Get Crackin': Florida's Stone Crab Season, Where to Eat and How to Celebrate
Ready. Set. Crack!
Florida’s stone crab season is in full swing. That means you can find the succulent crustaceans on menus at restaurants throughout Florida from the Panhandle to The Keys.
You can’t mistake stone crabs for any other seafood. The small rock hard crabs are brownish red with black tipped claws.
Official stone crab season begins mid October and runs through mid May. While stone crabs can be found throughout Florida waterways, but the majority are harvested in the Southeast and Southwest region of the state, as well as the Florida Keys. Florida supplies 98 percent of the country’s stone crab supply.
This year’s stone crab season is especially precarious because of Red Tide. Marine scientist and crabbers alike were anxious to see how the algae would affect the stone crab season. And with good reason. So far, supplies of stone crab are low across the state, which means you may pay a little more for your claws.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t find them.
But first, a few things to know about stone crabs:
- Traditionally the claws of the stone crab are served chilled with a signature mustard unique to Florida.
- Stone crabs are harvested by removing the claw while the crab is alive.
- Don’t worry the stone crab regenerates their claws.
The name says it all. Billy’s Stone Crab Restaurant in Hollywood, Fla. is known as one of the only restaurants providing All You Can Eat Stone Crabs. Located along the Intracoastal waterway, Billy’s also provides great views of boats passing by and wildlife. Billy’s is so popular you can purchase stone crabs from their website. Turn your stone crab excursion into a weekend getaway. Take a boat tour around Hollywood, Fla. and book a nights stay at the nearby Home2 Suites By Hilton in Miramar.
You may be in Ft. Myers, but you’ll feel like you’re in a seaside seafood eatery on Cape Cod when you step inside Izzy’s Fish & Oyster. Izzy’s boasts an expansive bar, varied menu and great location smack dab in the middle of Ft. Myer’s historic district. The restaurant is frequently listed among the best places to get stone crabs in Ft. Myer’s. Head over to Izzy’s on the first Friday of the month when Ft. Myer’s downtown host its monthly artwalk. Make a weekend of it by staying at the nearby Fairfield Inn & Suites Ft. Myers Cape Coral.
Naples, FL is also a great spot to taste this delicious shellfish. Truluck's is famous for their "All You Can Eat" deal every Monday throughout the season and situated along downtown's iconic 5th Avenue. At the start of season you can attend the town's official Stone Crab Festival with bites, drinks, and live music. Get a great room near the beach with on-site bicycle rentals, great to take a ride to the festival or 5th Avenue, at the Best Western Naples Inn & Suites.
Want a more hands-on experience? Why not try to catch your own stone crabs.
Stone Crabs can be found in shallow areas of the water including rocky areas including inlets around docks and bridges. Stone crabs burrow, so you’ll have to coax them out of their holes. Claws must be at least 2.75 inches. Read more Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission guidelines for Stone Crabs. Jacksonville Beach is a great place to go Stone Crabbing. Spend the night at Hampton Inn Jacksonville Ponte Vedra Beach after a long day of crabbing.