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Your guide to Cedar Key
All About Cedar Key
Cedar Key is a tiny island city off the west coast of Florida with a population that, at last count, stood under 800. The key spans just 2.1 square miles, with less than one of those miles made up of land. The result: an island community where everything is within walking distance.
Despite its size, Cedar Key is a massive player in Florida’s fishing industry, producing 95 percent of the state’s clams. That means that you can get them fresh from the Gulf here, served up in bowls of creamy clam chowder or fried and garnished with wedges of lemon. Down on Dock Street, you can eat them at restaurants on tall wooden stilts, hovering over the water like vigilant sandpipers.
If you prefer to catch your dinner, there’s a public pier at the south end of town where you can fish for black drum, redfish, and sheepshead in the winter — just watch out for pelicans looking for a free meal.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Cedar Key
Cedar Key is pleasant in winter, hot and humid in summer, and has oysters and clams on the menu year-round. Even in July, when temperatures are at their hottest, afternoon thunderstorms and breezes off the Gulf work together to keep things pleasant. June through November is hurricane season, which can sometimes (but not often) bring on tropical storms. In late October, there’s a seafood festival that celebrates the village’s fishing heritage with live music, arts and crafts, and plenty of seafood. Mid to late March is the best time to spot dolphins and horseshoe crabs off the shore near Cedar Key condo rentals. The Cedar Key Arts Festival takes place around this time as well, filling 2nd Street with fine art from the key and beyond.
Top things to do in Cedar Key
Cedar Key Museum State Park
Cedar Key Museum State Park offers a peek into the vast history the area has seen and survived — civil conflict, railroad expansion, and even nearly getting taken out by a hurricane in the late 1800s. You can check out all of the relics and home goods preserved during your visit and learn how this small island city became the lovely beach getaway it is today.
Atsena Otie Key
When Cedar Key was first established, it was built on Atsena Otie Key, a barrier island three miles away from the town’s current location. While little remains of the settlement today, it’s a great, secluded place to hike or scan for birds among the ruins.
A kayak, a pole, and a bit of shrimp bait are all you need to jump in on Cedar Key’s fishing scene. With patience and luck, you can reel in everything from redfish to speckled trout. Both kayaks and gear rentals are available at the Cedar Key Fishing Pier.