The weekend guide to scalloping in Steinhatchee, Florida
Summer Summer Summer tiiimmmeeee. Summertime! haha Sorry sometimes I speak with lyrics. Anyways, summertime is my absolute favorite! Mainly for vacay season. Amiright? We’ve been traveling like crazy around here (you can follow along on social media with #VGBtravels) and I’m so excited to share our trip to Steinhatchee, Florida with y’all! I know you’re probably saying, “WHERE?!” That’s the best part! It’s a little gem of a secret scallop gold mine! If you’re a scallop fan, you have to go to Steinhatchee. And by go, I mean now, like run! Steinhatchee is great. It’s casual – golf carts, swimsuits, suntans, ocean hair, the gulf, gorgeous sunsets, scallops (lots and lots of scallops), and where strangers become fast friends. It’s definitely an experience I’ve turned into an annual tradition. Scallop season starts June 27th and runs until September 24th. Yes scallop season, where you go scalloping. Don’t worry I’ll explain…
A few weekends ago we took a road trip from Atlanta, GA to Steinhatchee, Florida. It’s about a 5 hour drive depending on how fast you drive and how many times you stop. I’m a frequent stopper. I just can’t help it. It’s like the tacky stores, fruit stands, and big gas stations with their million trinkets call to me. I wanted to cut down on my stops this year and try to be healthy (aka not stop at every Dairy Queen we passed) so we packed a snack bag for the car! My trainer would be so proud.
I headed to Walmart to load up on road trip essentials and snacks. You know the usual, car chargers (duh – did you see that snap of all my charger cords on our snapchat? lol), a good book, games, floats for Steinhatchee, a cooler, and my favorite snacks! Then we packed up the car and headed South!
Check out our weekend in Steinhatchee, Florida!
Where To Stay
You’re going to want to book in advance! Steinhatchee is an extremely small town and when scallop season rolls around you’ll have a hard time finding somewhere to stay if you don’t know a local. There aren’t any hotels… well maybe a motel, but it’s best to book a house through the marina. Look to Sea Hag Marina, River Inn Marina, or VRBO. And ultimately look for a place as close to the Marina as possible. I rented the Pink Octopus one year and it’s the cutest little pink house right across from the Sea Hag Marina! There’s even a “community” pool out back which was a major plus!
When you first get there make sure you head to the marina and get a 3 day Florida fishing license for $16. If you don’t know a local or have a friend with a boat, make sure you rent a boat ahead of time also. It’s around $100-$199 for 1/2 day to a full day.
Food + Drink
Since there aren’t any hotels and the places you’ll be staying typically have a kitchen, I recommend buying snacks for the boat and breakfast because you’ll want a snack after scalloping!
There’s a few places you want to go while you’re in Steinhatchee. Who Dat Bar & Grill, Roy’s Restaurant, and Kathi’s Krabs. There’s even a Hungry Howie’s you can pull the boat up “curb side”. My personal favorite for drinks and late night is Crabbie Dad’s! It’s a MUST! I’m not going to say anything else besides it’s a local experience! Make sure to sign a dollar bill and put it on the ceiling! Ours is still there so when you’re at the bar, look up!
You can also cook your own scallops or freeze them and take them home!
Scalloping is so much fun! Being out on the water is even more fun and being a part of the experience, catching your own food, while making memories is priceless! As soon as the sun comes up there is what the locals call “a boat parade” out to the gulf. If you rented a place on the water it’s so fun to sit on the porch and watch the boats come in and out.
We like to head out around 10am. When you head North about 15-20 minutes, you’ll be all smiles because you see hundreds of boats lined up on the horizon and the excitement overcomes you! It’s indescribable. We even passed a few dolphins last weekend! Just seeing all the boats in the water is amazing!
Scalloping is done in about 2-3 feet of water. You can see the bottom which is usually tall grass or sandbars. It’s like an adult easter egg hunt once you get in the water. Literally. Just snatch and grab and fill your bag!
There is a limit to how many you can catch. It’s 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person. The max per boat is 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat. Make sure you have a snorkel, swim mask, small mesh bag, and fins. You’ll also need a bucket to keep the scallops you catch alive. You can either fill it with ice or gulf water. I wouldn’t recommend cleaning them on your first time out. Just bring your scallops back to the marina and pay the $7 to have them cleaned for you. Grab a beer at the Tiki Hut while you wait.
Steinhatchee Roadtrip + Scalloping Essentials
- Cheerios™ for the car ride, boat, and breakfast! There are so many options you can stock up and never be bored!
- A fishing license and a boat!
- Gear: snorkle, swim mask, fins, small mesh bag, buckets.
- Sunscreen! You’re face down in the water all day and your back will fry if you don’t lather up and protect your skin.
READ NEXT: Guide to Miami