Since we only had one night in Paynes Prairie, due to bad weather, we were looking forward to a week here at CEDAR KEY. I would call this area The Old Florida. Just because it is quite picturesque and very laid back. It has all the perks of Florida, fresh seafood, quaint little restaurants and not any of the mobs of people and traffic like the southern Gulf areas.
We had AWARD winning Clam Chowder at Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder and a couple of cold beers. Excellent. The little town of Cedar key has a nice ambience situated right on the water with old style wharf restaurants and shops.
We stayed at CEDAR KEY RV RESORT, just 6 miles out of Cedar Key. It was great. Reasonable rates, Huge Sites,(about 35 x 80 ft) Clean, with a pool and Wireless Internet. They also have a fenced Dog Park which is always a welcome amenity. Address is 11980 SW Shiloh Road, Cedar Key. You can get one night discount with your Passport America and they are also a Good Sam Club park. There is a more reasonable RV park right across the road from here, I believe it was called Rainbow Country RV park. The sites appeared very tight and it looked dusty. In my opinion this was the best of the three RV parks we saw in this area.
One of the first day trips we took was to the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuges and then we continued up to Chifland and back to Cedar Key. About a 70 mile loop.
We took the maintained gravel roads throughout this area.There were many birds, alligators and other wildlife to see. The boardwalk takes you out to a view of the Suwannee River. Here is a PDF about the area.
The trees here were just getting their leaves, the bark of many trees was a different color and the sunlight was amazing peeking through.
We drove many miles slowly down these dirt roads through the refuge.
While driving along these back roads through the refuge we saw many beautiful sites. But one that stands out is when I spotted a BARRED OWL. I have been looking for one of these beauties for months. It was sitting in a tree almost completely camouflaged. We backed up to where I saw it, I squeezed off a few shots on my camera and Poof it flew away. Here is one of the photos of that moment.
One day we took a very Long drive to HORSESHOE BEACH. We had read that it was a small fishing village and there was a great cafe there. It was right on both counts. We had an AMAZING lunch at the HORSESHOE BEACH CAFE. We both had Fresh Soft shelled Blue Crab sandwiches. Those crabs were swimming this morning. The fish served in this restaurant is from their own boats. Our waitress, who we think was part of the family, was friendly and gave us lots of local history and information.
On the way back to Cedar Key we took more side roads and I came across this scene.
Off to PANACEA, FLORIDA today.