A trip to Cedar Key
by Ken Abrahams

Sondra and I went to a sewing class near Fort Walton Beach, Florida, last weekend. Once that was over, we went on down the coast to Cedar Key. I had heard a lot about Cedar Key from small boating magazines like MAIB and wanted to chect it out. It is a 13 hour drive from Lake Charles to Cedar Key driving the posted speed limits. This route takes I-10 from Lake Charles to Tallahassee and then Hy. 19 down. Coming back took much longer using the coast road through Panama City.

Canoe/Kayak area

This set of pictures shows the sailing facilities at Cedar Key. There are two main launch areas at the Gulf of Mexico. One is in a lagoon and is really nice, but you must go under a low bridge to get out of the lagoon. The other launch area is right on the gulf but is a single ramp and very exposed. There are also places to launch a hand carried boat. One is a nice white sand area, the other is around the corner from there and doesn't look as good. I saw one boat being used, a Prindle Cat.

Main launch area in lagoon

Launch on the Gulf side

There is not a lot of area to tie up anywhere. The islands are scattered around this main starting point and I believe they have no facilities for tieing up, etc. My impression about the sailing in the area was not favorable. We have much better sailing conditions right here in Lake Charles and can easily travel to other fine sailing areas much closer. The town was fine, though.

Main Shop area from the pier.

Main Shop area from a ways off.

Here is some information on Cedar Key. It was a booming place in the 1800's. During the Civil War, it was an important port for the South. Later, Cedar trees were used in the manufacture of lead pencils which was the major business along with shipping. There were 5000 residents in the 1890's but a major storm wiped out the place and it never recovered. There are 1200 residents now and the main business is tourism.

Museum, Cedar Tree, Canon and Sondra

This is a nice little town. It looks like a throwback to the 1950's. The hotels are probably all left over from that era. It is all low key, no night-life that I could see. It was enjoyable to visit. There were no high-rise hotels, loud music, etc.

Sondra, Ken and live Pelican on pier

Our trip back took us up the coast and over to Carrabelle and Apalachicola Florida. These are very nice little towns. The white sand and beaches start here but it is not commercialized. We ate in Apalachicola in a little restaurant that featured Jimmy Buffett music. From there we followed the shore road to Fort Walton Beach. What a disaster, took hours to get through this commercialized area. We returned to I-10 then and went on to Foley, Alabama (You know, the outlet capital of the world).

Typical scene driving to the islands

Well, in the winter it closes at 7:00 pm and opens at 10:00 am. We got there at 7:00 pm and didn't care to wait around for it to open the next day. We detoured down to Madisonville, La. on the way home from Foley. Now that's a nice town. We checked out the Riverside State Park and will probably visit there camping sometime. Nice boating spot on the river.

we ate at this restaurant in Cedar Key

Would we go back to Cedar Key? Probably not. Nice place but too far. Sailing doesn't seem that good. Would we go somewhere else on the Florida coast? Probably not. For my money, I'll take Louisiana locations or Texas locations. Lots of places much closer. Corpus Christi is only 6 hours away, etc. Galveston Bay, 3 hours, Toledo Bend 3 hours, Madisonville 4 hours, etc.

Ken Abrahams