Ocean Reef Club, Florida

A Private Resort Community

Iyna Bort Caruso

The private resort community of Ocean Reef Club in the Florida Keys is less than one hour south of Miami International Airport, but for many homeowners, access is even quicker. One of Ocean Reef Club’s many perks is a 4,400-foot airstrip for charter and private planes.

This is the place for aviation enthusiasts, golfers, anglers and just about anyone who favors a life of tropical ease.

Ocean Reef Club is on 2,500 acres on Key Largo, the northernmost key in the chain.

It is set on a peninsula alongside the only living coral barrier reef in North America.

The club started out as a private fishing camp in the 1940s with modest “yachtels”--small dockside cottages for boaters--and evolved into an invitation-only membership-based development with golf, luxury residences and fine amenities. The history of Ocean Reef Club is highlighted in a museum on the premises. Although relatively young, the resort has become a generational retreat for many families.

Ocean Reef features two 18-hole championship courses. Golfers at the Hammock course, named for the hardwood hammock trees, play among rare plant species since part of the course is in a wildlife sanctuary. The Dolphin course is known for its generous fairways and scenic design that winds past native trees.

Ocean Reef offers “clubs within the club” that cover art, yachting, gardening, flying--more than a dozen in all. Opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing charters are in abundance. Over the years, its ever-expanding range of activities and resources has made it an attractive to year-rounders. Health and wellness not only comes in the form of an 8,000-square-foot spa and fitness center but in a fully staffed medical center. A cultural center seats 300 for movies, performances, lectures and receptions, while shops and restaurants give residents a reason to stay local. There’s even a school, from preschool to 8th grade.

Property owners at Ocean Reef enjoy maintenance-free, waterfront living, with a choice of luxury condominiums, waterfront estates, golf course residences and boat slips for yachts up to 175 feet.