This big bend region of Florida is not the glitzy, sandy beach, condo-covered Florida that the state tourism board likes to tout. We are big on forests, rivers, springs, and relatively small communities. What has saved us from the rampant development ruining the rest of Florida is our "low-energy" coast. The confining curves of the upper Gulf coast prevent large waves from forming (except in hurricanes). There simply isn't enough "fetch" for large waves to form on a regular basis. The result of all this calm water is almost no sandy beaches. Instead of sandy beaches, we have mudflats, broad marshes of spartina and juncus grasses along the shore, and extensive submerged seagrass beds offshore. These submerged grass beds support an astounding variety of marine wildlife, including the bay scallop.
Scallop season runs from July to early September. During the season, you can snorkel over the grassbeds in clear, warm gulf water and gather the succulent bivalves (that would be the scallops) from the bottom.
It is a tremendous amount of fun and we usually make it an extended family event with lots of uncles, aunts, and cousins.
Weather permitting ,we hope to do some serious scalloping this weekend and I will post pictures of our adventures.
Oh, and if any family members are reading this, I promise not to amputate any body parts this year...