A Romantic Weekend Getaway in Cedar Key

Asoka Elon

Cedar Key Florida - Corner of G Street and 2nd Street with gulf water, rocks, palm trees, and a tropical home

Discovering hidden gems collectively is such a deal with, and a good way to deliver you nearer collectively. I’ve spent 30 years going to Cedar Key, Florida with my household, and now that I’ve a household of my very own, I like bringing them there. For a slower tempo of life, there is no place higher in Florida. As a result of life is a lot less complicated right here, it may be simple to miss all of the issues to do in Cedar Key. Apart from tasty native eating places, you may discover cultural experiences which are enriching, plus a lot of out of doors actions like fishing, kayaking, and biking. Learn on for every little thing you must plan a weekend getaway to Cedar Key.

All photographs by Dani Meyering

Is Cedar Key value visiting?

Let me prevent a while. In the event you choose fashionable seashore locations with luxurious resorts, fantastic eating, and nonstop motion, Cedar Key is just not for you. As an alternative, think about one in every of these Summer season Day Journeys from Orlando.

Nevertheless, should you’re trying to decelerate together with your honey and revel in a little bit of Outdated Florida, then Cedar Secret’s for you. This charming island is comparatively small and has a small-town really feel. A lot of the properties on Cedar Key are trip properties. You may see loads of properties on stilts which helps with hurricane measures. The few residents that do really reside on the island full time are largely native enterprise house owners. You may typically encounter pleasant service from smiling locals who’re joyful to have guests on the island.

Cedar Key History plaque
Cedar Key Historical past plaque

What’s extra, this island is teeming with unimaginable Florida wildlife. Within the morning your ears will fill with birdsong – together with that of ospreys – although the occasional airboat heading out to gather the day’s seafood bounty might be heard too. At evening a spectacular view of the celebrities will take your breath away.

Vital tip: Since all the companies are regionally run, a lot of them have restricted hours. Some companies are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, which make for good days of the week to get pleasure from some quiet time. Monday and Tuesday additionally occur to be the times of the week that the UF Nature Coast Discovery Heart is open for guests.

Cedar Key Eating places

Get these style buds prepared for some down-home cooking. You will not discover a single fast-food joint or nationwide model chain restaurant anyplace on the island. Each Cedar Key restaurant is a small enterprise, run by the locals.

For just a few years, the restaurant scene struggled. Fishing laws made it very costly to have recent, native seafood. Then the staffing and provide chain points everybody across the nation is experiencing definitely impacted small city Cedar Key.

I’m joyful to report that there are many implausible eating places in Cedar Key. The wonderful thing about this Outdated Florida island is how informal it’s. No must pack something fancy to put on in your getaway. Informal island put on is the place it is at.

When eating at Cedar Key, remember the fact that issues transfer slower right here. And hours are topic to vary. Double-check every restaurant’s web site for hours, and name forward too if crucial.

That are the most effective eating places in Cedar Key?

With every Cedar Key restaurant being a neighborhood small enterprise, there’s actually no unhealthy selection for eating. Nevertheless, after years of visits, these are my favorites and the most effective eating places in Cedar Key. It is very important notice that plant-based eating and people with particular dietary wants might have issue discovering appropriate choices at this small city.

83 West
Location: 310 Dock St, Cedar Key, FL 32625 (first flooring)
Greatest for: Unbelievable views on the water, informal seafood, nightlife

Probably the most iconic constructing on the island, on the very fringe of Dock Avenue, is dwelling to 2 eating places. 83 West is the informal spot, nice for lunch or a brilliant relaxed dinner. 83 West takes up the primary flooring of the constructing and has open-air home windows so that you can sit, sip your chilly drink, and look out over the water with an unobstructed view.

Sundown is difficult to beat as you watch fishing boats come again in from the day’s adventures. And should you’re fortunate sufficient chances are you’ll spot some dolphins making their method by way of the water. Get the Fried Shrimp, Fish Dip, or Redfish – all of that are a few of my favourite seafood in all the state of Florida.

83 West Restaurant Cedar Key
83 West Restaurant Cedar Key

29 North at 83 West
Location: 310 Dock St, Cedar Key, FL 32625 (second flooring)
Greatest for: Panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico, elevated eating, craft cocktails

For a bit added romance, head upstairs to 29 North. Right here the menu is elevated and a few of the greatest meals in Cedar Key. The eating room has a wood vaulted ceiling and floor-to-ceiling home windows that afford panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico and neighboring islands. In the event you love seafood then check out the choices from the Uncooked Bar. My go-to order is the Bacon-Wrapped Scallop Kabobs and a Backyard Salad (which is very large and recent). In the event you go to when there is a chill within the air then the Seafood Bisque is a should. You should save room for Key Lime Cake.

