Savor Fresh Seafood, from Scallops to Saltwater Fish

Warm Gulf waters and pristine spring-fed rivers mean Citrus County touts an abundance of fresh seafood, from prized blue crabs to tender sea scallops. Have a seat at one of the many waterfront seafood restaurants or catch your own seafood during a fishing tour or scalloping expedition.

Scalloping in Citrus County



Beautifully delicate with a touch of brine and buttery smoothness, just-harvested scallops are a delectable gift straight from the ocean. Some people may compare the flavor and texture to crab or lobster, but one thing is for certain: these sweet, tender mollusks are a foodie favorite.

The season for scalloping in Citrus County runs from July to September, and adventurous snorkelers can hand-harvest scallops straight from the aquamarine waters of Crystal River and Homosassa just a few miles out from the Gulf of Mexico.

Want to try it for yourself? Come armed with a saltwater fishing license, mesh bag, and snorkel gear, and float along the water’s surface to peer into the seagrass beds waving in the shallow waters. Once you spot an elusive scallop, dive down, gently scoop it from the grass, and keep it in your mesh bag. This exhilarating scavenger hunt ends with a fresh seafood feast.

For an easy day on the water, or for first-timers, numerous local boat charters and guides offer guided scalloping charters that include all the gear you’ll need, including your fishing license. Each person is allotted up to 2 gallons of whole scallops (or 1 pint of scallop meat) per day, or each boat can have up to 10 gallons of whole scallops at any given time.

Inshore and Deep-Sea Fishing



For more fresh catches, reel in your dinner when you go fishing in Citrus County. Anglers will discover all kinds of fishing experiences, from peaceful days on the water solo to guided group tours.

For inshore fishing, the spring-fed waters of Crystal River and Homosassa Springs are renowned for being productive spots to land freshwater and saltwater species. Explore the salt marshes of Saint Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve for redfish, snook, trout, and tarpon. Freshwater fishing is also available at the Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes in nearby Inverness if you’re hoping to catch large-mouth bass, crappie, stripers, catfish, or bowfin.

If you’re vying for a thrilling offshore fishing expedition, the Gulf of Mexico provides ample opportunities to catch grouper, snapper, cobia, and kingfish. Take your pick from deep-sea fishing charters, which offer half-day and full-day excursions to offshore wrecks, reefs, and ledges.

For both freshwater and saltwater fishing, Florida requires anglers to have a fishing license, which can be purchased online or at local tackle shops. Charter services make it even easier, including your fishing license, tackle, bait, and all the fishing gear needed to reel in your catch.

Fresh Seafood Restaurants

Have a cooler full of your day’s catches? Many local restaurants offer “Cook Your Catch” specials so you can enjoy what you just caught—with the added benefit of friendly service and all the talents of a professional chef. Simply bring in your cleaned fish, and the cooks will take it from there.

But you don’t need to catch your dinner to enjoy fresh seafood. Citrus County is a paradise for seafood lovers, where you can enjoy all kinds of restaurants with daily fish specials, as well as waterfront views.

In Homosassa, The Freezer Tiki Bar partners with local fishermen and harvesters for juicy shrimp, Florida stone crabs and other seafood. Grab a seat by the water of this no-frills spot to watch the boats come in while you eat your dinner. Crumps Landing is another beloved spot for a casual dock-and-dine experience on the water, with live music and fresh seafood. Keep an eye out for seabirds and other wildlife.

Crystal River boasts even more options. Dine on the shores of Kings Bay while filling up on Southern coastal cuisine such as gator bites, crab cake, peel-and-eat shrimp, and even crab-stuffed chicken when you sit outdoors at Waterfront Social. Blue crab is the main draw at the rustic Peck’s Old Port Cove, but you’ll also find shrimp and grits, whole catfish, and oysters any way you want them: broiled, fried, blackened, sauteed or Cajun-style. Meanwhile, ice-cold raw oysters on the half-shell are what brings in the crowds at Kelly’s Half Shell Pub. Here you can indulge in fresh Gulf oysters served with your choice of toppings and accouterments—and the options are plentiful—paired with Irish-style beers and cocktails.

Find even more incredible restaurants in Crystal River and beyond.