A lot of people love Cedar Key. Actually it’s the Cedar Keys as there are several in the group. I’m not a fan. It might be fine if you have a small, easily trailerable boat, but if you’re cruising on your own bottom it has little to offer. There’s no marina, there’s no fuel, and the cruising guide anchorages are iffy.
Heading north from Crystal River it’s nearly a 30 mile voyage with a bit more than 22 miles of that on the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
On my run up the coast after I got to Cedar I explored around a bit and didn’t see any really good place to anchor. The anchorage at Otsena Otle Key, recommended by Waterway Guide, is open to wind, waves and wakes from nearly every direction. Didn’t appealing to me at all. Luckily it was summer so Daylight Savings Time saved me. I decided to make the 20 some odd mile dash up to the Suwanee River.
A couple of months later, heading south from the Suwanee, I hoped to make it to Crystal River. But rising winds and waves causing my 9.9 hp short shaft to cavitate every couple of waves, meant I needed to hole up until things calmed down a bit. The Otsena anchorage was too rough to even think about.
I skirted Cedar Key heading east when I saw a couple of fishing boats duck into an opening. I decided to follow them.
There was a cut between the developed land to port and mangroves to starboard opening up into a secluded little pond. There were rental apartments on the land and several piers jutting out into the water. I dropped anchor, backed down on the motor to set it, said my usual “Honey, I’m home,” and settled in.
It was a secure anchorage protected from winds and waves, but, as the tide dropped, the rusted hulk of a steel boat began to appear from the mud flats only a few feet away . I just missed it! It seemed that by sheer good luck I’d picked the only decent place to anchor in the whole area. At dead low tide I was in no more than 3 feet of water. I had to stay through the night and the next day as well as the winds continued blowing close to 20 mph.
If you can, plan your route to avoid Cedar Key.