includes a total of 14 schools and about 8,000 students. There are three public high schools, one middle school, five elementary schools plus several charter schools.

Many of these are on separate keys, which makes it convenient for those who choose to live close to the base but on a different island. Most of the communities closest to the base live in the Lower Keys areas, a roughly 20-mile stretch from Sugarloaf Key to Key West.

Families on base can apply for a lottery to attend Sigsbee Charter School, which has limited enrollment for grades K-8. There’s also a Montessori Elementary Charter School for parents seeking a school with this sort of unique structure.

Military families seeking private options can attend the Basilica School of Saint Mary Star of the Seal, a Catholic school which teaches pre-K through eighth grade, and Grace Lutheran School, which offers pre-K through fourth grade.

A variety of child care programs are also available for families with children younger than school age.

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