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Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge
Review Highlights
Relaxing and fascinating

A nice sanitised version of a jungle adventure. Following a really relaxing but informative ride on... read more

Reviewed November 5, 2019
Scotland, United Kingdom
Bring mosquito repellent for Atsena Otie Key

This Wildlife Refuge is a collection of about a dozen small islands (keys) with the primary... read more

Reviewed October 23, 2019
Waregem, Belgium
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Reviewed November 15, 2011

It is hard to imagine the Cedar Key area back in the days when the cedar trees were being logged . Now the area is definitely off the beaten path. The water in this area is extremely shallow and the weekend of the Open House the tides were extremely low, so it was a relief when we made it out to the Key and back without getting stuck (Thanks, Captain Doug !) The Key itself is very small, but interesting if you are into Florida history. It has what must be the smallest lighthouse in the world atop the island. We climbed up the very small circular stairway to the top and walked around. Views of the entire tiny island and the other Keys in the Refuge in the distance. Very neat ! It is only open once or twice a year (it was open back in July, too) so you have to plan your visit.

Date of experience: October 2011
4  Thank momron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2011

Most of the 13 National Wildlife Refuge islands are accessible most of the year with a couple of exceptions for bird nesting seasons. Can access by boat, kayak, canoe only. Very romantic islands because they are relatively unknown and boat only access. Can let your dogs run free as long as you pick up after them and do not let them run in the tall grass because of native critters. We can all frolic in the water safely - no gators to worry about. Tiny native fish surround you in the water. A photographers dream. An eco friendly delight. Nothing fast paced in this environment. Dolphins galore, eagles, osprey, white pelicans, brown pelicans, friget birds, egrets, sandbills, roseate spoonbills, scrub jays and many more native birds to see in their natural habitats. Pristine Clean Unspoiled Water.

Date of experience: April 2011
10  Thank FarawayInnCedarKey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2008

For the novice or experienced kayaker, this is a perfect place to enjoy. Kayak from the marina to Atsena Otie Key, only 0.6 miles,beach your kayak, and hike the trail past the remains of the old Faber Pencil mill, the cistern and on to the civil war cemetery.
If you go during mosquite season, however, be sure to carry and wear plenty of DEET. They can be horrendous. You can also paddle out to several other islands if so inclined. You will mostly likely spot dolphins, cormorants, as well as other sea birds.

12  Thank kayakbabe44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2003

Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge is one of the least known refuges on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Located about 1 hour southwest of Gainesville, Florida; Cedar Keys NWR covers about 800 acres on 13 keys (islands) in the Gulf. Most of the keys are tiny, the two most significant keys for visitors are Atsena Otie Key - about 1 mile from the dock in the town of Cedar Key and Sea Horse Key - approx. 5 miles from town. For bird watchers and naturalists, the NWR is one of the "must sees" on a short list of Florida destinations.Sea Horse Key: largely undeveloped and closed to the public during breeding season (March through July - check the dates!) is a bird-watcher's dream. The branches of coastal trees are filled with birds - carrying on quite loudly! Species I've seen include: Frigate birds; Brown Pelicans; White Ibis; Roseate Spoonbills; Little Blue, Great Blue, Yellow-Crowned Night, and Tri-color Herons; Willets; Snowy and White Egrets; Osprey; Woodstorks; and Cormorants. I've also seen seasonally White Pelicans, Skimmers, Oyster-Catchers, Common Loons, and various water fowl. The interior of the island is off-limits to the public, but you definitely don't want to go inland due to an over eager crowd of no-seeums, biting flies, and poisonous snakes. There are no sanitary facilities on this key, no water. Fishing and swimming on the beach is definitely a highlight of any trip - after viewing the birds of course.Atsena Otie Key: This key is also known locally as the "shell island". The island is about a mile off shore from the town of Cedar Key making it very appealing for a quick hop over. There is an inland trail with a small cemetery inland. There is also a pit toilet on the island. A long dock allows fishing. And there's a nice beach for playing in the water and swimming. Birds aren't as dense on this island and it is more travelled than Sea Horse Key.Getting there: both islands are only accessible by boat. Atsena Otie is accessible by sea kayak, even for those who are not strallow. Sea Horse Key is further out and probably should only be kayaked to by the experienced. There are two options for boats in Cedar Key - there are several local businesses that will take you out via small boat (for a fee) and either tour around the island with a brief drop and return or they will drop you for a set period of time. You can also rent boats at the town dock or marina and visit on your own clock. If you take the boat yourself, be sure to be familiar with the times of the tides and keep track of time. The beaches are very shallow and it's quite easy to strand yourself in mud requiring you to wait until the tide comes back in (and your boat return is way overdue!) Be sure to bring your DEET-based repellant, sun block, salty foods, and bottled water. The breeze makes it feel much cooler than it really is and it's quite easy to get sun poisoning...

36  Thank Footprints37247
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2019
Google Translation

Date of experience: September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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