Steamers
Location: 420 Dock Avenue, Cedar Key, FL 32625
Greatest for: Informal meals, tropical drinks

The epitome of a seashore city restaurant, Steamers is the place to go for informal meals and tropical drinks. This can be a fashionable spot, day and evening, because of its approachable meals, and prime location in the course of Dock Avenue. This isn’t the place for fantastic eating, however you may simply get your fill from a menu that’s equal elements stuffed with seafood, but in addition loads of selections for landlubbers.

Steamers Clam Bar and Grill Cedar Key
Steamers Clam Bar and Grill Cedar Key

2nd Avenue Cafe
Location: 434 2nd Avenue, Cedar Key, FL 32625
Greatest for: greatest breakfast on the island, lunch sandwiches

In the event you one way or the other want a break from seafood otherwise you’re prepared for a scrumptious and hearty breakfast, head on over to 2nd Avenue. Whereas Dock Avenue is the principle hub of exercise on the island, 2nd Avenue is correct subsequent door with just a few nice spots for procuring and eating. 2nd Avenue Cafe is run by the identical people as Steamers. This cafe focuses on easy home-cooked meals for breakfast and lunch. Their Three Egg Omelets will fill you up and your candy tooth shall be glad with their Stuffed Waffle. For lunch, my go-to is their Shrimp Basket – grilled, with a aspect salad, and their French Dip is divine.

The Prickly Palm
Location: 8030 D St, Cedar Key, FL 32625
Greatest for: cute espresso home vibes, healthful choices together with plant-based

As somebody who’s been visiting Cedar Key for 30 years, this newish espresso store stopped me in my tracks. The intense pink exterior, with an previous canoe for an indication and treasured crops all over the place, are simply made for Instagram. The Prickly Palm is often solely open till 2pm because it focuses on breakfast and lunch favorites starting from specialty espresso drinks to smoothies and bowls which embrace loads of plant-based choices. Their breakfast sandwiches are satisfying from morning till the afternoon. Canine are welcome within the exterior space.

Smoothie from The Prickly Palm Cedar Key
Smoothie from The Prickly Palm Cedar Key

Island Lodge Restaurant
Location: 373 2nd Avenue · Cedar Key, Florida 32625
Greatest for: Historic ambiance, elegant menu and wine record, neat bar

This historic resort is a landmark of Cedar Key. For a romantic date evening it’s a must-do. The menu is small, however mighty, essentially the most elegant on the island. For a real native taste, order the Clam Island Pasta made with clams caught within the native waters. The Fish En Papillote is scrumptious and recent, together with your selection of native fish topped with spinach, solar dried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese then baked in  parchment paper.

Date Night time Concepts: As you might need guessed, the nightlife at Cedar Key is just not as amped up as locations like Key West and different big-time locations. Nonetheless, there are fairly a lot of watering holes to fulfill your thirst. One among my favourite bars is definitely a pictures studio. Bonish Studio served up drinks and chilly beer inside their quirky pictures studio on 2nd Avenue. Additionally on 2nd Avenue is the Island Lodge which isn’t solely historic however stated to be haunted. The small bar simply off the foyer is filled with character.

Catch the sundown: My two favourite spots to observe the sundown are alongside the small seashore on G Avenue, and the Low Key Hideaway on Freeway 24. The Low Key Hideaway serves as a motel, an RV tenting spot, and residential to a tiki bar that pulls individuals from throughout. The Low Key Tiki Bar is a must-visit for {couples} on a romantic getaway. There’s reside music on the weekends, craft cocktails made to order, and killer sundown views – together with from a dock that juts out into the gulf. This venue is 21 and up, making it a terrific spot for {couples}. Simply watch out about parking, particularly getting again to your automobile after darkish since parking is alongside busy freeway 24.

Low Key Tiki Bar Cedar Key
Low Key Tiki Bar Cedar Key

Issues to do in Cedar Key

The perfect factor to do at Cedar Key? Loosen up. Our fashionable lives transfer a lot quicker than they need to and a go to to Cedar Secret’s the proper alternative to decelerate.

