Deer Island

Deer Island is a beautiful barrier island with elevations as high as 14 ft above sea level. The parcel is 90 acres in total area, but approximately 45 acres lie below the mean high tide mark and are sovereign. Of the balance, approximately 25 acres are upland and 20 acres are wetland.

Standout features include a sandy beach facing the open Gulf, wooden dock, water well and storage tank/tower with treatment system, and two small sto ...

Deer Island is a beautiful barrier island with elevations as high as 14 ft above sea level. The parcel is 90 acres in total area, but approximately 45 acres lie below the mean high tide mark and are sovereign. Of the balance, approximately 25 acres are upland and 20 acres are wetland.

Standout features include a sandy beach facing the open Gulf, wooden dock, water well and storage tank/tower with treatment system, and two small storage buildings. A small camper is on the island for overnight stays.

The island is located inside the Big Bend Aquatic Seagrass Preserve and adjoins the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. The historic fishing villages of Cedar Key and Suwannee are 8 miles south and north of the island, respectively. Gainesville, home of the University of Florida, is 50 miles to the east. Access is by boat only, with deep water access on the northeast corner of island (the existing dock is on the southeast corner in shallower water).

A shallow-water ramp suited for launching kayaks and airboats at any tide is located at Shell Mound, 1.5 miles south of Deer Island, but larger boats should be launched at Cedar Key or Suwannee except at high tide. Most of the run from Suwannee to Deer Island is down the East Pass, which is protected from high winds that sometimes blow off the Gulf. And the fresh water of the Suwannee flushes salt from the motor upon return to the mainland.

Redfish, black drum, trout, and blue crab are abundant. The bay side of the island is fringed with salt marsh and oyster bars. The island is densely forested with large oaks, pines, cedars, and palms with an understory of coonties, wild coffee, palmettos and more. Approximately 1 acre on the south end of the island near the dock has been cleared (except for the trees) for the camp. A narrow unimproved road (a glorified trail!) runs north and south along the spine of the island.

According to an archeology professor at the University of Florida, Deer Island was inhabited at least intermittently by native Americans beginning several thousand years ago, and early Florida settlers reportedly camped and lived on the island, too. Four hearty souls identified Deer Island as home in the 1880 Levy County, Florida census. A house or cabin on the south end of the island that probably served as their home is depicted on the 1951 USGS Cedar Key Quadrangle map; only traces of the old structure remain. The current storage buildings occupy the sites of a former bunkhouse and shed, whose remains were carted off the island.

Power is currently supplied by generator, with plans for solar in the works. A 30-foot deck barge is included in the sale (it was used to bring the camper to the island and is rated to carry up to 12,500 pounds). The county will permit at least one house with no size limit, so long as an advanced secondary treatment septic system is used.

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