Gainesville Day Trip: Kayaking Cedar Key, FL

Atsena Otie Key is one of a dozen islands comprising Cedar Keys FL, and is the closest key to Cedar Key FL, a fishing village along the Gulf of Mexico that is just an hour from Gainesville FL.

Atsena Otie Key is one of a dozen islands comprising Cedar Keys FL, and is the closest key to Cedar Key FL, a fishing village along the Gulf of Mexico that is just an hour from Gainesville FL.

Cedar Key FL is an old fishing village along the Gulf of Mexico that is just an hour’s drive from Gainesville FL.

The Cedar Keys are a collection of 13 coastal islands off the mainland and are designated as a National Wildlife Refuge.

Atsena Otie Key, the closest key to the mainland, is about a 20 minute paddle from Cedar Key beach. Kayak Cedar Keys is just one of several companies which rents kayaks right off Cedar Key beach.

Atsena Otie Key has a short hiking trail leading to an historic cemetery. There is an information kiosk that describes the history of Atsena Otie.

Paddling around Atsena Otie Key can be easy or difficult depending on the choppiness of the Gulf. On the day we went it was a bit of a challenge but nothing we couldn’t handle.

We saw two seals and countless birds on our trip.

It took us about 2 hours round-trip. We beached our kayaks at one point to have a snack and enjoy the view before setting off again.

Beautiful day, gorgeous scenery. Would definitely do it again.

If you go:

  • Be very aware of the tide schedule before you embark on your journey. When the tide goes out, it goes OUT, and you don’t want to get stranded until the tide comes back in again.
  • Bring sunscreen, water, insect repellent (which you may need depending upon the season), and some snacks.

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