UPDATED: November 2023. What do you think when you read Dixie County? Thinking that sounds like a place that does NOT have beaches? You would be wrong!
But don’t let that stop you from visiting. This is one of my favorite places in Florida to spend time at. Watch for the city limits sign as you enter the county.
From Horseshoe Beach to Shired Island Beach to Cedar Key to Steinhatchee. There are quite a few beautiful beaches to visit on this part of the Florida Gulf of Mexico.
Dixie County was created from the southern portion of Lafayette County in 1921. The name Dixie references the southern designation.
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This area and Taylor County provides some of the best saltwater fishing in the United States. Also, Steinhatchee and nearby Hagen’s Cove in are well-known during scalloping season. At Hagen’s Cove, you can literally walk out for miles from shore.
Dixie County is a small county with the Board of County Commissioners made up of 5 people.
You will also find some of the most scenic views on the Gulf. You may spot shrimp boats on the water and see some of the most beautiful sunsets.
The town of Horseshoe Beach is one of the coastal communities in the county. Small and quiet, you will find this quant town at the end of Dixie County Highway 351 with 0.45 square miles of area according to the census report.
Unfortunately, Hurricane Beach was directly hit by Hurricane Idalia last year and is currently still in recovery phase. The storm surge did tremendous damage to this little beach town in the Sunshine State.
Horseshoe Beach was settled in the early 1800s and sits in the middle of Florida’s Big Bend area. Halfway between the Suwannee River and the Steinhatchee River on the Gulf Coast.
This coastal town in the Sunshine State has quite the history. Early settlers, Timucua people groups residing between the Suwannee and Aucilla Rivers were the Yustaga and the Asile peoples.
The Timucua people fished, hunted, and collected shellfish in the 900s. These early settlers used the small islands offshore were used to as burial or ceremonial sites.
From the 1700s to the mid-1800s, the Seminole resided throughout Florida, including Dixie County. Permanent residents, the Butler, Hines, and Ward families, began settling the Dixie county area.
In the early 1900s, the land was owned by those with lumber interests and lumber companies, such as pine flatwoods and bottomland hardwoods. They would pressure the residents to leave so they could buy the land cheaply.
C C Douglas and Burton Butler purchasing the pasture of Horseshoe Beach in 1935 for $324 ($6750 in 2022) and offering residents lots at $10 each ($210 in 2022). In addition to the residents, they offered each lot that a squatter was living on for $10.
It is quite remote but a friendly fishing village nonetheless. If you are looking for white sand beaches, you will not find them at this beach.
Make sure you have plenty of gas before venturing down the road because you won’t find a gas station, although there is a general store.
Now, if fishing is your thing, this is a good place and one of the top things people come to vacation for. There is even a tackle shop right and full-service marina at the beach.
The boat ramp is Main Street Boat ramp for those that want a boat launch for fishing.
Although this town and unique small community has become more populated, it is still a fishing and boating community. This area is part of the Big Bend paddling trail and well-loved by those that love to kayak and canoe.
Accommodations may be found in nearby Cross City. A favorite is Putnam Lodge, which proudly displays a sign that reads “where good folks come to meet.” You will also find a public library in Cross City as well as a small athletic field.
The supervisor of elections for the county is also located in Cross City. Although this golf cart community is small, it still provides leadership development, local projects, team building, local commerce and other desired information to boost the local economy.
A bit behind and not the first to implement Florida Law, Martha Mccaskill is voice of Dixie County Fair Housing Advocate.
Although vacation rentals are not included, if you are looking for a place to rent or buy, and you feel you have been discriminated against for any reason, please contact the Dixie County Fair Housing Advocate.
The government office also has an ADA coordinator to make sure that people with disabilities can access the information they need on the county website. If you come across an inaccessible feature, please contact the county, and they will provide you with an alternative means to get the information you need.
The mailing address is 214 NE 351 Hwy, PO Box 2600, Cross City, FL 32628. The phone number is 352-498-1206. Website is: Dixie County
Fun fact, the county hosts a swamp cabbage cook off annually. The other name for this Florida State tree is cabbage palms, which in the center is heart of palms.
Old Town, about 10 miles or so from Cross City, is one of those place that will have you thinking you are in the deep south. In this old Florida town, you will find the Nature Coast State Trail that used to be a railroad line.
The Nature Coast State Trail is a favorite of hikers and bikers and is also near Fanning Springs and Manatee Springs. This trail is part of the Andrews Wildlife Management Area.
If hiking is your thing, and you are not afraid of being out in no man’s land, the Dixie Mainline Trail must be on your list. This is one of the most remote trails along the coastline of Dixie County.
Shired Island Beach
Shired Island Beach is in a secluded area of the Florida Gulf. Part of the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, at first glance it doesn’t appear to offer much. But that would be wrong.
Shired Island Beach is a great place for wildlife viewing and walking along the shoreline. I was lucky enough to not only see dolphins in the water but also several bald eagles overhead.
There is also a campground located on this beach. But do not try to make reservations. It is first come, first served. RV hookups, tent camping, picnic tables and even a fishing pier.
This waterfront park is very laid back but also one of the best places for star gazing. Also right around the corner from the park is one of the county boat ramps for easy launching.
If you are staying at Shired Island or nearby Horseshoe Beach and have your kayak, you will want to launch at Fishbone Creek. This creek will take you to Horseshoe Cove.
A beautiful paddle through salt marsh to and open water that will take you to the grassy shore of hammock island. Dolphins, mullet, egrets and more as you enjoy the paddle.
If you are looking for natural Florida, you will find it in Salt Creek. Salt Creek is in the town of Suwannee and also part of the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge.
Fishing is the main attraction, but you will also find some pretty good options for restaurants featuring local seafood.
The following will help you plan your trip to Dixie County
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Denise Sanger lives a life split between her love for fitness and her passion for travel particularly to the BEACH. Denise also has a love of marketing and lives in beautiful Suwannee County, Florida. You can find out more about Denise here: About Denise