For those wishing to escape to a simpler place and time, Mermaids Landing offers affordable cottage accommodation in a serene setting reminiscent of old Florida. Nine quaint cracker-style cottages painted in colorful beach hues stand at the waters edge or beneath the shade of giant cedar trees. Built in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the cottages have been updated with the comfort of modern amenities while retaining many of their original features such as painted wood floors and natural yellow pine paneling.
Located in the unique island community of Cedar Key, Mermaids Landing overlooks a shallow bay sheltered by the grassy shores of small uninhabited islands. Our guests find it to be a great place to kayak, watch the sunrise over the water or shore birds feeding in the evening. Cedar Key is connected to the mainland by a narrow land bridge and boasts a delightful combination of breathtaking natural location, historic charm and relaxed artistic chic. With only about 700 local residents, the town spends its week days in sleepy seclusion but comes alive on the weekend when the population swells with visitors.
Unlike crowded Tampa to the south and the trendy glitz of the northern beaches, this section of Florida's coast has changed little in the last hundred years. Perhaps the area owes this good fortune to its tranquil but shallow waters dotted with keys and oyster bars.
From the tang of salt air and the cry of water birds to the resident felines, Aubigine and Amelia, who haunt the shady garden, Mermaids Landing exudes the atmosphere of forgotten childhood vacations. We know you will love our special charm and location. Drop your cares at our door and let us romance you back to a simpler time.
The Legend of Mermaids Landing
Local legend has it that while walking the railway bridge which once crossed our shallow bay, famed 19th-century naturalist John Muir -- some say in the throes of a malaria-induced delirium -- caught sight of a mermaids tail . The story goes that when Muir recovered from his ague, he tore up the notebook page where he had written lavishly of his vision. But not before a friend glimpsed the passage where Muir described the "glistening green scales and the flash of golden hair" which his "fevered eyes beheld" while cooling his brow against the metal bridge.
The nine cottages at Mermaids Landing range from cozy one-rooms for two and four people, to a four-room house which sleeps six to eight comfortably.
All cottages have cable TV, air conditioning and heat.
When you are ready to coax yourself away from days of sunning in our garden or sitting on our dock, there's plenty to do close by at Cedars Keys authentic wharf area, historic district, public beach, city dock and fishing pier, gourmet restaurants and shops -- all just a 6-8 block walk or cycle ride from Mermaids Landing.
Where's the beach?
Water activities of all kinds abound in Cedar Key. There is a public beach area several blocks from Mermaids Landing, although we caution visitors not to expect white sand and turquoise water. Cedar Key is not a beach resort, but shallow swimming beaches can be found on the surrounding keys.
Restaurants serving breakfast, lunch and dinner are located less than two blocks away. We recommend the smoked mullet and spread, an island tradition. Gourmet restaurants, most specializing in seafood, are located in the wharf and downtown area, several blocks away.
Cedar Key is famous for its artists community and boasts many galleries and fine gift stores displaying the wares from local talent. Many paintings, sculptures and work in other mediums reflect the natural heritage of the area and make wonderful gifts or souvenirs.
The slower pace of Cedar Key makes it an ideal place to cycle, especially in the historic downtown area. Complimentary bicycles are available for our guests.
The downtown area of Cedar Key was established in the 1860s and many historic buildings remain. The area retains an authentic historic flavor, with most of the buildings in use as homes or businesses. The Old Cedar Key Walking Tour (guide available at the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum) encompasses 54 historic homes, churches, commercial buildings, markers and sites. The tour takes approximately two hours to complete on foot, but be sure to allow for stops at restaurants or gift shops housed in historic buildings. Bring your camera.
Cedar Key is a paddlers paradise of shallow waters, abundant golden water grasses, untouched islands and a minimum of boat traffic. Paddle for just a few hours or a whole day. Lunch on a secluded island, or even arrange to stay overnight on lovely Clark Island. Launch right from the waters edge just yards from your cottage. Bring your canoe or kayak or kayak rentals are available at the City Park.
Birds watching is as natural to Cedar Key as fresh seafood and exotic sunsets. From unafraid pelicans and herons hoping for a free meal on the fishing pier to secluded island rookeries, Cedar Key is a bird-watchers haven. Most of the islands, or keys, which dot the waters around the bay are protected by the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is one of the largest nesting areas in Florida for colonial birds with over 250 species identified. Expect to see white ibis, brown pelican, common and snowy egrets, great blue and tri-colored heron and the double-crested cormorant. Osprey nest in taller trees on the refuge islands and can be seen diving for fish. Bald eagles are nest on the islands trees. The keys can be visited by paddle, shallow-draft motor boat or aboard one of the Islands tour boats. Some islands are off-limits during nesting season.
If you love to fish, Mermaids Landing is the place for you! Whether you fish from our shore, the public wharf in downtown Cedar Key, the island beaches, take a motor boat offshore or a sneak into tidal creeks in a kayak, we know you'll appreciate our abundance of mullet, speckled trout, redfish, flounder and sheepshead. Less common are cobia, tarpon, tripletail and grouper. Fishing guides are available, but we recommend booking ahead. *Note: Some species are only available seasonally or offshore.*