Key West, the most famous of the Florida Keys, is in the thick of recovery from Hurricane Irma Damage, with some restaurants and hotels already in full swing and others coming back online almost daily as repairs are completed. In the interim, a number of entrepreneurial boat owners have joined the growing number of colleagues turning their boats into Airbnb and HomeAway options for anybody who needs a basic room or two.

Perform an initial search for "Key West" on the Airbnb site, you'll quickly discover that "boats for stay" are a new and popular vacation trend.



The idea is pretty simple (and meshes beautifully with current trends in “tiny living”): Instead of paying through the nose for ashore, sleep on a boat at the marina, sometimes with full access to all marina services and amenities.

For instance: This Catalina sailboat takes two guests at $269 a night, marina slip included. It’s at a marina about 3 miles from Key West International Airport and provides basic hotel-style amenities such as WiFi and shuttle buses to grocery stores, nightlife and more.



This Hunter sailboat is another example. At $186 per night, it has two staterooms and a shared bathroom (think: family with kids) and includes use of the marina pool, gym, restaurant and shuttle. There’s even access to the marina’s laundry facilities for business travelers on the go who don’t want to deal with hotel dry cleaning.



And while Airbnb and HomeAway may be the websites that are best known for these types of options, an entire website, SleepAfloat.com, is based on this type of boat-as-hotel concept. Key West is one of four locations it offers, with boats at Harbour Yacht Club, Safe Harbour Marina and Stock Island Marina Village (and all the amenities they offer).

If you decide to search the listings on any of these sites, make sure you know what you’re getting, in terms of boat-only or boat-plus-marina amenities. And if you’re interested in taking a day cruise too, then look to book a boat that offers overnight stays as well as cruises. Check the references with previous guests, and set your sails for Florida Keys fun.

And just maybe, just maybe, if you're sick of the hustle-and-bustle of life, ready to throw in the towel and retire to a life of relaxation, a good place to start might be discovering what exactly it takes to live on a boat—learn more in Living on a Houseboat.

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