Launch from the downtown's ramp to Atsena Otie Is. or from the small airport (at high tide) to North Key. These are totally deserted and wild islands with great beaches. It is shallow with possible mud flats at low tide.
North Key's beach is very private and deserted. There is no fresh water or any development. Swim suits can be optional if you are so inclined. Bring plenty of fresh water, 4 gal in a five gal jug tied to boat. Bring a compass (in case of fog), flares, smoke, whistle, PFDs of course, bug repellant, and leave a precise float plan with other people.
Cedar Key's islands are great by canoe or kayak in the shallow bay on the tidal Gulf of Mexico. You should have the island all to yourself, especially N. Key. I've been out there overnight many times and saw no one else except dolphins, especially during weekdays. Paradise for introverts, nature lovers, sunbathers, and meditation. LEAVE NO TRASH and pay attention to the tide schedules. It's better to use the tides to assist your paddling direction.
Cedar Key has many restaurants and a few motels. It is quaint and laid back.
Drive west on Rt. 24 from Gainesville, FL/I-75
www.fws.gov/cedarkeys/index.html and others