Day trips from Cedar Key
Most people come to Cedar Key to relax and enjoy the laid-back lifestyle. If you are itching for something else to do there are a wide variety of things to do nearby. Here is a short-list of activities that can enhance your visit to Cedar Key…
Each title is a link that will take you to their site. I have also included directions from Cedar Key at the end of each title line.
Boat Tours – right here in Cedar Key!
There are a number of boat charters on the island. From charter fishing, to air boat rides, to rides up the Suwannee river, to drop off and pick up services to the various keys, they are very enjoyable trips!
Shell Mound – 15 minutes from Cedar Key – Directions
Just a short drive from Cedar Key, the Shell Mound Unit of Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge is adjacent to Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge. This unique feature was created by archaic period Eastern Woodland Indian cultures by discarding oyster and clam shells they used as a food source. The area was inhabited by this culture for at least 1,000 years from about 450 to 1,800 years ago.
Atsena Otie Key – 20 minute paddle from Cedar Key
Whether an experienced paddler or a newbie, paddling over to Atsena Otie Key in a kayak or canoe is a very easy and enjoyable trip. If you aren’t up to paddling over to the island, there are drop-off and pick-up boat services available too.
While on the water it is not uncommon to experience the resident Bottle Nose Dolphins up close. On more than one occasion they have been within a few feet of our kayaks. Once on the island it can be explored via groomed walking paths. This is a must-do trip!
Chiefland Golf and Country Club – 40 minutes from Cedar Key – Directions
I have played the course a few times… It a nice golf course with a pretty setting. They do not take reservations and have leagues on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s…
Manatee Springs State Park – 45 minutes from Cedar Key – Directions
The first-magnitude spring at this park produces an average of 100 million gallons of clear, cool water daily. In winter, West Indian manatees swim upriver to the warmer waters of the springs. Popular for snorkeling and scuba diving, the headwaters of the spring are also a great spot for swimming. The spring run forms a sparkling stream that meanders through hardwood wetlands to the Suwannee River. Canoe and kayaks can be rented May through September. Children enjoy the playground in the picnic area. Hiking and bicycling are available on the north end trail system. The full-facility campground is surrounded by red oak woods.
Florida Museum of Natural History – 1 hour from Cedar Key – Directions
Museum researchers investigate bird extinctions on Pacific islands, excavate shell mounds on the Southwest Florida coast, document shark attacks worldwide, monitor endangered and threatened species such as the Florida panther and the manatee, and explore the genetic codes relating families of tropical orchids. Their findings are shared through scholarly publications, university courses, public lectures, museum exhibits and K-12 education programs.
Goethe State Forest – 1 hour from Cedar Key – Directions
Goethe State Forest was named for Mr. J.T. Goethe, from whom most of the land was purchased under Florida’s Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) Program in 1992. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida Forest Service, was given lead management responsibility for the Goethe State Forest. Using sound forest management, the Florida Forest Service provides for multiple uses of the forest resources which includes timber management, wildlife management, outdoor recreation and ecological restoration.
Rainbow Springs State Park – 1 1/4 hours from Cedar Key – Directions
Archaeological evidence indicates that people have been using this spring for nearly 10,000 years. Rainbow Springs is Florida’s fourth largest spring and, from the 1930s through the 1970s, was the site of a popular, privately-owned attraction. The Rainbow River is popular for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking. Canoes and kayaks can be rented at the headsprings. A picnic area at the spring includes tables, grills, and pavilions. For large gatherings, private pavilions can be reserved.
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park – 1 1/4 hours from Cedar Key – Directions
Visitors can see West Indian manatees every day of the year from the park’s underwater observatory in the main spring. The park showcases native Florida wildlife, including manatees, black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, American alligators, American crocodiles, and river otters. Manatee programs are offered three times daily. At the Wildlife Encounter programs, snakes and other native animals are featured. Recreational opportunities include picnicking, nature study, and bird-watching. The park features a children’s education center, providing hands-on experiences about Florida’s environment. Transportation from the visitor center on U.S. 19 to the West Entrance is available by tram or boat. The park has two concessionaire-operated gift shops and a concessionaire-operated café with a selection of beverages and snacks. Plan 3 1/2 to 4 hours to tour the park. Check the Ranger Programs for a list of interactive events throughout the park each day.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens – 1 1/4 hours from Cedar Key – Directions
When looking for things to do in Gainesvile, we are pleased to inform you that Kanapaha Botanical Gardens has been identified as “Best of Attractions Gainesville Florida”, by UpTake.com. UpTake.com awards are based on a careful analysis of customer reviews and expert ratings from across the web collected from over 5000 different websites and millions of customer opinions.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a perfect venue for wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions, meetings, retreats, conferences and other social functions with both indoor and outdoor rental opportunities. For more information on rentals click here.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is comprised of 24 major collections visually accessible from a 1 ½ mile paved walkway. These include the state’s largest public display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the Southeast. Some of Kanapaha’s gardens are organized taxonomically; others demonstrate principles of ecology or natural selection. Kanapaha’s signature plants include a premier stand of Chinese royal bamboo (Wong Chuk), and–during the warm months–giant Victoria water lilies and Asian snake arums. The months offering the most color are June through September. Excluding special events like our Spring Garden Festival and Moonlight Walk, dogs are permitted on leashes. For more information on the various specialty gardens found at Kanapaha click here
Silver Springs – 1 1/2 hours from Cedar Key – Directions
Since the 19th century, Silver Springs has been one of Florida’s most treasured landscapes. As one of the largest artesian springs ever discovered, audiences have long been captured by the springs’ natural beauty and vibrant clarity. From the glass bottom boat rides, kayak and canoe trips to the special event productions, creative culture and romantic appeal, the springs are yours to discover. Come experience Silver Springs State Park.
Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge – 1 1/2 hours from Cedar Key – Directions
The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1941, is comprised of over 31,000 acres of saltwater bays, estuaries and brackish marshes at the mouth of the Chassahowitzka River. The refuge, located approximately 65 miles north of St. Petersburg, FL, was established primarily to protect waterfowl habitat and is home to over 250 species of birds, over 50 species of retiles and amphibians, and at least 25 different species of mammals, including the endangered West Indian Manatee.
Paynes Prairie – 1 1/2 hours from Cedar Key – Directions
Paynes Prairie is biologically, geologically and historically unique. This park became Florida´s first state preserve in 1971 and is now designated as a National Natural Landmark. Noted artist and naturalist William Bartram called it the great Alachua Savannah when he wrote about his visit to the prairie in 1774.
More than 20 distinct biological communities provide a rich array of habitats for wildlife and livestock, including alligators, bison, horses and more than 270 species of birds. Exhibits and an audio-visual program at the visitor center explain the area´s natural and cultural history. A 50-foot-high observation tower near the visitor center provides a panoramic view of the preserve.
Silver Springs Amusement Park – 1 1/2 hours from Cedar Key – Directions
No matter what your age, there are plenty of rides and attractions at Silver Springs that will make you laugh, fill you with wonder, and provide a glimpse into what life was like here more than 10,000 years ago. Just as they did then, the springs pump out 550 million gallons of sparkling-clear water a day—enough to supply the entire city of New York.
Surrounding the springs is a marvelous diversity of animals and nature you simply won’t find anywhere else. Come and explore the stunning beauty of Florida in its natural state.
Walt Disney World – about 2 1/2 hours from Cedar Key – Directions
A bit more than a day trip, but the grand-daddy of them all! No description needed here…