Skip To Content

Florida Scalloping Season Is Here!

Welcome to scalloping season! Rabell Realty Group loves adventure, so scalloping is one of the many activities that we take part in every summer. Join us this summer in scalloping around the west coast of Florida with these tips and tricks!

What are Scallops?

Florida bay scallop
This blue-eyed beauty hails from Florida’s gulf coast. Photo: Photo: Alicia Wellman/FWC

The Florida Bay Scallop is a Bivalve Mollusk that grows in the seagrass beds of the Gulf of Mexico. These scallops filter the salt water for nutrients that suspend in the water column and fall into the seagrass once they are fully developed. The creatures have 30 blue eyes that sense shadows, allowing them to open and close their shells.

Florida scalloping is an annual tradition dating back to at least 900 AD, and each summer thousands of locals and visitors alike travel to various locations around the state to partake in this activity.

When Is Scalloping Season in Florida?

Florida scalloping season begins in the summer and occurs on the West coast of Florida, from Pasco County through the Florida Panhandle in Gulf County. The official dates of scalloping season change each year, so make sure you are staying up to date to plan properly for your trip.

Florida Scalloping Season 2022

Below are the dates for this year’s Florida scalloping season.

Regional bay scallop seasons along Florida’s west coast and panhandle. Map courtesy FWC

Florida Regional Bay Scallop Seasons 2022

RegionStart DateEnd Date
Gulf County ZoneAug 16Sep 24
Franklin – NW Taylor CountyJuly 1Sep 24
Levy, Citrus and Hernando countiesJuly 1Sep 24
Pasco County ZoneJuly 15July 24

Keep It Legal

Before you dive in, here are a few rules and regulations to keep your scalloping adventure above board.


If you’re going scalloping on a personal boat, then a saltwater fishing license is a must-have. However, if you’re going on a guided tour, everything is taken care of for you. Fishing licenses are also not required if you wade in the shallow waters and harvest the scallops by hand with your feet planted on the ocean floor.

Daily Bag Limits

Gulf-NW Taylor County and Levy-Pasco County

  • Per Person: 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat
  • Per Vessel: Max of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1⁄2 gallon bay scallop meat (1⁄2 gallon = 4 pints)

Fenholloway through Suwannee River Zone

From June 15 – 30:

  • Per Person: 1 gallon whole bay scallops in shell or one cup shucked
  • Per Vessel: Max of 5 gallons whole or 2 pints shucked

From July 1 – Labor Day:

  • Per Person: 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat
  • Per Vessel: Max of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell, or 1⁄2 gallon bay scallop meat (1⁄2 gallon = 4 pints)

Note: Vessel Limits do not allow an individual to exceed their personal bag limit. For complete regulations and harvesting laws see Florida Fish and Wildlife’s article on bay scallops.

What to Bring

Here are the essential accessories you need for going scalloping this summer!

  1. Mask and Snorkel
  2. Fins
  3. Mesh Scallop Bag
  4. Dive Flag
  5. Gloves (Optional)
  6. Small Dip Net (Optional)

How to Harvest Scallops

Harvesting Florida bay scallops. Photo: FWC

The best water depth to find scallops in is 4-8 feet, and they are usually easiest to see in the area where the sand bottom meets the edges of the seagrass. Once you spot a seagrass bed, all you need to do is dock your boat, put up your dive flag, snorkel over to the beds, and use your hands or small dip net to scoop up the scallops and place them in your mesh bag. Be careful when grabbing them, because scallops can snap their shells closed very quickly and pinch you if you’re not cautious enough!

The best way to avoid this is to grab the scallops from the back, so you have a better chance of picking up the scallop without being spotted or pinched. It is also important to remember to continue moving, as scallops can swim away from you by squeezing their shells together and you can lose your opportunity to nab them.

When you get back to your boat, place the scallops immediately in a live well or in a cooler, on ice. It’s important to keep the scallops separate from the melting ice water, as this could cause them to die quickly, along with an increase in temperature. Keeping the scallops on ice for the duration of your excursion will also allow the scallops shells to open, making it much easier to prepare them once you get to shore.

Most Popular Places for Scalloping in Florida

Steinhatchee – Clear Waters, Wader-Friendly

Steinhatchee scallops
Steinhatchee scallops. Photo: Under the same moon… via Flickr

Often referred to as the “Sportsman Paradise” Steinhatchee is one of the best scalloping destinations in Florida. (Sportswomen are also most welcome!) Steinhatchee’s clear and shallow waters allow for prime opportunities to collect scallops by wading in the water along the beaches, as opposed to boating out and collecting scallops from their abundant scallop grounds, out of reach of wade-scallopers.

Crystal River Florida Scalloping – Most Popular Destination, Manatee Sightings Possible

Before it runs into the Gulf, Crystal River is fed by over 30 springs, crafting one of the best places for scalloping in Florida. Easy access to Crystal River Florida scalloping is provided by the several boat ramps in the area, and guided boat tours are available for those that do not have their own boat or accessories. Crystal River is also renowned for its manatee population!

Homosassa – Abundant Grassbeds and Charter Boats

The Homosassa area houses some of the best scalloping grounds in their abundant grass flats, which can be easily accessed through boats. Homosassa also has many guided tours and charter boats to ease the stress of bringing your own gear and getting your license.

Port St. Joe – Hosts the Florida Scallop Festival

One of the more hidden scalloping spots is tucked away in the Florida Panhandle. The annual Florida Scallop Festival is held here, as it is known as one of the best scalloping spots in Florida. Along with the abundance of scallop locations, Home to a variety of aquatic life, including starfish, tropical fish and other seagrass-dwelling species, Port St. Joe is definitely one of our favorite spots!

Further Reading and Final Thoughts

We hope that you found this article to be helpful and informative for your scalloping adventures this season. Bitten by the adventure bug? Check out our post on Last Minute Weekend Getaways within driving distance from Gainesville, FL.

For more information on Florida Scalloping, check out the Fourth of July episode of the Rabell Podcast.

Trackback from your site.

Leave a Reply