Levy County is located in Northwest Florida at the southeastern end of the Panhandle bordering Dixie, Gilchrist, Alachua, Marion and Citrus Counties.
Levy County was established in 1845 from a portion of Alachua County and named for David Levy Yulee, first U.S. Senator from Florida and developer of a 5,000- acre plantation on the Homosassa River. Cedar Key was founded in 1850 and was the southern terminus of the first railroad across Florida.
Cedar Key Museum State Park is home to what used to be called the St. Clair Whitman Museum. St. Clair Whitman lived in Cedar Key since he was a boy in the late 1800s and during his lifetime, he was involved in both of Cedar Key's major industries, the cedar pencil mill and the fiber factory. He also had quite a collection of seashells and Native American Artifacts. When Whitman died in 1959, he dedicated all of his collections to the University of Florida's Florida Museum of Natural History. The museum with these belongings and Whitman's home was donated by his family in 1991. The home was restored to look like the inside of a 1920s style home and the museum itself also has some cool artifacts from the same time. Birdwatching is also a big pastime here, so be sure to bring your binoculars to check out the birds. A canoe launch and nature trails line the property and pets are allowed as long as they are on a leash.
The Inglis Bypass Recreation Area is a popular fishing spot for fresh and saltwater species with two picnic pavilions located nearby to enjoy the day in the shade. Additionally, mowed grass paths run Eastward along the Bypass Canal, creating an idea environment for hiking, biking, and other recreational activities.
The Inglis Lock Recreation Area has recreational things to do like taking a leisurely walk, running, and biking along the trail. Located about an hour south of Gainesville, the Inglis Lock Recreation Area is in close proximity to the western end of the Cross Florida Greenway and has been inoperable since 1999. The Inglis Lock Recreation Area sits on over 70,000 acres of land with over 1200 of that land being used for multi-purpose trails. In addition to the trails the Inglis Lock Recreation Area has freshwater bank fishing, saltwater fishing, wildlife viewing opportunities and more. Don't forget to get your Inglis Lock Recreation Area stamp when you visit.
Levy County School District serves 5 communities in Levy County. The total student population of these communities is approximately 6,200. Located near Nature Coast, many of the student this district of unique opportunities to enjoy firsthand experience in the wilderness.
Manatee Springs State Park is located in the northwestern part of Florida's peninsula, and is the sight of one of Florida's 33 first magnitude springs, with an average water flow between 50 and 150 million gallons of water per day. It is a great place to gaze at the beautiful wildlife, especially the park's namesake, the manatee (when the water is cold enough). The park also offers paddling, bicycling, tubing, and even event catering thanks to Anderson's Outdoor Adventures. And some of the park's most alluring features are the underwater caverns available to certified cave divers looking for a beautiful, maze-like adventure. But if you aren't certified, fret not, because the park has everything from camping and picnicking to snorkeling and fishing, as well as an 800 ft. boardwalk and over 8 miles of hiking trails. Park rangers are on sight to provide additional support and information in order to make Manatee Springs State Park a truly wonderful experience.
Nature Coast State Trail is a designated National Recreation Trail, connecting Cross City, Trenton, Fanning Springs, and Chiefland. Along the 32-mile trail, visitors can choose from two primary paths that run parallel to the abandoned rail lines that meet at Wilcox Junction. Along with hiking, mountain biking, and a variety of other activities, Nature Coast also sports a 4.5-mile equestrian trail. Noted as "one of the state's best bike trails," Nature Coast State Trail takes you over the Suwannee River Trestle, delivering beautiful views of the river and the abundant wildlife.
There aren't too many salt water marshes on the Gulf of Mexico, but at Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve, there are a lot of natural habitats on display. Swamps, hardwood forests, pine flatwoods, and scrub are just a few of the nature scenes that await the studier of nature and/or photographer. It's also a great place for wildlife observation since the area is completely natural. Hikers and off-road bicyclists will also enjoy their time here with the miles of trails that wind through the park. In certain areas of the park, the shallow waters of the creeks make for the perfect canoeing and kayaking waters, and rentals of these items are near the city of Cedar Key if you don't have your own.
If botany is your thing or you just enjoy gazing at an alluring garden, Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens is your place to be. This is one of Florida's most beautiful botanical gardens and one that is sure to leave you breathless. It was founded by Dr. Raymond Webber in 1991 when he purchased an old retired lime rock quarry that he gradually turned into the most luxurious botanical garden that Florida has ever seen. Enjoy viewing over 100 species of plants and flowers or the vast array of wildlife that you will encounter through the trails. Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens also contains a number of domesticated animals such as pheasants, a swan, a 100 pound catfish, cats, a squirrel, and much more.
Their first vineyard was planted in 1985 and has been the home of various different grapes such as the muscadine and fruit muscadines the have since been phased out. Also, the home of a wildlife refuge of ducks that may stay or go back to the wild after they are done nesting.
Devil's Den is a prehistoric spring that has previously uncovered many ancient fossils from the Pleistocene epoch. Many of these Fossils can now be found at the University of Florida's Museum of Natural History. After the owners bought the place in 1993, they turned this cavern into one of Florida's most popular sites for snorkeling and scuba diving. Visitors can spend the night by lodging in one of the many comfortable cabins or by setting up a tent on property grounds. There are also designated areas for those who wish to bring their RV's.
Levy County takes advantage of several travel mediums through which visitors can explore the area. A bicycle is a great option, horseback is something to remember, and a kayak adds some cool refreshing water to your workout. Check out these examples and look our for more in Levy County.