Our Communities

A week after Florida became the nation’s 27th state, Levy County was created by the state Legislature on March 10, 1845, becoming Florida’s 27th county.

It is named for former U.S. Senator David Levy Yulee, who at the time was a territorial delegate to Congress. Eventually becoming president of the Florida Railroad Company, it was he who helped build the state’s first railroad, which went from Cedar Key east to Fernandina.


Yulee also developed a network of other railways, earning him the nickname “father of Florida railroads,” according to the Bibliographical Directory of the United States Congress.

Levy County is comprised of eight incorporated cities and towns: Bronson, Cedar key, Chiefland, Fanning Springs, Inglis, Otter Creek, Williston and Yankeetown. The communities are as diverse and rich in history as the people who live and work here.

Go to the map below and click on each icon to learn more about our communities. 

Bronson became the county seat in 1869, replacing the ghost town of Levyville which, like many towns at the time, disappeared after the railroad bypassed it. Bronson now houses the county courthouse and constitutional officers such as the Property Appraiser and Tax Collector. Numerous other county offices are located here as well, including the planning department and attorney’s office.

Bronson is between Chiefland to the west and Williston to the east, with US Alternate 27 connecting all three. Small shops and restaurants line the main road, with the Bronson Speedway north of town. Nearby cities include Gainesville (about 24.5 miles) and Ocala (38 miles).

Cedar Key
This island community – named for the Eastern red Cedar tree — is a story by itself dating back to even before the time pirates prowled off the coast and, as the legend goes, hid some of their treasure nearby. Artifacts collected around the area show human habitation going back to 500 BC.

The Seminole Indians lived here, and numerous pirates were said to have frequented the area. Aside from being the site of the state’s first railroad, Cedar Key boasts the title of No. 1 producer of farm raised clams; shellfish is the biggest industry here.

A popular tourist spot, shops and restaurants line Dock Street, where a kayak and paddleboard rentals or a fishing charter can provide exploration to the surrounding islands in the Gulf of Mexico. The George T. Lewis general aviation airport is also east of town.

The airport was used for air and sea rescue operations on World War II; it is miles from the Gainesville Regional Airport and 43 miles from the Ocala International Airport.

The city literally translates to “land of chiefs” from the Timucua tribes who lived in the area during the pre-Columbian days. The city’s economy has historical ties to agriculture, timber – including turpentine in the 1800’s – and aquaculture. One of the county’s largest commercial hubs, many chain hotels and restaurants are located along US Highway 19, running north to south through town.

Nearby attractions are Manatee Springs State Park and Fanning Springs State Park, with combined annual attendance of close to 500,000. The 32-mile Nature Coast Trail also provides recreational opportunities for bicyclists, roller bladers and joggers as it runs from the city to nearby Cross City and Trenton. An equestrian trail also parallels a portion of the NCT.

Fanning Springs
Located along the famed Suwannee River, Fanning Springs is the northern gateway into Levy County from US 19. It began in the mid-1800’s as a steamboat port with a post office and a few other establishments.

It has grown into a picturesque community with the popular Fanning Springs State Park and the nearby Fort Fanning Historical Park across the road. The spring produces between 40 to 60 million gallons of water a day; the fort was occupied by soldiers during the Second Seminole War.

Take a trip down the Withlacoochee River and you’re bound to see remnants of this small town’s significant past; shrimping and fishing boats. While the community’s economy is not as centered on fishing and shellfish as it once was, it still has its place.

The location is a popular one for sportsmen – whether for fresh or saltwater fishing – or hunting. The nearby Ross Hammock Ranch has hosted hundreds of celebrities, corporate executives and others looking for an unforgettable outdoor experience.

Small bed and breakfasts, lodges and shops line Follow That Dream Parkway (County Road 40), where filming was done for the Elvis Presley movie the roadway is named after. Crystal River is 10 minutes to the south, while Dunnellon is about 15 minutes east; Ocala is another 20 minutes after that.

Otter Creek
This small town of about 100 was actually the second largest municipality in the county in its heyday between 1930-1940. Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto is believed to have travelled through the area in search of gold in 1539.

With the departure of a prominent lumber mill and the abandonment of two railroads, the town declined in population in the mid-20th century. Several existing homes date back to the 19th and 20th centuries.

The largest city in the county, Williston is a hub of business activity and events. Several prominent manufacturers – including A&N Corporation and the world headquarters of Monterey Boats – are based here.

The city’s story begins  in the mid-19th century with its founding by Jesse Mercer Willis. Willis was born in 1822 in Effingham, Ga. to Joseph and Prudence Willis. Ancestral records say he was orphaned at a young age, coming to Nassau County, Fla. when he was 10-years-old before eventually finding Levy County in 1853. At the age of 21, he “homesteaded, purchased land and settled his family” according to a headstone in the cemetery he is buried in at the site of his former home east of present day downtown.

Willis married Dorothy Craig Crozier and had 12 children, according to records, with the cemetery marker noting his service as a farmer, merchant, teacher and church deacon. He was also the county’s tax collector and postmaster for the town, which was first incorporated in 1875, six years before Willis’ death in 1881. His headstone states Willis was “widely known and loved for his compassion and good deeds.”‘

These days, numerous attractions offer a variety of activities, from the Two Tails Ranch that is home to a number of rescued elephants, to Devils Den and Blue Grotto dive sites. Kirby Family Farm has restored a steam locomotive to run on its own private railroad.

The former Montbrook Army Airfield housed a few bomber squadrons during World War II before being decommissioned and deeded to the City. It now serves as a municipal airport with two large hard-surface runways, as well as houses an industrial park with numerous companies including A&N and Monterey.

Williston also is home to the Regional General Hospital and the popular Ivy house Restaurant, and annually holds the Peanut Festival in honor of one of its largest produced crops.

This small town is Inglis’ neighbor, west on County Road 40, which terminates at a public boat ramp to the Gulf of Mexico. Quiet neighborhoods are adjacent to or near the Withlacoochee River, with a marina and a few other eco-tourism related businesses interspersed.

The Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve is a popular spot for its boardwalk and trails, educational center and observation tower overlooking saltmarshes and the Gulf in the distance.