Perhaps the most popular getaway on Florida’s Nature Coast, Cedar Key is at the end of a 24-mile highway that follows a railroad bed which naturalist John Muir walked and then wrote about in his 1,000 Mile Journey to the Gulf. Outdoor recreation on this coast is mostly in the surrounding preserves and National Wildlife Refuges, but this historic community has several great nature trails, too, including ones that can only be reached by boat.
Trails and Parks in Cedar Key
- Atsena Otie Key - The original Cedar Key isn't where you think it is. It's offshore, within sight of the current historic waterfront, an island called Atsena Otie Key, part of Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge.
- Cedar Key Museum Historic State Park - A museum started by seashell collector St. Clair Whitman also honors the legacy of John Muir's travels through Florida on foot at Cedar Key Museum Historic State Park. In 1867, naturalist John Muir followed the path of the Florida Railroad on his Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf of Mexico, ending at the Cedar Keys.
- Cedar Key Museum Nature Trail - A short nature trail – slightly more than a quarter mile – loops out to the edge of the estuary behind the Whitman House at Cedar Key Museum State Park, showing off the landscape that John Muir saw at the end of his thousand-mile walk to the Gulf.
- Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve - On the long dead-end road (SR 24) to Cedar Key, the route John Muir walked nearing his end of his Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf, Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve protects upland scrub habitat for one of Florida's rarest birds, the Florida scrub-jay. They travel in families, so if you see one, you'll probably see several.
- Dennis Creek Trail - At the Shell Mound Unit of Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, the Dennis Creek Trail immerses you in classic habitats of the Gulf Coast along a 1-mile loop
- Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge - One of Florida's more remote National Wildlife Refuges, the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge spans two counties, protecting a sweep of more than 53,000 acres and 30 miles of coastline along the Big Bend
- River Trail - Immerse in the massive floodplain forest surrounding the Suwannee River as it nears the Gulf of Mexico, on the the River Trail at Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, a boardwalk to the river's edge
- Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park - Along its ragged, marshy shoreline, the meandering Waccasassa River empties out into Waccasassa Bay, flats stretching out to the Gulf of Mexico. Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park can only be explored by water - from the boat ramps at Yankeetown, Gulf Hammock, or the shoreline of Cedar Key - with no landside access.