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A Nature-lover’s Utopia Found in Florida

Cedar Keys, a cluster of road-accessible islands in western Florida, is so mellow and pleasant, you may not want to do anything in its town of Cedar Key but lay in the sun and enjoy the sand, surf and fresh air.

But if you do want to get out and experience things that you never experience when you’re working your day job in, say, a cubicle farm, or perhaps changing diapers and running after toddlers as a homemaker, then you really ought to try the following — 

Amazing Kayaking. This is the place to do it. The ocean waters are gentle and serene and calling your name. If you’re a hardcore kayaker, you may want to enter the water from Cedar Key and paddle up the Gulf Coast along what’s known as the Saltwater Paddling Trail, 105 miles of publicly owned land with campgrounds along the way, where you have the chance to become one with nature and kayak among the fish and sea turtles while watching bald eagles and ospreys fly above you.


Still-amazing-but-not-as-far kayaking. OK, you came to see Cedar Key and not go off for days at a time somewhere. Kayak up to Atensa Otie Key, an abandoned island that was the original location of the city of Cedar Key, until it was destroyed by a hurricane in 1896. Abandoned buildings (including an old mill) still stand. It’s only a half mile away and part of the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge.


Go birdwatching. The Cedar Keys is a birdwatcher’s utopia. It isn’t only the bald eagles and ospreys. The land and waters are full of great white egrets, willets, woodstorks, brown pelicans, ibises, and yellow crowned night herons, so you can make dumb jokes like, “I don’t egret birdwatching here.”