However, in case you are searching for issues to do in Cedar Key, there isn’t any scarcity of Outdated Florida enjoyable.

  • go kayaking
  • pier fishing
  • guide a ship tour
  • view native artwork
  • hire a golf cart or bicycle
  • dine round or pub crawl alongside Dock Avenue
  • Cedar Key State Park Museum
  • Cedar Key Historic Society and Museum
  • Cemetery Level Boardwalk and Park
  • UF Nature Coast Discovery Heart
Cemetary Point Boardwalk - Cedar Key
Cemetary Level Boardwalk – Cedar Key

What’s Cedar Key identified for?

Cedar Secret’s in the beginning a fishing island. Whether or not you seize a pole and head for one of many piers, or should you guide a constitution, you are certain to have a fortunate catch. Plus, you may be in good firm as clammers catch their bounty on daily basis. Cedar Secret’s the biggest producer of farm-raised clams within the state of Florida!

Tony’s Seafood Restaurant is legendary for its award-winning clam chowder. Though the recipe is New England impressed, many locals and guests think about it to be a style of Cedar Key.

There’s the principle metropolis pier for fishing, situated on Dock Avenue, you’ll be able to’t miss it. That is the most well-liked spot to go fishing. The second hottest fishing spot is The #4 Bridge Boat Ramp & Fishing Pier which is definitely on the entrance to the island. The fish and the views listed below are a lot totally different than from the principle pier on Dock Avenue.

Apart from fishing and clams, this area is thought for its laidback life-style. It’s untouched by the everyday chain companies which have homogenized a lot of our nice state. It has a novel small-town allure that I hope at all times stays.

Does Cedar Key have a seashore? The place are you able to swim?

There’s really just one major seashore on Cedar Key. The Metropolis Park on the finish of 2nd Avenue serves many functions. Right here you may discover a playground, basketball courtroom, picnic pavilions, restrooms, and the seashore. Keep in mind, it is a small island, so the principle seashore might not be as huge as what you take into consideration.

Nonetheless, there’s loads of sand and loads of room to arrange some chairs and towels for a while on the seashore. That is the place you’ll be able to splash round and swim within the Gulf of Mexico.

Is the water clear at Cedar Key FL?

Though many seashores on the Gulf of Mexico are identified for the gorgeous clear water, such is just not the case right here. Cedar Secret’s only a few miles away from the Suwannee River which deposits a lot of minerals into the Gulf. This results in the water being a bit murky. It is nonetheless completely good for a swim, kayaking, and different out of doors enjoyable.

Kayaks at City Beach Cedar Key
Kayaks at Metropolis Seaside Cedar Key

Hire a Golf Cart or Bicycles

Cedar Secret’s a walkable island, with every little thing shut by. Nonetheless if you wish to see the island in its entirety you are able to do so by renting a bicycle or golf cart. Actually, golf carts are the chosen methodology for getting across the island – each by guests and locals. With a golf cart you’ll be able to benefit from the breeze in your hair as you drive across the island. I like to recommend heading out to the airstrip. It might take a while earlier than you see any small planes coming or going, however the drive to this aspect of the island is value it. You may encounter stunning views and intriguingly colourful properties.

Rental corporations embrace:

Faraway Inn and G Street Cedar Key
Faraway Inn and G Avenue Cedar Key

Boat Excursions

Exploring the island itself is certain to create a lot of romantic reminiscences collectively. However there are much more reminiscences to be made by getting on a ship and seeing the island from the water, in addition to seeing a few of the neighboring islands. Getting out on the water is a should. You may see a lot of nature’s wonders throughout you. You may even see some dolphins!

Are you able to scallop in Cedar Key?

Whereas there’s loads of boating enjoyable available, scalloping at Cedar Key is just not as considerable as close by areas. Scallops develop in grassy areas in shallow water. This island is healthier for fishing, clams, and oysters. The Homosassa and Crystal River areas are the place you need to head for a scalloping journey.
Discover all there’s to learn about Scalloping Season from one in every of our sister publications, TampaBayParenting.com.

Kayaking in Cedar Key

Whether or not you hire a kayak or deliver alongside your personal, kayaking at Cedar Secret’s a very fashionable exercise. Because the island is within the Gulf of Mexico, away from any busy locations, it’s simple to get pleasure from a relaxing kayak journey. There are many barrier islands and shallow waters dwelling to all kinds of Florida wildlife. Very first thing within the morning or about an hour earlier than sundown are nice instances to doubtlessly catch some glimpses of dolphins within the water.

