Florida is well-known for its year-round, world-class seafood. People travel from all around the world to try the state’s shrimp, salmon and crab. What many don’t know is that it is the only state that offers stone crab dishes. While you plan your trip to Fort Myers and stay in one of our beachfront rentals, why not learn about the famous stone crab season in southwest Florida? We’ve got all the information you’ll need, from when the season starts and finishes to where to find the tastiest crab claw dishes in town. After filling up on this delicious delicacy, be sure to check out the awesome flea markets in Fort Myers Beach.
When is Stone Crab Season?
The season runs from October 15 to May 15 every year.
Florida is the only US state legally allowed to harvest and sell stone crabs commercially. So, trying some of these delicious crab claws is something of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Plus, stone crab claws are a truly unique dish, completely unlike regular crab meat.
It’s obvious why no trip to Florida is complete without experiencing Stone Crab Season!
Why are Stone Crabs a sustainable seafood?
Sustainability is crucial in this day and age. Many people are surprised to learn that stone crab harvesting is one of the most sustainable fishing industries. Crabs can regenerate their claws, so in this industry, crabs are released alive after being harvested.
Because crabs are harvested for their claws alone before being released back into the ocean to regenerate, stone crab season is a sustainable alternative to the harvesting of whole crabs. It usually takes 1-2 years for a crab to regenerate its claws. Plus, crab harvesters are only allowed to take one claw from each crab to help the crab’s chances of survival.
Top 5 Local Restaurants that Offer Stone Crab Claws
Here are a few of our favorite stone crab hotspots in the city and surrounding area. All of these amazing restaurants serve up some of the freshest, tastiest stone crab claws in the state for the entirety of stone crab season. Be sure to add one or two of these to your trip agenda.
Matanzas on the Bay
This waterfront restaurant promises stunning ocean views and some of the most delicious stone crab claws in Fort Myers. Enjoy a generous portion of crab claws on their sunny terrace overlooking the water.
Lobster Lady is a market and bistro that serves up freshly caught seafood in Cape Coral. You’ll love the charming atmosphere, extensive wine list and, of course, delectable stone crabs. Be sure to book in advance as Lobster Lady books up fast.
Blue Dog Bar & Grill
Blue Dog is situated in Matlacha, just half an hour from Fort Myers. Famous for its locally sourced seafood, this spot serves up traditionally cooked stone crab in a friendly, neighborhood atmosphere. This local gem is well-worth the trip to Pine Island.
Skip One 41
Name after the original owner’s boat, this restaurant and market is the real deal. Specializing in local shrimp, this is also a great place to get your stone crab fix. It’s just a few miles from Fort Myers, so don’t skip Skip One 41.
Izzy’s Fish & Oyster
This laid-back, hip eatery is inspired by New England cuisine and made with local Florida ingredients. You’ll love trying stone crab is this atmospheric Fort Myers restaurant. Plus, Izzy’s has an incredible bar with plenty of delicious cocktails on offer.
Finding Fort Myers Accommodation
After filling up on stone crab, head back to your home away from home. With one of our gorgeous Fort Myers beachfront vacation rentals, you’ll be treated to incredible views and comfortable accommodation for the entirety of your trip. The whole family will be able to relax and kick back after a busy day of exploring. We even have Fort Myers beach pet friendly rentals available if you want to bring your four-legged family member along for the trip too. If you’re wondering what to do in Fort Myers once you’ve had your fill of stone crab, check out this fantastic list of ideas.