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Cedar Key, Florida
Tiny Cedar Key is a Mellow Barrier Island Town on Florida's Rural Northwest Coast and Has a Seductive, Tropical Vibe
Tiny Cedar Key is a very relaxed fishing village on a small barrier island along Florida's northwest coast, the Big Bend Coast, and is about an hour southwest of Gainesville. Off the beaten path, it is a place far from the hassles of modern life and has a seductive "ends of the earth" feeling about it. Some people say it is what Key West used to be, and it is home to a lot of artists.
There are no fancy resort hotels, but tourists come to dine in some very good seafood restaurants, fish for black sea bass, dig for clams and spend time in the several refuges and state parks that are perfect for watching and photographing Florida's abundant wildlife. Of particular note is the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge to the south of Cedar Key. It is part of the Big Bend estuary and accessible only by boat.
The historic, weathered downtown, battered by more than one hurricane over the years, is lined with fun eateries, groceries, art galleries, trinket shops, candy stores, a bank and the like. Flip flops and t-shirts are the attire of choice, and many an evening is spent drinking cold beers while while watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico.
Police ride around in golf carts, and pelicans strut along the pier. The annual Seafood Festival and the Cedar Key Art Festival draw lively crowds. The beach is small and quiet. Housing includes colorful cottages, cabins, manufactured homes, ranch ramblers and condos, some perched atop stilts.
Population: 750 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 66%
Cost of Living: 5% below the national average
Median Home Price: $375,000
Climate: Summer high temperatures average in the mid-90s with high humidity and lots of precipitation. Winters are mild with temperatures in the 60s and 70s.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Osceloa Regional Medical Center, about five miles away, accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Osceloa Regional Medical Center, about five miles away, is accredited.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Below the the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 40%
Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Hurricanes are always a possibility. In fact, Hurricane Hermine in 2016 caused significant damage. Hurricane Michael in 2018 caused flooding but no major damage.
Notes: Cedar Key has one road in and one road out. Services and supplies beyond the basics are found in neighboring Homosassa, Chiefland or along State Route 24 outside of Gainesville. The town has had problems with salt water incursion into the drinking water supply and many homeowners have had to install water purification systems. Racial diversity is very minimal. Cedar Key has maintained its population within the decade. Home prices have increased 10% since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Named Pascua Florida by Juan Ponce De Leon, the Sunshine State did not enter the Union until March 3, 1845. Balmy mild winters began attracting snowbirds to the state in the late 19th century. Retirees continue to flock to the state. It's not hard to see why tourism has become the leading industry.
International trade and citrus are also major contributors to the state's economy. Eighty percent of the nation's oranges and grapefruits are grown here, and 40 percent of all U.S. exports to Latin America flow through Florida.
Florida's landscape includes uplands and coastal plains. It contains more than 11,000 miles of waterways and about 4,500 islands spread across 10 acres.
The state has 1,250 golf courses, more than any other state in the Union. The 47 mile Pinellas Trail is the longest urban trail on the east coast. Orlando theme parks attract more visitors than any other theme parks in the U.S. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist is in National Everglades Park.
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