Scalloping is a great summer day trip.
Interested in doing something a little different for a summer day trip in Florida? Try scalloping with the family. The season runs from July-September and offers fun for all ages.
What is scalloping?
Think of scalloping as an underwater Easter egg hunt. First, you will take a boat to the seagrass, gear up, then dive in and swim or float around in 4 to 6 feet of water, above the area’s grass flats. You will enjoy the underwater views of the local sea life while searching for the scallop’s recognizable shell or, when the shell is open, you will easily spot its bright blue “eyes.” When you see one you can swim to pick it up with your hand or a small dip net– but be quick, they can swim away too!
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s regulations, the daily harvesting limit is two gallons of whole bay scallops in shell, or one pint of bay scallop meat per person.
Where do you go scalloping?
About two hours north of Sarasota, Citrus County offers many different locations for scalloping. We enjoyed our stay at the Plantation on Crystal River. The accommodations in the area range from hotel rooms, to campsites and vacation rental homes right on the water!
Homosassa Springs and Crystal River offer both accommodations and a variety of scalloping guides. The guides often provide snorkel gear, coolers of ice, and can take you to a location that is a good fit for your party size and age range. Many guides will also clean your scallops at the end of the day. Finally, there are quite a few restaurants that will cook them for you as well.
What do you need?
Scalloping requires spending time in the water so you will need a mask, snorkel, fins, mesh bag, and flotation devices for any of the little ones. Pool noodles can be helpful for younger swimmers. Our 2-year-old would wear his goggles and help us spot the scallops. Then one of us would dive deeper to collect it. If a snorkel is bothersome you can get away with goggles, but we found that it was easier to use the snorkel gear.
What else can we do in the area?
Crystal River and Homosassa Springs both offer many family activities, including fishing, wildlife viewing, swimming with manatees, and airboat rides. You can check out discovercrystalriver.com to learn more!