• Cedar Key, Florida

    Cedar Key,


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    Featured in Budget Travel's Cool Small Towns 2022

    Cedar Key is a place where time stands still and allows you to enjoy the unique qualities of our coastal environment.

    Cedar Key is a quiet island community nestled among many tiny keys on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Long admired for its natural beauty and abundant supply of seafood, it is a tranquil village, rich with the almost forgotten history of old Florida.

    Our island is located 50 miles southwest of Gainesville, Florida. It sits three miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. Highway 24 is only one road coming into town. It crosses over the salt marshes and channels on four small, low bridges. The population is approximately 800 full time residents.

    There are no high rises or huge apartment complexes. We are a community of quaint cottages, single-family homes, working water front and aquaculture structures. The view as you cross the Number Four Bridge is spell-binding.

    Cedar Key is a haven for artists, writers and “adventure” tourists, who find the unspoiled environment their inspiration. Thousands of visitors come annually to enjoy the “Old Florida Celebration of the Arts” in April, 4th of July, the October Seafood Festival, Pirate Festival, and The Stargazing Party in February. Our island provides a place for excellent fishing, bird watching, nature trails, kayaking and coastal guided tours. Federally protected sanctuaries, the Cedar Keys form a chain of barrier islands ideally suited to a vast range of migratory and shore birds, including the elusive white pelican, roseate spoonbill and bald eagle. The variety of natural habitats, from salt marshes to Indian shell mounds, makes this truly a nature lover’s paradise.

    The small town feeling is absolute – transportation is by car, but the road is shared with bicycles and golf-carts. Drivers and pedestrians wave to locals and visitors alike greeting each other with a warm welcome to our island. The nearest major airports are Tampa and Orlando, there’s a regional airport in nearby Gainesville, and we have an airstrip on the island where many small plane enthusiasts land.

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    Cedar Key, Florida - Coolest Small Towns 2022

    If you’re looking for a laid-back place to make your Gulf dreams come true, Cedar Key, about an hour from Gainesville, on Florida’s northwest coast, is the place to do it. With a population hovering around 700 and a location that puts a firm emphasis on salt water — including a national wildlife refuge, a state park, nature preserves, stretches of sandy beach, and a thriving fishing industry — Cedar Key basically challenges you not to relax. Set aside a few days to get to know this beautiful corner of the Sunshine State. The 13 islands of Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge offer unique opportunities for birdwatching (including migratory birds and majestic pelicans), dolphins in season, and colorful butterflies. Cedar Key Museum State Park combines the best of the region’s natural beauty with rich history, including the restored 1920s Whitman home and memorabilia from the town’s past. Speaking of history, when you’re not soaking up some sun at the beach, you’ll want to soak up some history via photographs and artifacts at Cedar Key Historical Museum. But who are we kidding? With all that Gulf water lapping the shores, seafood may be your number-one priority here — clam bars, seafood joints ranging from modest to posh, and chowder abound in Cedar Key, with enough options to satisfy every taste. More about Cedar Key Cedar Key, FL Cedar Key is a place where time stands still and allows you to enjoy the unique qualities of our coastal environment. Cedar Key is a quiet island community nestled among many tiny keys on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Keep Reading... Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at

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    Crystal River

    Crystal River is a city in Citrus County, Florida, United States. The population was 3,108 in the 2010 census. According to the U.S Census estimates of 2018, the city had a population of 3,162. The city was incorporated in 1903 and is the self professed "Home of the Manatee". Crystal River Preserve State Park is located nearby, and Crystal River Archaeological State Park is located in the city's northwest side. Crystal River is at the heart of the Nature Coast of Florida. The city is situated around Kings Bay, which is spring-fed and so keeps a constant 72 °F (22 °C) temperature year round. A cluster of 50 springs designated as a first-magnitude system feeds Kings Bay. A first-magnitude system discharges 100 cubic feet or more of water per second, which equals about 64 million gallons of water per day. Because of this discharge amount, the Crystal River Springs group is the second largest springs group in Florida, the first being Wakulla Springs in Wakulla County near Tallahassee. Kings Bay can be home to over 400 manatees during the winter when the water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico cools, and is the only place in the United States where people can legally interact with them in their natural conditions without that interaction being viewed as harassment by law enforcement agencies. Tourism based on watching and swimming with manatee is the fastest growing contribution to the local economy. In 2005 there was a movement to dissolve the city which did not succeed, and the city has since grown by annexation.