© 2024 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ever dreamed of a place on the water in the Florida Keys? Now's your chance

A reef lighthouse in the Florida keys.
General Services Administration
Sombrero Light, off Marathon, is one of three reef lighthouses up for auction by the federal government

If you've ever dreamed of having a place in the Keys, on the water, with no neighbors nearby, this might be your chance.

But be warned: these places need some fixing up. Millions of dollars' worth of fixing up.

The federal government has put three of the historic reef lights in the Keys up for auction. CarysfortLight is about six nautical miles off Key Largo in the Upper Keys. Sombrero KeyLight is about 7 miles off Marathon, in the Middle Keys. And American Shoal Lighthouse is six miles off Sugarloaf Key, in the Lower Keys.

The bidding closes on April 22 for Carysfort, April 29 for Sombrero and May 6 for American Shoal.

The lighthouses were built on the reef in the mid-19th century, to warn ships away from the Keys reef. All three are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They're currently listed at $15,000 each.

They have quarters built into the structure, where the lighthouse keepers used to live.

Recent inspections found each of the lighthouses is in fair condition. But they need some work. Between $2.2 million (for Carysfort) and $2.8 million (for Sombrero).

The structures themselves are the only parts that will be conveyed — not the underlying submerged land. They're located within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Last year the federal government agreed to convey another Keys light, Alligator Reef off Islamorada, to an Islamorada nonprofit which is working to restore it.

a lighthouse on the florida keys reef
General Services Administration
Carysfort Lighthouse, off Key Largo, was first lit in 1852 and served as a navigational aide until 2015.

Nancy Klingener was WLRN's Florida Keys reporter until July 2022.
More On This Topic