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But despite its out-of-the-way, end-of-the-road status, Cedar Key does draw its share of visitors. Bird-watchers flock to one of the oldest bird and wildlife refuges in the U.S., and those in the know come here for what has to be one of the most impressive can't-miss-restaurants-to-people ratios in the country.
Top 10 Boating States
Top boating states, ranked by total economic value in 2012, including popular destinations for on-water getaways from DiscoverBoating.com
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Turns out, imagination isn't far from reality. In fact, if you leave the growing populace of San Diego proper and head 30 minutes north, you wind up in a place that captures the classic, pre-21st century SoCal scene: Carlsbad. Not to say it's old-school; it's just dominated by beaches and boating instead of industry and commerce.
A lake in the middle of Daniel Boone National Forest doesn't seem like the ideal spring-break destination, but that's what first took me and a half-dozen friends to this clear, hideaway lake. We pitched tents in Twin Knobs Campground, which is run by the park, and launched a handmade boat from a handmade trailer on the nearby ramp.