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Fort Myers, Florida
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Fort Myers, Florida
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Cedar Key, Florida
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Crystal River, Florida
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Ruskin, Florida

Levy County/Cedar Key

Big fun in a small Florida town

A small city in Levy County, Cedar Key has a population of fewer than 1,000, but those numbers are inflated by the high volume of tourists who descend on this region to revel in its natural beauty every year. Cedar Key is a peaceful and charming slice of the Sunshine State, cherished by nature lovers and those who like to take the scenic route in life.

The Key to the Kitchen

Food is a big part of life in Cedar Key, and there is no shortage of places to experience the area’s edible pleasures. For food on the go, drop into Holey Moley, famous for their homemade breakfast biscuits and their boxes of fresh donuts, which you can snack on as you see the sights. Fresh treats are also on the menu at the Bake My Day Bakery and Deli. Grab a cup of strong coffee, some hash browns and some French toast, or pick up a batch of their delicious cupcakes for a sugar fix that is sure to last all morning.

Cedar Key is also home to several pizzerias and delis, including Myra’s Simple Goodness, where Greek and Asian influences converge on a classic American delicatessen to create sandwiches and snacks to die for.

If you’re looking to settle down and enjoy a larger lunch or dinner, try your best to jump the queue at Tony’s Seafood Restaurant. This eatery is a Cedar Key institution, a famous landmark on the culinary map of Levy County. This is 5-star American fare with a Southern twist, and the menu includes Florida favorites such as scallops, fried green beans, fresh oysters, beer-battered clams and, of course, key lime pie. The whole family is welcome at Tony’s, and along with a selection of kids’ meals, they also serve beer and wine.

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Levy County Florida

Scenic Cedar Key

Once you’ve loaded up on carbs, you can head for the outskirts of town to burn off some of those excess calories. Cedar Key is surrounded by the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge, a wet and wonderful wilderness that extends through the county and beyond.

Thirteen islands make up the refuge, and it traces its roots to a United State Army base established in 1839. In 1854, the 28-foot-tall Cedar Keys Light Station was constructed on a 47-foot-high sandhill on Seahorse Key. The sandhill is one of the highest natural elevations on the Florida Gulf Coast, and the lighthouse still stands.

To nature lovers, this is the real Florida, and you can see it on foot or by bicycle. There are also boat rental services available, allowing you to see parts of the refuge that you just can’t see on foot.

Established in 1929, the refuge is home to egrets, nigh herons and roseate spoonbills. Many of the refuge’s areas are closed to public entry between March and June to facilitate the birth and nesting of young birds. After the young have left the nest, the Cedar Keys Refuge staff hosts a free open house on Seahorse Key to help visitors get aquainted with this fascinating habitat. Bring a birding book and see how many species you can identify.

You can also find fishing charters nearby. These will take you out onto the water regardless of the season, lending a helping hand by giving you all the equipment and advice you need to land your own prize catch. If laid-back fishing and casual strolls are what you’re after, then the Shell Mound is ideal. There are some great camping spots here, and with so little light pollution, it’s the ideal location for stargazers to enjoy the night sky.

If your attempts at angling have failed, be sure to drop into Southern Cross Sea Farms when you’re back in town. This is where the best and the freshest seafood is supplied to inhabitants of Cedar Key, and there is always something fresh on offer.

Shop and Sea

Once you’re back in town, you’ll also want to stop by the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum, the town’s biggest attraction and a must for all visitors. Cedar Key may be quaint and humble now, but there was a time when this was a bustling town, and the museum features exhibits and artifacts from this period. Cedar Key was particularly well known for its broom and brush-making industry, and the full history of these is on display, as well as many actual brooms and brushes created by the town’s ancestors.

The museum itself is located in a beautiful period house, and the knowledgeable and friendly staff are always on hand to fill you in on Cedar Key’s more industrious days.

To buy your own piece of Cedar Key’s history, check out Island Thyme Antiques, which is also in the center of town. This is a haven of antiques and oddities, perfect if you’re looking for something unique to remember your trip by, or if you have a good eye for a bargain.

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Levy County Florida

Cedar Key is in a unique location, separated from the rest of the county by a stretch of water and a vast wildlife reserve. This is a modern town, but you can’t escape the feeling that Cedar Key has been isolated from the rest of the country, protected by the advancements of the modern world and left in its own picturesque slice of rural Florida.

For More Information

Levy County Visitors Bureau

877-387-5673

www.visitnaturecoast.com

 

Florida Department of Tourism

888-735-2872

www.visitflorida.com