Lobster Season 2022 is Here: What You Need to Know
Key West’s spiny lobster season is just around the corner! In tow is mini lobster season, Key West Lobsterfest, and of course, spiny lobster appearing in dishes across the island. Don’t know where to start? Let us be your Florida lobster season 2022 guide.
Mini Lobster Season 2022: July 27 - 28
Mini lobster season is like a pre-game to the regular lobster season that begins August 6. What is it exactly? The annual, two-day event allows recreational fishermen to catch spiny lobsters before the big commercial boats. This year, the mini lobster season falls on July 27 - 28.
Mini lobster season isn’t exactly a free-for-all. There are rules that are enforced both on and off-water. Brush up on the Monroe County mini-season requirements to ensure you enjoy the mini lobster season and play by the rules.
Key West Lobsterfest 2022: August 11 - 14
There’s no better way to celebrate spiny lobster season than with a lobster boil at the Key West Lobsterfest. In its 25th year, the event draws lobster lovers to Key West to partake in chowing down on one of the island’s favorite crustaceans. The biggest party of the summer features a lobster boil, lobster brunch, Duval Street beer crawl, street fair, live music, and more.
The annual lobster boil is set for August 11 at the historic Porter Mansion at 429 Caroline Street. The epic seafood spread includes fresh lobster, jumbo shrimp, andouille sausage, and more. There’s also the annual Duval Street Pub Crawl on August 12, with bars like Schooner Wharf, Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, and Durty Harry’s participating in the fun. While the pub crawl doesn’t have anything to do with lobsters per se, the $20 participation fee is a great way to kick off festivities and benefit the Key West High School's Scholarship Fund. Plus, you’ll receive a souvenir bottle opener and lanyard, drink specials at participating bars, and an official 25th annual Lobsterfest t-shirt.
Florida Lobster Season 2022: August 6 - March 31
Good news for out-of-towners: lobster season runs eight glorious months of the year. So if you’re planning a trip to Key West within that time frame, chances are you’ll see fishermen offloading fresh hauls of spiny lobster along the Key West Historic Seaport. You’ll also be able to sample the tasty crustacean on your dinner plate.
Spiny lobster isn’t as sweet as its northern cousin, nor does it have claws to yield claw meat - it’s all in the tail. The spiny lobster pairs well with other ingredients, and tastes more like crab legs than Maine lobster. Keep reading for some of the best places to eat lobster in Key West.
Catching Florida Spiny Lobsters
Into the idea of catching a lobster? Before heading out on the water, be sure to always verify dates and regulations with Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC). There are useful techniques to “tickling” a lobster out of its covered area. You’ll want to have a tickle stick, net, and a ruler to make sure your lobster is the legal size. Once you’ve located a lobster, use the tickle stick (a thin rod around three feet long, with an angled tip) on the tail to softly guide the lobster out of its hiding spot. Once the lobster exits, they will most likely swim backwards, so be sure to have your net positioned behind them.
If you’d like extra guidance, there are charters on the island led by fishermen versed in the art of catching spiny lobsters. Want to know what to expect? See Salt Strong’s guide to catching lobster in the Florida Keys without using scuba gear.
Where to Eat Florida Spiny Lobster in Key West
If you’re in the mood for lobster, put on a bib and get crackin’. Although Maine lobster is on the menu year round, spiny lobster can only be found when they’re in season. Choose from delicious Maine lobster dishes like lobster benedict at Blue Heaven, lobster mac n’ cheese at The Flaming Buoy Filet Company, overstuffed lobster rolls at DJ’s Clam Shack and ones with fresh key lime juice at The Lobster Shack, a lobster salad sandwich at The Blind Pig Food Truck, and lobster thermidor, lobster risotto, and lobster oscar at A&B Lobster House.
For spiny lobster, try places like Blue Heaven (who offers a surf n’ turf with filet and spiny lobster), Conch Republic Seafood Company (for a smooth and creamy Caribbean spiny lobster bisque), and The Stone Crab (to try their tender, whole Florida lobster filled with a sauteed seafood stuffing). We have more local lobster dish recommendations, from formal settings to counter-service lunch spots, in our guide to where to eat lobster in Key West. See how to eat Florida spiny lobster here.
Booking a trip to Key West this summer? Shuttle service to Old Town, The Blind Pig Food Truck, and an on-site rum bar, cigar lounge, and awesome pool area - The Gates Key West is in a class of its own. Check out our special summer offers online.