Our Steal: Sally Stribling with Coldwell Banker Schmitt Key Largo has listed 36 S. Blackwater Lane, Key Largo, Florida for $839,900.

Crystal blue waves, umbrella drinks on the beach, the soothing calm of an ocean breeze – Key Largo has everything you need for one epic vacation retreat. As the self-proclaimed dive capital of the world, Key Largo, Florida, is a mecca for watersports and outdoor recreation. Here, snorkeling, diving, and tropical bevvies are the highlight of every day. And if we are being totally honest, this week’s Splurge vs. Steal has us ready to get there fast and take it slow.

Which would you choose, the golfer’s paradise splurge or the seaside waterfront steal? We can’t wait to hear which one is your fave.


Crane Island, Amelia Island, Florida.

Nestled on Florida’s Eastern seaboard sits Crane Island – an island within an island in Nassau County on the western shore of Amelia Island, just off the Intracoastal Waterway. Known for its 185-scenic-acres and pesky sand gnats, it’s also the site of a mysterious disappearance dating back 65 years.

Today, developers have bigger plans for Crane Island, including 113 homes ranging from $1 to $3 million. But how will the mystery of Crane Island’s most famous resident affect its sales? Now offering deep-water access, direct Intracoastal Waterway lots, and marsh-view homesites, there’s a lot to unpack at Crane Island. Here, we dip into a bit of Crane Island history and give you a glimpse into its future, courtesy of Crane Island’s own John Hillman, vice president of sales and marketing for the Florida development that has everyone talking.


Watersound Origins Village Commons. All photos courtesy of Watersound Origins

Watersound Origins Village Commons (Photos: courtesy of Watersound Origins)

If renting a house at the beach  is your family vacation tradition, chances are good you are on your way, at, or planning a trip soon to the Florida Panhandle.  As Candy Evans noted in an earlier report this month, the region encompassing Destin, Panama City Beach, and South Walton is the second largest vacation rental ownership market in the country, and for good reason.

Snow white sand beaches, sea oat-covered dunes, pine forests, wetlands, and coastal dune lakes along the Scenic Coastal Highway 30A corridor of  the “Emerald Coast,” as it’s known, make for a wonderland of outdoor recreational activities in stunning natural beauty. But, especially if you are a regular, the problem with staying in touristy housing is that, well, everyone there is a tourist.

Not so three miles inland of South Walton Beach at the residential development Watersound Origins, which has just announced the opening of its second phase. Short-term rentals are banned here — it’s a community dedicated to those with a permanent commitment in mind.  And what does it have to offer? Jump to see … (more…)