With all of its unique shops and restaurants, as well as plenty of great history and wildlife attractions, Cedar Key contains all of the amenities of a great tourist town without all of the tourists!
This once-small fishing village has gradually turned itself into one of the more popular day-trip locations for Florida residents who have grown tired of overly tourist-focused locations.
Residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills can drive to Cedar Key in about an hour and fifteen minutes by taking US-41 north to Country Road 40 and then US-19 North, then turning left and taking FL-24 all the way to the coast.
The breathtaking views you will see driving from the mainland out to Cedar Key alone make the whole trip worthwhile!
Once you arrive in Cedar Key, you will definitely want to see some of the wonderful historic sites, museums, wildlife preserves and state parks.
There are also great locations for fishing and boating, as well as great small town shopping and restaurants to keep you busy for the day.
Cedar Key Historical Museum
One of your first stops in Cedar Key should be the Cedar Key Historical Museum. Even if you aren’t curious about the interesting history of the island, you will still want to grab all of the visitor information located here to plan the rest of your day.
If you are interested in the history of Cedar Key, this great little museum will walk you through the entire history of the island including Civil War artifacts and brooms made from palmettos.
You will learn all about the town’s storied history with the railroad industry, cedar and palm products, and gulf coast seafood.
Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Preserve
Another popular attraction in Cedar Key is the nine-mile drive through the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Preserve.
As you drive through the preserve, you can expect to see alligators, turkeys, otters, and many different types of birds. You will also want to stop near the Shell Mound Campground to see the 28-foot high mound of ancient shells.
Seahorse Key Lighthouse
Just south of Cedar Key is Seahorse Key, which is home to the Seahorse Key Lighthouse.
This key is only accessible by boat, and the lighthouse is only open on certain days of the year, but there are a number of tour companies in Cedar Key that will either take you past Seahorse Key or allow you to get out and look around the island.
Like everything else in this area, the lighthouse has a storied history including the pivotal role it played in the Second Seminole War and the Civil War.
Shopping in Cedar Key
If shopping is what you are looking for, Cedar Key is perfect for that as well!
Most of the shops are on either Dock Street or Second Street, so that is the best place to start your shopping spree. You will definitely want to check out Cedar Key Canvas, Dilly Dally Gally, The Island Trading Post, and The Salty Needle Quilt Shop.
Dining in Cedar Key
Your long day of history, wildlife, boating, and shopping will probably cause you to work up quite an appetite. That won’t be a problem though, because Cedar Key has an excellent collection of local restaurants.
One of the most popular restaurants in Cedar Key is Tony’s Seafood Restaurant, and they are known for their famous clam chowder.
If you plan to visit Cedar Key more than once, you will also want to try eating at Kona Joe’s Island Cafe, Ken’s Cedar Keyside Diner, and the Big Deck Raw Bar. Each of these restaurants is known for putting out outstanding food accompanied by friendly service.
As you can see, there really is something for everyone in Cedar Key.
And because it is only 75 minutes from the Villages of Citrus Hills, this might be the type of place you find yourself going back to over and over again!