Fashionable kayak launch spots:

Looking back at the downtown area of Cedar Key from the airport side
Trying again on the downtown space of Cedar Key from the airport aspect

Cedar Key State Park Museum

Head out to the quieter a part of the island to discover a quaint state park museum and be taught in regards to the historical past of Cedar Key. The Cedar Key State Park Museum is barely open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, however it’s a spotlight of issues to do in Cedar Key. You may discover displays all through the 18 acre grounds earlier than heading inside for quite a lot of displays. The displays at the moment are classic examples from the Fifties to Sixties by the College of Florida design group, which on the time developed quite a few shows for state parks. This provides a novel alternative not solely to be taught in regards to the historical past of the world, but in addition to understand the unimaginable craftsmanship that went into these museum shows.

In the event you simply cannot get sufficient historical past then add the Cedar Key Historic Society and Museum to your itinerary. This museum is run by passionate locals eager to protect the historical past and assist guests find out about this particular island. It is just open just a few hours per day, and closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so plan forward.

Make a cease on the close by Cedar Keyhole Artists Co-op and Gallery too!

Cedar Key Nationwide Wildlife Refuge

The Cedar Keys Nationwide Wildlife Refuge was established in 1929 by President Herbert Hoover to guard a breeding floor for colonial nesting migratory birds. The Refuge itself encompasses a number of islands that neighbor Cedar Key. The newest addition is Atsena Otie Key which is the closest island to populated Cedar Key. You may see Atsena Otie Key from Dock Avenue and G Avenue (my favourite avenue to observe sundown).

Taking a ship tour or hopping into some kayaks will allow you to see these protected islands as shut as attainable.

Atsena Otie Key as seen from Cedar Key
Atsena Otie Key as seen from Cedar Key

Cedar Key Lodges

Being a small island there are not any main accommodations right here. As an alternative, you may discover charming cottages, motels, and many condos and trip properties. In the event you choose a resort or motel setting versus a trip dwelling listed below are some choices:

The Island Place Cedar Key
The Island Place Cedar Key

Are any accommodations pet-friendly?

Cedar Key itself is a good pet-friendly vacation spot. With the slower tempo of life comes a spot that welcomes your pup with open arms. There are a selection of pet-friendly lodging together with Faraway Inn, Cedar Key Mattress and Breakfast, Parrot Cove Cottages, and Seahorse Touchdown Condos.

Mattress and Breakfast and Trip Properties

You may discover quite a lot of trip properties throughout the island. And the excellent news is, with the island being comparatively small, there’s actually not a foul location to be discovered. All of the eating places and procuring boutiques are within the Dock Avenue and 2nd Avenue areas. So should you’re looking trip properties to hire, search for addresses with decrease avenue numbers like 2nd Avenue in addition to decrease alphabet streets, like D Avenue and G Avenue.

Cedar Key Mattress and Breakfast in addition to Island Lodge Cedar Key supply mattress and breakfast service. Every has charming settings which are nice for {couples}. The Island Lodge is historic and is alleged to be haunted so chances are you’ll wish to chat about whether or not or not such a factor is of curiosity to you.

Cedar Key Bed and Breakfast
Cedar Key Mattress and Breakfast

The place is Cedar Key Florida situated?

Cedar Secret’s fairly removed from most main cities. Gainesville is the closest main metropolis, which is about 50 miles, or an hour away. This can be a true getaway. It’s 135 miles north of Tampa, or about 3 hours’ drive away. Orlando can be 135 miles away.

The drive from Orlando takes about 2.5-3 hours, relying on site visitors and the chosen route. I choose to take the scenic route, partly on State Street 40 by way of Ocala to see the horse farms and different Outdated Florida magnificence. Cedar Secret’s tucked out of the best way, however that’s a part of its allure, and it’s an pleasant place to go to

The closest main airports are Tampa and Orlando, there’s a regional airport in close by Gainesville. There’s really an airstrip on the island the place many small aircraft lovers land. That is one other enjoyable factor to do on the island, take a fast journey over to the island’s “airport” and see the small planes which have made their option to this charming island. The tempo of life is way slower right here, so do not rush something, and plan a lot of time to only benefit from the easy life.

Wish to discover some extra? Take a look at these 7 “Secret” Florida Islands.

A Romantic Weekend Getaway in Cedar Key

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