Cedar Key derives its name from a 1542 Spanish map that named the area as “Las Islas Sabines,”, “The Cedar Islands.” The name “Cedar Islands” was in reference to the abundant growth of cedar trees that formerly covered all the barrier islands within the surrounding area. The City of Cedar Key resides on the island of Way Key four miles out into the Gulf of Mexico located 60 miles west of Gainesville, Florida. Cedar Key can be found by following State Route 24 to the end of the road and crossing over the salt marshes and channels on four small, low bridges. The population of Cedar Key is approximately 800 full time residents.
Today Cedar Key is one of the largest producers of farm raised clams in the country and Florida oysters are available all year round. Because of Cedar Key’s rural location, the water quality is exceptional. It is a haven for artists, writers and “adventure” tourists, who find the unspoiled environment their inspiration. Both aquaculture and tourism are Cedar Key’s mainstay. And yet no industry has overwhelmed the authentic old Florida charm of the keys.
Cedar Key and the surrounding islands as a National Wildlife Refuge offer Federal protection for birds and wildlife. It is not uncommon to observe such rare bird varieties as bald eagles, white pelicans, osprey, and roseate spoonbills or families of dolphin in a spectacular natural environment. We welcome you to visit Cedar Key and experience our island’s excellent fishing, bird watching, nature trails, kayaking and coastal guided water tours. We offer you the opportunity for dining, shopping and more.