Cedar Key is a tiny city of around 700 people located on the northwest coast of Florida, about 50 miles southwest of Gainesville. The slow pace and laid-back atmosphere of this small town is only matched by its quirky charm and thousands of years of history. If you ask most native Floridians for a list of their favorite small towns, Cedar Key will definitely be on that list, and probably near the top.
Though the town thrives on tourism, it maintains real Old Florida charm.
The tourism industry here is very different from bigger cities in Florida. Fishing, boating and bird-watching are among the most popular activities.
The town's slower pace means a lot of folks choose to use bikes or golf carts to get around.
It's also the perfect town for lots of walking, whether you're strolling through the charming and artsy downtown or taking a trail through one of the wildlife refuges or parks. Pictured here is the Cedar Key Arts Center Sculpture Garden.
For an extra special trip, plan your visit to coincide with one of Cedar Key's lively festivals, held throughout the year. Visit in April for a funky art festival, or in October if your'e a big seafood fan. Pictured here is Cedar Key City Beach.
Kayaking is very popular on Cedar Key. Don't worry if you've never gone kayaking before, there are many places for kayak rental. This is a great place to try it for the first time.
Stop by the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum to learn more about the history of this land, going back thousands of years. For just a few dollars, it's a very nice way to spend an hour.
Aside from tourism, aquaculture (of farm-raised clams) is another huge industry for the town. Cedar Key is locally famous for its clams, and you can find them in fancy restaurants around the region.
This means no visit to Cedar Key is complete without sampling some of their clams.
There are many restaurants in the town where you can get a great clam dish, but if you're looking for "world championship clam chowder," you have to try Tony's Seafood Restaurant.
If you're not necessarily looking for clam chowder, the Blue Desert Cafe has lots of pizza and pasta options, both with and without seafood.
Of course, they do have clams as well, so everyone will be happy.
There are plenty of great places to stay on Cedar Key, but The Island Hotel and The Cedar Key Bed & Breakfast (seen here) are two of the most historic and lovely.
Here is the view inside the Tree House Suite at the Cedar Key Bed & Breakfast. As you can see, it's beautiful and unique, like the town itself.
The perfect room is ready and waiting for your peaceful stay. Rest up, because there's a lot to see in this tiny town!
Have you ever been to Cedar Key? What did you think of this little town? Where did you stay and where did you eat? What were your favorite things to do there? Please leave your comments below!