Ultimate Guide to Crab Island in Destin Florida

Crab Island Destin Florida

If you love fun activities that take place in the most beautiful crystal clear water you can find in the United States, then Crab Island is the place for you. Here is your Ultimate Guide to Crab Island in Destin Florida

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What is Crab Island Destin Florida?

You will quickly realize that Crab Island is not actually an island at all. (Spoiler alert: there aren’t really crabs there either.) Crab Island is actually a large underwater sandbar on Florida’s emerald coast. Some areas have shallow water, just 1 foot deep, and other areas have 4 feet deep water.

First, you pull up and anchor, and then you let the fun begin! On any given day, it is a perfect place to relax on a float, grab food from the various vendors, or make friends with other locals and tourists.

Flamingo Float Crab Island Destin Florida

There are tons of different vendors. You will find a boat with a general store if you want to do a little shopping to buy some fun floats. There are various food boat vendors selling things like BBQ, burgers, and hotdogs. You can get food delivered right to your boat from Landsharks Pizza company, Fatboys, Gilligans Seafood on the Harbor, and Destin Seafood Market. 

Float up to the Sea Cow for ice cream, milkshakes, and sno cones… or just wait for the ice cream man to drive by on his ice cream boat

Sea Cow Crab Island Destin Florida

The Wild Coconuts food boat offers drinks from fresh pineapples, fresh coconuts, or snacks like acai bowls. We got a freshly cored pineapple and some acai bowls and they were delicious! 

Drinking Fresh Pineapple
Acai Bowl

I’m so serious when I tell you that Crab Island is the best place to be in Destin Florida! You can expect your Crab Island experience to be the most memorable part of your trip to the Destin area. 

Where is Crab Island Destin Florida?

If you zoom out on this map of Crab Island, you will see that Destin Florida is pretty much between Pensacola and Panama City Beach. Crab Island is located on the north side of the Destin bridge. This is a popular destination to see marine life along the Gulf of Mexico in Florida’s beautiful emerald green waters.

Who Should go to Crab Island in Destin Florida?

Bring your whole family! You will see larger groups of people having fun on a double-decker pontoon boat, and young kids playing on the inflatable obstacle course. Adults only groups will be having a good time partying in the social scene and you can even expect to see a few dogs! 

Dog on Raft at Crab Island Destin Florida

If you are looking for a fun place to play in sparkling gulf waters then Crab Island in Destin Florida is for YOU! 

How to Get to Crab Island in Destin Florida

This is the tricky part. You can’t swim to Crab Island! I mean, even if you think you are an Olympic swimmer, you’re not allowed to. People get a fine if they try swimming because there’s too much boat traffic, and too many inexperienced boaters, so that’s very dangerous!

Emerald Green Water Destin Florida

You have to find some type of transportation to get there. There are lots of rental companies in the area that have things like jet skis and pontoon boat rentals.

If you don’t want your own rental, some other great options would be to take one of the Crab Island cruises, water taxis, or the popular crab island shuttle boat

My top 2 FAVORITE OPTIONS are a Tiki boat or a jet ski rental… 

Tiki Boat

The first day that I went to Crab Island, I did the Crab Island Adventure on a Floating Tiki Bar. I researched ALL the options and compared pricing and comfort before I made a decision. Personally, I think this is the BEST WAY to get there.

You get to ride on a cool Tiki themed boat, which is only big enough for 7 people (so it’s MUCH LESS CROWDED than most of the shuttle options). We had Captain Jon on our Tiki, and it was because of him that we had the BEST TIME! It’s about a 15 minute boat ride to get to/from Crab Island so it’s crucial to have a fun captain to set the tone for your adventure.

Tiki Boat Crab Island Destin Florida

One of the main reasons why I think the Tiki boat is a perfect way to get to Crab Island is because they supply everything you need. They have floats, or they will blow up one that you brought.

Your Captain can order Shore Dash (yes, just like Door Dash but with food delivered right to your boat). They supply fun water activities, coolers with ice, and music. Basically, your Captain will supply a Tiki boat with all the fun, and you just have to show up!  

Shore Dash Destin Florida

*PRO TIP: This is one of the most popular ways to get to the most popular pace. Therefore, you REALLY need to make sure you buy your tickets in advance. One of the great things about buying these tickets in advance through Viator is that they offer FREE cancellation up to 24 hours prior to your booking. That means if your plans change, or the weather changes, they’ve got you covered!  

Jet Skis

Since my daughter and I had so much fun at Crab Island on the first day, we decided that we HAD to go back for more. Jet skis are a good option if you have two people riding because you pay one flat rate for each 2 seater jet ski. Island Jet Ski Adventure guarantees you the lowest price for the rental.

Jet Ski Crab Island Destin Florida

We were blessed to see dolphins when we were in our Tiki boat going to/from Crab Island, but that’s not a guarantee. If you want to do a jet ski tour that briefly stops off at Crab Island AND shows you dolphins then you should do the Dolphin Jet Ski Adventure.

Charter Boat

I mentioned earlier that they do NOT sell alcohol on Crab Island so you have to bring your own. There is ONE charter boat company that sells alcohol and that is this Crab Island Charter Boat. Another benefit to taking this charter boat is they have restrooms on board! That’s definitely a luxury.

Pontoon Boat

When I went to Shell Island in Panama City Beach, Florida I rented a pontoon boat. You will see TONS of pontoon boats at Crab Island and there are lots of different options to pick from. If you want to rent and drive your own then you can get a 4-Hour Pontoon Boat Rental.

The advantage to renting your own boat is that you decide where you go and how long you stay. This pontoon rental can hold 12 passengers so you can make it your own private party!

If you don’t feel comfortable driving your own boat, then you can get a Captained Pontoon Cruise. This option lets you have a private boat party but without the responsibility of driving it to Crab Island. 

Captained Pontoon Boat Crab Island

This Private Pontoon Boat with Slide and Captain offers lots of fun but is limited to a smaller party of 6 people. When you get the slide you have less room for passengers.

As I said, there are lots of options so you have to decide which one works best for your needs. The important thing to remember is Viator has the lowest price guarantee so buy your tickets EARLY (because they sell out). 

What to Bring When You Visit Crab Island in Destin Florida

There are tons of food vendors that sell all sorts of food/drinks. However, some of them are CASH ONLY, so make sure you bring some cash with you for the local vendors. 

Cash

Crab Island does NOT sell alcohol, but the good news is you can bring your own food, drinks, and alcohol! If you have a boat rental then they will most likely provide a cooler with ice for you to keep your food/drinks. 

You should bring floats and water toys. If you forget to bring something, don’t worry… you can purchase common items from the floating general store

General Store Crab Island Destin Florida

Make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen. When you are on a chartered boat then they most likely will NOT allow you to use spray sunscreen so make sure you bring lotion

If you’re renting a boat then make sure you ask if they supply a cooler and Bluetooth speaker. That way if they don’t have them, you can be prepared to bring those items with you

Cheap Airline Deals

For a quick 30 second recap of the best parts of Crab Island, check out my TikTok below

Quick Links for Crab Island in Destin Florida

I like to purchase my tickets in advance online so I have them all in an app on my phoneViator and Get Your Guide allow you to book in advance and cancel most purchases within 24 hours of the excursion with NO FEES. Here are some quick links to things I’ve suggested in the post “Ultimate Guide to Crab Island in Destin Florida”.

If you liked “Ultimate Guide to Crab Island in Destin Florida”, then you might also want to read Best Things to do in Panama City Beach Florida

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