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A Guide to Florida Stone Crab

Florida stone crabs, aka “stonies,” are just as sought after as Italian truffles. Every fall, when harvesting season begins, two festivals in Opal destinations celebrate this fan-favorite tender claw meat. Why all the hubbub? For many, it’s simply the sweet taste; for others, part of the appeal is the unique sustainability that makes stone crabs one of the most sustainable fisheries in all the world. A hint on how it’s so sustainable: fishermen harvest just one claw — and you’d never know the difference in a year since they are able to regenerate. Read on for some of the most interesting tidbits on this tasty morsel.


The Coveted Stone Crab Taste

Stone crabs may venture up north along the East Coast, but the very best can be found in Florida, mainly along the Gulf Coast. Harvested from mid-October to mid-May, they’re known for having a unique, sweet flavor unlike other varieties of crabs along the coast. Typically served cold, their flaky meat is similar to that of a lobster or shrimp, but is firmer than other types of crab.

The Uniquely Sustainable Stone Crab

When it comes time to ordering Florida stone crab claws, rest assured that you’re actually ordering one of the most sustainable items on the entire menu. Here’s why: These crabs grow their claws back! To help their catch be able to protect itself, fishermen crack off just one claw at the joint before returning the crabs to their home waters. That way, they’re able to still protect themselves on the ocean floor, and the harvested claw grows back in about a year. 

How Stone Crab Claws Are Served

Order stone crab claws in a restaurant, and they will most likely come plated cold with just a traditional mustard dipping sauce or sometimes a sole wedge of lemon. However, some places serve the stone crab claws steaming hot with a side of melted butter for dipping, the same way a Maine lobster is served.


Naples, Florida

Each October, Naples’s annual Stone Crab Festival kicks off the season with a weekend of live music, trolley tours, and, of course, ample servings of stone crab claws. Combined with drink specials, arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities, and water boat excursions, there’s something for everyone.

Clearwater, Florida

Frenchy’s Annual Stone Crab Weekend boasts fresh-off-the-boat stone crab claws at rock-bottom prices, live music, food and drink specials, and raffles for prize packages at this three-day block party in Clearwater Beach. Host your own Stone Crab Weekend by ordering your own selection of claws and sauces from their website to enjoy while watching a livestream of the Clearwater Beach sunset from Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill.

Where to Stay

Edgewater Beach Hotel | Opal Sands Resort | Sandpearl Resort

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