Jun 24, 2021 - Things to Do

How to take advantage of Tampa Bay's scallop season this summer

Sorting calico scallops, 1960. Photo: State Archives of Florida/Barron

July 1 marks the start of scallop season in the grass flats of Citrus and Hernando Counties, and for all you newcomers, scalloping is the most Real Florida thing you can do shy of wrastlin' a 'gator or catching mullet with your bare hands.

What's not to like? You snorkel in 6 feet of water, spot scallops and collect them. Then, later: you dine like a coastal king.

  • Plus, a full day on the water puts the kids into one of those hard sunburned sleeps that buys you about 12 hours of me time.

What to do: If you don't have a pontoon boat, rent one from somewhere like River Safaris or the Homosassa Springs Marina. Cost: $200-$250 for a full day. Grab some fins and snorkel gear, too.

  • Don't forget to ask lots of questions about the best spots to find scallops. The locals will know.
  • Then motor out to the flats, throw the kids overboard and have a ball.
  • Each person is limited to 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell and each boat is allowed a maximum of 10 gallons in shell, or about four pints of scallop meat.

To get them ready: Shuck them yourself, or look for the signs and pay one of the locals to do it 1,000 times faster.

  • Then sauté them in butter and lemon with some fresh herbs and serve over pasta.

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