Cedar Key Aerial View

How to Spend a Great Day in Cedar Key, Florida

Cedar Key, Florida, a hidden gem on the Gulf Coast, has a rich history and beautiful nature. It comes highly recommended on a Florida road trip. We’ve put together a day’s itinerary just for you. So bring your swimsuit, walking shoes, and appetite for seafood. Ready? Let’s go!

About Cedar Key, Florida

Cedar Key, Florida, is an island off the Gulf of Mexico. It’s 150 miles south of Tallahassee. Since it’s in the state’s northern region, temperatures can get cooler in the winter months. It can also have slightly milder temperatures than southern Florida in the summer, making it a great year-round destination. 

The small island city has less than 1,000 residents joined by visitors seeking to enjoy the beautiful salt marshes and coastline. Artists, writers, and other creators come from miles around to find inspiration. 

Founded in the 1800s, Cedar Key was the main shipping port for cedar, cypress, pine, rosin, and turpentine. Cedar trees, used to manufacture pencils, were transported north from the busy port. Cue the development of a lighthouse. The pre-Civil War lighthouse has become a popular attraction. In 1860, railroad tracks were laid for trains to haul the cedar.

The town has a tumultuous past, from segregation to natural disasters. Churches and schools were segregated in the early 1900s. Like in many southern towns, this divide set a tone in the community for years to come. In addition, several hurricanes in the town’s early years morphed the physical appearance of the island and its buildings. 

Today, Cedar Key, Florida, is a place of beauty and an unspoiled coastline. Visitors come for fishing, an abundance of fresh seafood, and to get away from city life. You can dine, shop, and relax on the beach. We’ve compiled a list of six of our favorite things to do in Cedar Key. Keep reading to find out what they are.

Get a Classic Breakfast at Annie’s Cafe

Annie’s Cafe has a great menu, but we think their breakfast is the best way to start your day in Cedar Key. The cozy, eclectic, and rugged atmosphere fits in with the Cedar Key environment. You can eat inside or sit on the outdoor porch overlooking a small bayou. 

Website

Address: FL-24 & 6th Street, 609 6th St, Cedar Key, FL 32625

Best Thing on the Menu: The Cedar Key Special Breakfast with mullet, grits, tomato, and a biscuit. 

Take a Walk Around Cemetery Point Park

After breakfast, head to Cemetery Point Park. It has a 1,200-ft boardwalk over water channels. The park provides views of marshes, waterways and serves as a good spot for bird watching. You can also swim, fish, and kayak. It has bathrooms, a picnic shelter, and a playground.

Address: 16050 E Point Rd, Cedar Key, FL 32625

Family walking along the boardwalk trail.

Enjoy a Seafood Lunch at Steamers

You have to try some fresh seafood when in Cedar Key, Florida. Steamers is the perfect place to stop for lunch. Located on the docks with stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico, it provides a memorable atmosphere and delicious food. 

Address: 420 Dock St, Cedar Key, FL 32625

Best Thing on the Menu: The soft shell crab is lightly fried and served on a ciabatta bun.

Take a Kayak Around Cedar Key

Kayaking around Cedar Key is one of the best ways to see the island. Enjoy your afternoon on the water, looking for sea life and more. You’ll find launches at G Street Beach and Cedar Key Marina. And you can rent a kayak if you don’t have your own. Just be sure to watch the weather and tides for the best time to go.

Couple kayaking in the ocean at Cedar Key, Florida.

Enjoy Dinner at Tony’s 

Wind down with dinner on Tony’s patio, located in historic downtown. Tony’s is famous in Cedar Key, Florida, for its clam chowder. You can pick up cans to go to enjoy long after you leave. 

Address: 597 2nd St, Cedar Key, FL 32625

Best Thing on the Menu: Get the Cedar Key Clam Chowder for an appetizer and Tony’s Platter for the main entree. The platter comes with lightly fried shrimp, steamed shrimp, fried fish, oysters, fried clam strips, sea scallops, stuffed blue crab shells, and Cedar Key’s farm-raised clams. 

Take a Sunset Boat Tour

After dinner, take a sunset boat tour. Tidewater tours provide a glimpse around the key. It takes you to the outer islands of the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge. You may even get a chance to see dolphins and various types of birds. It is a one and a half to two-hour trip and costs $35 per person. The time of departure depends on the time of year and weather conditions.

Sunset boat tour guiding tourists.

Next Stop, Cedar Key, Florida

Cedar Key, Florida, provides a fun getaway from the busyness of life. This dreamy location has a lot to offer, from kayaking to delicious seafood. You’ll find lots of relaxing and fun activities the minute you leave the mainland. So we hope you’ll add it to your next Florida road trip route. And if you do, please tag us in some photos. We would love to hear about your experiences.

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