A Quiet Weekend in Cedar Key

Cedar Key is a tranquil island on the Gulf Coast of Central West Florida. In 2009, Cedar Key received two great honors: it was named the USDA Rural Community for 2009, and was voted the “Best Weekend Getaway” in Florida Monthly Magazine’s Best of Florida competition. Seems like the kind of place you ought to visit, doesn’t it? Cedar Key bed and breakfasts innkeepers are ready to welcome you.
“Key” is derived from the Spanish “Cayo”, meaning small island. Cedar Key is nestled among many such small islands, some of which are uninhabited. Rent a canoe or kayak (or skip the exercise and choose a motorboat) and head out to explore these little treasures. Swimming beaches are scattered here and there on the islands, where picnics can be spread out upon white sands. It’s the perfect activity for a warm, lazy day.

In fact, there is no shortage of activities to do in and around Cedar Key, particularly for folks interested in the outdoors and history. The latter should reserve an afternoon for the Cedar Key Museum State Park, a place full of local artifacts and lore. Then go in search of Shell Mound Park, where you’ll find a prehistoric Indian mound. Finally, a stroll down the historic streets of Cedar Key will take you back in time.

As for outdoor activities, it is hard to know where to start.

The 31,000 acres of Waccasassa Bay State Preserve is a haven for anglers who can’t decide between freshwater and saltwater fishing. The extensive salt marshes and tidal creeks are accessible only by boat, making a quiet spot for birdwatching. Keep an eye out for Florida black bears, American alligators and West Indian manatees, too.

Walk the elevated boardwalks that meander through primordial cypress wetlands in Manatee Springs State Park. Guide a boat through the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge, with binoculars for birding. Or visit Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, a 40,000-acre playground for photographers and wildlife observers.

Of course, you always have the option of just relaxing on the porch of your Central West Florida Bed and Breakfast.

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