Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge provides a safe haven for wildlife and terrific recreation opportunities for people in the Gulf of Mexico. The 13 islands of the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge began many thousands of years ago as fish camps of First Peoples on the peninsula of Florida.

Visit Us

To reach the Refuge, you must travel southwest on highway 24 or 347 to the town of Cedar Key. You'll need a vessel to paddle, operate, or rent to get out to the islands.  Boundary signs are on all Refuge islands; other islands are private.

The Refuge is open from sunrise to sunset.  Visitors access the Refuge by paddling kayaks, by tour boat, private or rented vessels. For tour guides and boat rental information check these listings on the Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce website.  Fall, winter, and spring are much milder than summer months, but sunscreen is still a good idea along with a hat and sunglasses.  Think green and bring along your own refillable water bottle.

Location and Contact Information

      Special Message from the Refuge Manager

      Special Message from the Refuge Manager

       Entry to/on the Cedar Keys NWR islands

      Open areas:  All of Atsena Otie Key and the sand beaches of the other islands.

      Closed areas:  All interior and/or vegetated areas of North Key, Snake Key, Deadmans Key, Live Oak Key, Scale Key, Cedar Point, and Seahorse Key.

      Waters around Snake Key (~100m) are closed to all entry March through June.  

      Should the birds nest again on Seahorse, then we would need to close some waters there again.

      Entry to the closed areas are by permit only.


      No tours are planned at this time.

      Our Species

      Once 200,000 birds nested in the Cedar Keys; now, the numbers near 20,000.  Egrets, night herons, brown pelicans, white ibis, cormorants, and in the past few years, reddish egrets and roseate spoonbills have made themselves at home in the Seahorse Key rookery

      Get Involved

      Getting involved at Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys NWRs will connect you to the natural world more than you could ever imagine. It could be through volunteerism or as a member of our Friends group.