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Great Escapes: Our guide to Cedar Key, Florida

Planning a getaway? Check out Cedar Key, Florida, an Old Florida fishing village destination ~2 hours from Tampa.

Cedar Key moonlit stroll

There’s not a lot of places to go for a swim in Cedar Key, but you can go for a dip at the City Park or enjoy a nighttime stroll.

Photo by City Editor Bailey

Table of Contents

North Florida’s Cedar Key is a tiny island the size of about two Ybor Cities and has fewer than 900 permanent residents, but it pulls in thousands of visitors throughout the year for its amazing seafood, arts festivals, and fishing.

As a native Floridian, I truly love learning more about our state’s history — and taking in all of its natural beauty. I visited over the summer and highly recommend it, but the fall seafood festival is still on my bucket list, especially the oysters.

Why go?

  • Nothing screams Old Florida quite like Cedar Key. Yes the island is home to incredible fishing and funky artists, but also reminds us of the beauty of slow, outdoorsy Florida living.
  • Every fall, Cedar Key hosts a must-see seafood spectacle, otherwise known as the Cedar Key Lions Seafood Festival. This year the event runs from Oct. 15-16 with incredible, fresh food from local eateries, live music, artists selling their wares and of course, a seafood parade.
  • Don’t miss watching blood hungry pirates take over ye olde fishing village.The Cedar Key Pirate Invasion is a lively show and celebration with seafood, sea shanties and merriment aplenty.
  • History of the Cedar industry, Cedar Key Visitor Guide
cedar key neptune

Artist Helen Tooker painted the notable mural of King Neptune in 1948, according to the Hotel.

Photo by TBAYtoday

Act like a local:

  • Eat: Don’t leave without sampling the local seafood fare, especially the savory, spinach-loaded Oysters Rockefeller at Steamers ($18.99).
  • Drink: The strawberry and pineapple Rosey Spoonbill smoothie at the Prickly Palm is the ultimate summer treat ($7+).
  • Outdoors: Book a ride with Tidewater Tours. The guides walk you through both the history of the area and the surrounding keys, and point out native wildlife along the way ($35).
  • Learn: Stop in at the Cedar Key Historical Society & Museum to learn more about the area’s beginnings and to browse its impressive selection of Florida history books ($3).
  • Listen: Cedar Key is the second oldest city in Florida. Hear more about its wild roots on Ridiculous History: Billy Cottrell, the Tyrant Mayor of Cedar Key, Florida.
  • Explore: The greatest part of visiting this pocket of Florida is taking in the wildlife and sleepy outdoor scenes. Make time for trekking around the Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve and bring binoculars for birdwatching (free).
cedar key bnb

Take in the view of the water and lush Florida greenery from the porch at the Cedar Key Bed & Breakfast.

Photo by TBAYtoday

Where to stay:

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