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Lobster Mini-Season 2024!

Mini lobster season is about to kick off in the Florida Keys, and man are we ready to get our hands on some fresh Florida lobster!  The 2-day spiny lobster event is always the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July, with the regular season opening August 6th and ending March 31st.

Mini season started in the 70’s as a way to reduce conflict between lobster hunters and commercial lobster fishermen (commercial can set their traps August 1st).

A few insider tips:

  1. 6 per person per day for Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, 12 per person per day for the rest of Florida.
  2. Must have a minimum carapace length of greater than 3-inches and the measurement must take place in the water.
  3. Night diving is prohibited in Monroe County (only during the sport season)
  4. Harvest of lobster is prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the sport season and in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and in the Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary during both the 2-day sport season and regular season.
  5. Get your permits here!
  6. SeaSquared, Dream Catcher Charters, Florida Keys Reel Adventures, Far Out Fishing, Captain Doug Kelley and other charters are available to take you out!

Photo // Instagram // @tostansfortakeout

Florida lobster’s sweet and tender meat is great on its own by having it grilled, broiled, or even lightly fried.

Locals, and frequent visitors alike, know how crazy busy it can be out on the water during the week of and weekend after mini season – so if you aren’t one for fighting the crowds, but can’t wait to get your hands on some ‘bugs’, save yourself the hassle and take a trip to one of these fine establishments that did the work for you!

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Bagatelle, 115 Duval Street

Try their famous Lobster Mac & Cheese – fresh warm water lobster tossed in a creamy mac and cheese, on our Historic Seaport Tour! Rumor has it Bagatelle also offers this decadent dish for their daily happy hour for $5!


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Fisherman’s Café, 205 Elizabeth Street

Try the Lobster Enchilau Tacos – the enchilau is not to be confused with an enchilada – it is Florida lobster made in a rich, garlicky, tomato-y island sauce and served in a taco.  Insider tip…if you sign up on their website, the Fisherman’s Café will send you emails with coupons and special offers.

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Thirsty Mermaid, 521 Fleming Street

If creamy mac and cheese just isn’t your thing and you are looking for something on the lighter side – a must try is the Shrimp & Lobster Cakes at Thirsty Mermaid.  The cakes are just one of the fabulous items on this menu and are served with a light fennel citrus salad and a savory tarragon aioli.

And let’s not forget, the famous Key West Lobster Fest will be underway before we know it! The 22th annual crustacean celebration kicks off August 9th and will commemorate the start of the official Florida Keys lobster season with events highlighted by an open-air lobster feast on Duval Street. You can find a full schedule…or menu…of events here:

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We hope you get a chance to taste some of our favorite lobster inspired dishes around the island, and be sure to let us know if we missed any and what your must-do lobster stop is in Key West!