Crab Island Guide: What to Know About Destin’s Hottest Spot

One of the top summertime hangouts in Destin, Crab Island welcomes boaters and water lovers to celebrate coastal living. It even ranks among the top Destin attractions and has been featured on worldwide media outlets. Want the scoop to this Florida gem? Check out this Crab Island guide about what to expect and how to plan.

Crab Island Guide: Things to Know About Destin’s Top Attraction

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Photo: Emerald Coast CVB

What is Crab Island?

At one time, the area was an island. Over time, erosion caused it to become an underwater sandbar. While there’s no land at Crab Island, clear and shallow waters bring hundreds of people to this spot.

To find Crab Island, head to the north side of Destin (a.k.a. Marler Bridge) at the Choctawhatchee Bay entrance. The area is only accessible by boat, kayak or stand-up paddleboard, and watch out for currents and waves. Gulf of Mexico, East Pass and Destin Harbor all feed into Crab Island’s waters.

Getting to Crab Island

Visitors have a few transportation options. Several Crab Island guide charters offer daily trips, which include dolphin-watching, time in the water and narrated tours. For example, SunVenture Cruises has three-hour trips suitable for all ages.

Another option is to rent a boat. Destin Vacation Boat Rentals has six options, including pontoon, pontoon with slides, fishing boats, power boats, sailboats, and jet skis. Prices depend on size, and most accommodate as many as 12 guests. Those who prefer to ride along can schedule the shuttle boat trip. For a flat rate, guests receive round-trip access on a glass-bottom boat and spend two hours at Crab Island.

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Things to Do

It’s easy to spend a few hours or full day at Crab Island. Those who want to explore the water snorkel, kayak between boats, toss frisbees and look for marine life. Then play at Crab Island Waterpark, an inflatable obstacle course. Others simply people-watch or soak up the sun. Sometimes visitors may even see live bands performing on floating stages.

When it’s time for a break, visit floating restaurants and dig into local seafood. Destin has one of the largest fishing fleets in the south, so fresh seafood is easy to find. However, land-lover options and refreshing drinks await, too.

The Best Time to Go

Although Crab Island stays open year-round, peak season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The best time to go depends on personal preference.

Those who don’t mind crowds and parties should visit on weekends during the summer. To avoid crowds and enjoy more quiet time, go Monday through Friday, especially in the off-season (October-April). For the clearest water, schedule the trip around high tide in early afternoon.

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What to Bring to Crab Island

Destin typically has lots of sunshine and warm coastal breezes. Summer highs reach the low 90s, while January lows dip into the mid-40s. No matter the time of year, it’s important to pack sun protection, such as sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, cover-ups and umbrellas for shade.

Destin does not have an open-container policy, so alcohol is allowed in Crab Island. However, guests should BYOB because local vendors cannot sell alcohol in Crab Island. Drinkers should be courteous of others and always have a designated driver – or use ride-sharing apps. Other food and drinks are permitted, so pack a cooler with snacks, water and goodies. Those who want to visit local vendors should bring some cash and an ID for easy payment options.

Other items to bring to Crab Island include towels, portable chargers, Bluetooth speakers, float and floaties, and trash bags. Remember to always keep the area clean and never litter.

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Other Destin Attractions in Florida

Destin has long been a favorite destination couples, friends and families. The city offers fun activities for different interests and always provides a place to enjoy beach life. To experience other family-friendly Destin attractions, here are a few options.

Big Kahuna Water and Adventure Park: A water park with slides, pools and rides. Children of all ages have designated play areas and things to do.

Golf Courses: There are over a dozen golf courses in Destin. Visitors have access to public, private and semi-private courses with Choctawhatchee Bay and Gulf views. Find the best Destin golf courses.

The Track Destin: Take a break from the water and ride go-karts. The Track Destin has karts for different skill levels as well as kiddie rides, bumper rides and thrills.

Enjoy this Crab Island guide? Start planning a trip and find spacious Destin vacation homes.

Main image: Destin Vacation Boat Rentals