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Cedar Key, How to Escape the Daily Grind Now

view of The Gulf of Mexico from Cedar Key

Although Florida is known for theme parks and as a haven for wild college students on spring break, it also has some small town charm. For example, Cedar Key, a cluster of small islands west of Ocala, rests in the Gulf of Mexico. My husband and I stayed at the Island Place Condos a few years ago during a road trip to New Orleans. Initially, we read about Cedar Key in The Best Romantic Escapes in Florida, vol. II by Pamela Acheson and Richard B. Myers. The romanticism intrigued us, so we decided to make it one of our stops.

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View from the Island Place in Cedar Key from the water
The Island Place

Stocking Up

View of the Gulf of Mexico from Cedar Key
Gulf of Mexico

Because Cedar Key is located on a remote island, we needed to get provisions prior to reaching the condo. We stopped at Robinson’s Seafood, located before the causeway entrance. Here we bought fresh grouper and shrimp. Although it was pricey, it was worth it. Then we drove over the causeway to Cedar Key where we stopped at The Market for seasonings and fixings for a salad. You know you are in a small town when the grocery store is just called The Market.

The Island Place, Cedar Key

view of our patio with table for two, french doors and a hanging swing
Patio at The Island Place

Once we picked up our groceries we drove to The Island Place which we found with no problems. Unfortunately, when we got there the main office was closed. First I tried calling the number on the sign in the window. Then I tried calling the number I used to make the reservation. In either case, nobody answered. Of course, at this point we started to worry. We began walking around the grounds hoping to find someone.

Eventually we found a man grilling some dinner. We then explained the situation and asked if he knew how to get in touch with someone. Nonchalantly, he responded by asking if we checked the door to our unit, as it was probably unlocked with the key inside. Of course, coming from South Florida this is unheard of. Interestingly, this was the case. There on the table was the key next to a basket of snacks and a note welcoming us. Island life!

After laughing at our ignorance, we opened a bottle of wine which we enjoyed on our porch swing. Next we cooked our seafood and mixed up a salad for dinner. Both which we enjoyed on our back patio. A cat and his friends came to join us for dinner. Mistakenly, we fed them before reading the notice on our refrigerator about NOT feeding the feral cats. Oops!

feral cat waiting for a fish dinner in Cedar Key
Feral cat waiting for a fresh fish dinner

The Island Hotel

Mural of mermaids and Triton at The Island Hotel, Cedar Key
Mural at The Island Hotel

We ended the evening by walking to the Island Hotel. Built between 1859 and 1860, the building survived numerous hurricanes and floods. Eventually, the hotel bar became a popular gathering place during the 1940’s. In 1945 a tenant painted some of the murals in exchange for room and board.

water with a horseshoe crab
horseshoe crab

The next morning we collected shells on the beach in back of our condo before continuing our journey. We only stayed one night, but if you stay longer you can go kayaking, paddle boarding. Or you can rent bikes or a golf cart to explore the many art galleries, shops, and seafood restaurants. In addition, rent a boat to visit a nearby island for swimming go fishing, or take a nature cruise.

There are many romantic places in Florida for getaway weekends and many great ways to spark your romance wherever you are. Why not try some of these ideas?

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Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers. She can be found on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

11 thoughts on “Cedar Key, How to Escape the Daily Grind Now”

  1. I do like the idea of escaping to a remote island like Cedar Key. What better than to stock up with local seafood! We too would never have thought that the doors would be unlocked. But good to know the island is so safe nobody worries about unlocked doors. Looks like a great getaway!

  2. I dream to spend some time in such a quiet and relaxing place where it is warm and the sun is shining. It would be really wonderful to be able to move there as if by magic. I really like the terrace in this house, I think I would spend a lot of time there.

  3. I love a good beach getaway! It’s nice knowing it’s obviously a safe island. I think going for a boat ride around and getting a golf cart to explore would be fun. The idea of such a low-key vacation sounds extremely appealing to me right now!!

    1. Cedar Key is on the Gulf of Mexico, but it is in the state of Florida in the USA. Florida is know for Disney World, Miami Beaches and nightlife, but there are a lot of tucked away hidden gems like this secluded island.

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