Last updated on December 9th, 2019 at 03:04 pm

Everglades Seafood Festival (Photo: Pat Williams)
Everglades Seafood Festival (Photo: Pat Williams)

Seafood lovers mark their calendars for the annual Everglades Seafood Festival, scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 7-9, 2020  in Everglades City, gateway to the Ten Thousand Islands.

This free event packs ’em in for fresh seafood, country music, carnival rides, crafts booths — with an estimated 50,000 people expected to attend to pack this small town (population 500) the three-day event.

Photo by Heather Culligan via Flickr

Everglades City, Florida’s “stone crab capital,” is an off-the-beaten-track pocket of Old Florida with many original buildings and a rich history steeped in the lore of pirates and smugglers, murder and mayhem, and some of the best fishing and freshest seafood anywhere in the state of Florida.

The old-fashioned neo-classical City Hall once served as Collier County’s main courthouse until the county’s population shifted north to nouveau Naples, 40 miles away. Everglades City, settled in the 1880s, has retained its small-town charm, if not it’s legendary character and characters.

The town’s first Seafood Festival was held in 1970 to raise money for playground equipment, and that charitable tradition is still alive and well with proceeds from the festival going to local causes and college scholarships for local students.

In addition to shiploads of fresh seafood served up by local fishermen and restaurants, this year’s festival will feature 100 arts and crafts booths, a carnival and continuous country music and bluegrass throughout the weekend.


Getting there

Traffic can be tricky, so arrive early and bring your patience. (Many avoid that problem  by arriving on motorcycle. This is a favorite group outing for motorcycle clubs from Miami and Fort Lauderdale.) Parking is provided by local charities within walking distance of the festival.

A few tips: No pets, no coolers and be prepared to walk.

The Tamiami Trail makes a scenic route to Everglades City — here’s our guide to that road.

From the north, you can also take I-75 south to Collier Boulevard (County Road 951), south to U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail), then east to State Road 29, which will take you south into Everglades City.

From the Atlantic Coast, take Alligator Alley (I-75) west to SR 29, then straight south to Everglades City.

To help plan your trip:

Nearby RV and/or tent camping:

Find a room:

The Ivey House and Everglades Rod and Gun Club are historic lodges in Everglades City that are popular with visitors. Check availability of rooms at these and other hotels on Find a room in Everglades City

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  2. Avatar
    brain smith

    The citizens of Everglades City,Plantation Island and Chokoloskee need your support this year more than ever!! Most families survive on the fishing industries, airboat revenue and/or hospitality trade!! We are fortunate to have a second home there, but our neighbors,
    are still to this day.. hurting!! PLEASE COME OUT AND SUPPORT THE SEAFOOD FESTIVAL!!
    Thank you,
    Brian 7 Mary Kate Smith
    Custom Coastal Furniture

  3. Avatar

    Thank you for echoing my feelings about the 2017 tee shirt.
    Hopefully the “tee shirt” designer has heard the message loud and clear.
    Some of my favorite tee shirts have been “Everglades Seafood” shirts.
    Let’s get back with the program.
    PLEASE….. Tell the story of Everglades City.
    Not just “paste-ups” from some advertisers.

  4. Avatar

    To whoever cares:
    I just got home from this year’s festival and I have to SCREAM from the highest mountain.
    By far (and I have been going to this festival for 35 years) this is the WORST tee shirt EVER.
    I only bought this because my granddaughter “lives” for this festival (as do I).
    The seafood festival tee shirt has always told the story of Everglades City. They are a memento
    This piece of KRAP looks like someone was watching the Super Bowl last weekend and remembered that the festival is next weekend
    and threw some little stamps on the back.
    I want whoever is in charge of the shirts fired and I want my money back.
    I have always worn my tee shirts proudly.
    This one I will not even wash my car with.

    I will be very surprised if anyone even responds to this.
    You should hang your head in shame.
    You better get someone who knows how to design a shirt for next year.

    Paul R. Perry
    4976 SW 94th Terr.
    Cooper City, FL. 33328

    • Avatar

      Your comments fit my feeling exactly so much that I got a big laugh about it. My wife and I have been going for as long as we can remember, back when the city cooked and served the food. When I brought mine, I was telling the people that work the stand what I thought (in a nice way) when they introduced the person that is in charge of the tee shirts and I let her know. This will go down along with the year they did not have souvenir cups.

  5. Avatar

    Very over priced, they wanted 45.00 a plate for the captains platter that I can eat by myself. We went back to the rv and fired up the grill and fed all of us for WAY less money

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