Cedar Key is a true original and hard to beat when it comes to “old Florida” charm. Deep island history reflects the resiliency of its residents and rich natural eco-treasures complemented by a quaint rustic vibe make it a destination you won’t soon forget.
Cedar Key does not have the touristy, tropical vibe found throughout Florida. It beats to its own drum and is truly one of our favorite destinations in the Sunshine State simply because of its rustic authenticity.
Fifty miles southwest of Gainesville, Cedar Key would be considered remote even by modern-day standards. Most visitors don’t “happen upon” Cedar Key. To get there, you’ll drive State Road 24 through a thick forest of pine trees passing Otter Creek (population: 132), a small community seemingly in the middle of nowhere. As you near the coast you may want to roll down your car window, admire the scenic marshland, oyster bars and mudflats, and breathe in the salt air from the Gulf of Mexico.
Consisting of a cluster of several islands, the Cedar Keys sit four miles out into the Gulf of Mexico and are connected to the mainland by a causeway crossing a chain of barrier islands. The main island is on Way Key (referred to as Cedar Key). Fishing boats are a common sight … while buoys and crab traps hang over fences and in front yards.