Last updated on February 19th, 2020 at 05:55 pm
The historic fishing village of Everglades City showcases its catch every year at the annual Everglades Seafood Festival. This year’s festival was held in early February.
Next year’s dates: February 12, 13 and 14, 2021
This free event in Florida’s Stone Crab Capitol 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) for the three-day event.
To quote my wife: “I’ve never seen so much seafood!”
Scenes from this year’s Everglades Seafood Festival
Everglades City 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 neoclassical City Hall once served as Collier County’s main courthouse until the county’s population shifted north to 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.
Stay up to date on entertainment and daily events at the Everglades Seafood Festival’s Facebook page.
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.
Tamiami Trail makes a scenic route to Everglades City. Read more: — Scenic drive through the Everglades.
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.
Hot tip: No pets, no coolers and be prepared to walk.
RV and/or tent camping:
- Collier Seminole State Park
- Chokoloskee Island Park
- Outdoor Resorts of Chokoluskee Island
- Big Cypress Preserve — 6 campgrounds
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 Hotels.com: Find a room in Everglades City
Things to do near Everglades City:
- Everglades Seafood Festival website
- Loop Road: Storied road through the Everglades
- Eating stone crabs in Everglades City
- Clyde Butcher’s Big Cypress Gallery
- Ochopee Post Office
- Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe
- Big Cypress National Preserve
- Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk
- Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park