Soft Shell Week elevates Outer Banks Full Moon Crab Craze, May 15-20

By on May 12, 2023

Nineteen OBX Restaurants Have Fun Recipes During May 15-20 Event

Outer Banks Soft Shell Week

The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau presents Soft Shell Week celebrating the coastal cuisine craze of eating naked blue crabs prepared in creative ways at nearly 20 original restaurants on the OBX, May 15-20, 2023. The six-day event is an inaugural nod to the first big “peeler crab” season that occurs naturally around the first full moon of May each year, when freshly molted blue crabs, which normally have a hard shell, are plucked from the water still soft, making them succulent to sauté, drizzle in sauce or deep fry among other preparations. “If there was a favorite seafood delicacy indigenous to the Outer Banks, soft shell blue crabs would be a title contender,” says Lee Nettles, Executive Director. “It’s a fun time to be here. Locals are trying to get their hands on the crabs at the fresh seafood markets, visitors are checking out the different soft shell cooking styles of our restaurants, and local commercial fishing men and women are putting in long hours day and night to catch enough for everyone involved before the spring molt ends.”

Soft Shell Week celebrates the blue crabs and Outer Banks culture surrounding the spring molt, when the crustaceans nearly double in size, just in time for Mother’s Day traditionally. “Fitting that the availability of the crabs is up to Mother Nature,” says Nettles. “Typically, it’s a few weeks in May and maybe June before the supply of fresh crabs switches from soft shells back to hard shells, which are more fit for steaming and crab boils, but they’re the same ubiquitous blue species. The nearly 20 restaurants participating will have a mix of plates featured on lunch or dinner menus, and patrons are encouraged to vote for their favorite restaurant using a QR code for the event. We’ve even got a trophy for the people’s choice with a crab on top to add a fun sense of pride for the winner. Check out the website to see a video about soft shell crabs, find a seafood market near you, or plan your meals for the week with descriptions and photos of soft shell creations found at participating event restaurants.”

To learn more and vote for your favorite restaurant dish, visit

The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau is a public authority and the lead marketing and promotional agency for Dare County’s Outer Banks, a 100 mile stretch of barrier islands off the North Carolina coast.

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