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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.
- Weather: We would actually recommend visiting in the summer. Yes, it’s hotter, but more importantly less packed… you’ll be able to get rooms at the best inns + dine anywhere sans reservation.
Act like a local:
- Drink: Start your trip off with an iced brew + acai bowl at The Prickly Palm or a classic breakfast at the ever-packed 2nd Street Cafe.
- Eat: The crown jewel of Cedar Key — besides the clams — might be the Neptune Bar at the Island Hotel. The barroom’s walls are decked out in scenes of coastal Florida, and behind the bar King Neptune and mermaids watch as you feast on the heart of palm salad or Redfish. And make sure to sample some clams or oysters. We like the Oysters Rockefeller at Steamers.
- Outdoors: You’ll definitely want to take in the landscape — the ideal way is by boat. Book a ride with Tidewater Tours. Their guides walk you through both the history of the area and the surrounding keys, and point out native wildlife along the way.
- Culture: You can also spend an afternoon checking out the sea life murals, sculptures, and art stores along 2nd Street. Or stop in at the Cedar Key Historical Society & Museum to learn more about the area’s beginnings + browse its impressive selection of Florida history books.
Where to stay:
- Hotel: In our ever-humble opinion, the Cedar Key Bed & Breakfast is the perfect place to stay. Festooned in pinks and greens, the Victorian home was built in 1880 + has kept every ounce of charm. It’s just steps from the shore, and a quick walk from the main drag. We recommend bringing your next great read + enjoying it on the sitting porch.
- Vrbo: If a smaller space is more your style, check out this lovely, historic 2B/1BA cottage* ($195/night) in the heart of downtown.