A year or two ago a flurry of press and even jokes on Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon about a Billion Dollar retirement community in Florida was all over the place. It was going to be made by Jimmy Buffet based upon his most tropical and relaxing songs.

If you bought into your own piece of the dream with a home of your own you can eat a Cheeseburger in Paradise every day while Jimmy Buffet would play the occasional show in your community by the pool. Pretty cool concept, so now that it is actually partially done and many residents are living there full time how did it turn out?

The simple answer is they did a great job. The community buildings, features, and home exteriors look as good as Disney might do on their property. They made it look like the ultimate dream come true for someone that wanted to live in paradise made by Disney.

It appears that they have almost completely sold out of the 3,300 residences so it was a success for Jimmy Buffet and crew. Although unfortunately that success was so high that Daytona Beach and/or Volusia County raised fees and taxes so much on the developer that they decided to not build the 2nd phase of the project with 3,000 more homes. Instead opting to open two more communities about 100 miles away near the beach still. Likely this may get resolved in a year or two and the 3,000 additional homes will be built then, although there is no guarantee any further expansion or developer interest for the Daytona location will return. They seem to be arguing over who will pay to widen the 2 lane bridge to four lanes. It’s a simple bridge over a small quiet river but must be wider if 3,300 more home are built because this bridge is used to get to everything except driving to Orlando the other direction.

So now that it is largely a resident controlled HOA what is life like there?

It’s a 55+ community meaning that the deed holder can only sell to a new owner that is 55+. There are no restrictions on family age, and it’s not clear if you can rent to someone under 55+, but it isn’t going to be common because of the HOA dues.

The HOA dues range widely from $1,000 to $2,000 per month for a super low maintenance lifestyle which may or may not include some food and heath services on site. It’s not clear if this is part of the HOA.

Can you still get a home in this paradise community? Sure, it’s 3,300 homes in a HOA in Florida, and homes aren’t expensive, with some resales at around $200k.

One fun bonus is they have a clubhouse & bar on the beach just for residents. The main community is on the other side of I95 from the beach which is almost 5 miles or so from the beach.

Also Latitude Margaritaville is on a VERY nice road, because Trump build a 3,000 home community across the street about a decade ago, which includes the Golf Course and Clubhouse / Restaurant that the LPGA uses. That is why the road both communities are on is named LPGA Blvd.

If you are serious about buying into this community, this part of Daytona is completely safe, Dunkin / Sams Club / Dave & Busters / Outlet Mall and everything you need is just a half a mile away on the other side of the freeway but you feel completely in paradise in a quiet community on your side of the freeway and it is set back far enough from i95 that almost no one hears the freeway noise if there is any at all.

The closest Wendy’s is really close, but what is cool about this Wendy’s is it is a test kitchen of sorts for them, because the only Wendy’s serving breakfast within 200 miles of Daytona is less than a mile from Latitude Margaritaville. While a new breakfast program is being rolled out nationally for Wendy’s now, this was the only one for about 6 years serving breakfast. They also test other Wendy’s specials only at this location.

Across the street the Trump built community LPGA has a restaurant open to the public that is good enough for Trump himself to entertain people at, and the kitchen serves a regular Prime Rib under $20 special with strong drinks.

Residents can hear the faint noise of the Daytona 500 in the distance on race days and watch the rockets launch from their back yard as the space ships launch down south at the Kennedy Space Center.

The only serious downside is you can’t be in your bath/shower/pool during the frequent summer lightning storms and there are Hurricanes every couple years which will make you evacuate to Orlando or North Carolina. You are far enough away from the beach with modern code homes that hurricane evacuations are optional in your zone, but most people leave the state if they are within 40 miles of the beach.

You can actually live in a Jimmy Buffet song with clubhouse bar by the very nice community pool with a Cheeseburger actually made by Jimmy Buffet and his people.