09 February 2015

Now, I’m Too Warm {Cedar Key & Shell Mound, Florida}

Not too long ago, I was complaining about the cold. Now, I’m complaining about being too warm. 

Scott thinks I’m reptilian in nature, having a very limited temperature range where I’m comfortable and not complaining. It seems unfair that he can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. When we were in North Dakota last, he was wearing his Keen sandals in the snow, while I refused to leave his aunt and uncle’s house until the snow melted. When we were in Thailand, he was cool and comfortable, while I sweated profusely. It’s tough being cold blooded – too much warmth and you die, too much cold and you die. Okay, maybe not die. I tend to exaggerate. But I would rather be too warm in Florida then too cold in North Dakota any day. 

And here’s why – look at how pretty it is. I swear the sky is bluer here. 

Cedar Key Beach

Cedar Key Pier

After spending a few days at Manatee Springs State Park, we headed down to Shell Mound in search of the county campground. In some ways it’s much nicer than Manatee Springs. You’re right on the water, hardly anyone is there, the people are so incredibly friendly and go out of their way to chat with each other (doesn’t always happen elsewhere) and it’s cheaper ($16.35 for water and electric). While I missed seeing the manatees, there is something to be said for cheaper.

Scamper at Shell Mound

I wonder how many people might struggle with the rules about no alcohol and no profanity?

Shell Mound Campground Rules

The county campground is right next to the Lower Suwannee Wildlife Refuge. We took in some amazing views at sunset our first night there.

Shell Mound Sunset

Shell Mound Sunset2

While we were there, we chatted to some other folks who came up from the campground for the sunset. As the sun went down, this bright light was shining in the sky while planes kept flying by. We had all sorts of theories about what was going on and what the bright light was. The boring theory was that the bright light was the International Space Station and the planes were just doing military drills. The most interesting theory was that the bright light was an alien spacecraft and the planes were out there trying to prevent an invasion. If you know anything about me, you can probably guess which theory I was a proponent of.

Turns out it was just the planet Venus. Or at least that’s what they want you to believe.

The next day we headed to Cedar Key – a colorful town not too far from Shell Mound. Big Decks is a great place to have a few beers. I haven’t had a Rolling Rock in years. They’re pretty tasty.

Rolling Rock Cedar Key

This cat was really disappointed we didn’t order the seafood special with our beers. It was hoping for handouts. So it ignored us and took a nap instead to punish us. 

Cat Cedar Key

We strolled around town, dodging people in golf carts as we went. Which seem surprisingly expensive to rent ($25 for an hour). Cedar Key has lots of cute shops and restaurants. And oodles of hotels and rental properties. I imagine this place is heaving with folks in the summer.

Cedar Key Fish Sign

It was the kind of day where you wished you had a sailboat like this little beauty moored off of the beach.

Cedar Key Sailboat

I’m really loving our time in Florida – the landscape is so different from what I grew up with. Just across the road from the campground are a couple of short walks which take you through the woods and along the water. Perfect for a cup of coffee in the morning.

Cedar Key Walk

And, of course, if you’re going to camp near Shell Mound, then you have to walk up to the mound. It is basically a giant trash heap (or midden if you want to get all archaeological and technical), where Native Americans dumped shells and other refuse. They basically used their rubbish to infill the swampy areas. Not surprisingly, there are shells everywhere as you walk on the mound. 

These cheeky little polar bears just had to get their picture taken with the shells. Such demanding little creatures. But surprisingly, they never complain about the heat. (The polar bears are hard to spot among the shells with their white fur, but they're there.)

Polar Bears Shell Mound

We had a wonderful time down in the Shell Mound and Cedar Key area, but I have to say the highlight was Scott’s spicy marinara sauce with shrimp. Delicious! Some of the best shrimp we’ve ever had. If you want some, just head up to Robinson’s Seafood. More expensive then the ones we got in Grande Isle, Louisiana, but then again everything seems more expensive in Florida. Robinson’s was a tip from Steve, the nicest camp host you’ll ever meet. So generous in sharing his local knowledge and tips. Thanks Steve!

We experienced warm weather in Cedar Key and Shell Mound, Florida on 29-31 January 2015.

Linked up at Weekend Travel Inspiration with Albom Adventures, Reflections Enroute, TheCrowdedPlanet, ContentedTraveller, BayEssence, Safari254. and Families Go!

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  1. too hot or too cold..kind of like Goldilocks..it needs to be just right!
    I love a 'winne pooh' kind of day..blustery!
    you captured some fabulous sunset photos!

    1. Scott gets all the photo credits - he takes some really nice ones!

  2. I am burning up Google maps trying to figure out where this county campground might be. Help! We are heading down next week, might be nice. Drop a Google pin if you can. Thanks.

    1. Found it, I can see why no one was there, that was tough. How are you finding these places?

    2. I found reference to it on a blog after doing a search for campgrounds near Lower Suwannee Refuge - unfortunately, I can't remember which blog. While we were at Manatee Springs, we did a drive down that one day and checked it out. It's a really nice place - hope you guys make it down there. The only thing is that there is a boat launch there and the airboats put in early in the morning and can get pretty loud.

  3. Of course it was aliens. Everyone knows that there are aliens in Florida. All kinds of aliens. And fire ants. There are fire ants in Florida. And they will bite the fire out of you if you touch them. If you see a bunch of ants hanging around a hole, run away. Because they hurt. Just like fire.

    1. My feet have got so many bites on them just now from no-see-ums that I can't even imagine having a run in with fire ants just now. I bet they're part of some alien plot to get humans to clear out of Florida so that the aliens can take over and have the beaches all to themselves!

  4. Still looking for a boat? In our Marina, Matthews Point, near Oriental there is a 38' C &C landfall, fully set up for cruising $46,000. Dingy is new along with water maker,wind generator,solar panels. Guys purchased ,did work & wife spent 3 days on boat & said sailing is not for her.

    1. We've got our eyes a few, but nothing firm yet. The C&C sounds interesting - do you have a link for it? Thanks for flagging it up to us!

  5. Google Matthews Point Marina, yacht sales, 38' C&C Landfall. Also there is a nice Pearson 31-2 listed at Deaton Yacht Sales in Oriental. It's listed at $28,900. We just made the jump to a Endeavor Trawler cat. Good luck in finding a boat! Also Town Dock in Oriental has classified on boats.

  6. All these captures are beautiful and the post is interesting to read.
    My favourites are sunset captures.Those are amazing!

    1. Thanks Amila! Scott does take some nice photos :-)

  7. Excellent photos.Go with the aliens, I think you are onto something :)

  8. Oh that makes me nostalgic! That is very close to my home.

  9. Replies
    1. It is a great spot - would definitely recommend it if you're down that way ever.

  10. Oh, I'm just like you. If it's not 60 - 70 degrees I'm uncomfortable and whine....I'm so spoiled! Loved this post...those shrimp sound scrumptious.

    1. The shrimp were delicious! Scott is a fabulous cook - I'm pretty lucky that way :-)


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