Crab Island in Destin, Florida

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Photo Credit: Crab Island Jimmy's Charters

What Is Crab Island?

Crab Island is actually not an island. It’s a sandbar out in the middle of the bay with lots of boats, and people playing in the water which ranges from 2′ to 10′ feet deep and is waist-level in many areas depending on the tide. See the tide chart.

Crab Island is one of the highest-rated attractions in Destin. It is the focal point of many aerial photographs of the area and has been featured on many TV shows such as HGTV and Good Morning America. Crab Island is more than likely the main reason Boating Magazine named Destin one of the ‘Top 10 Places to Live and Boat’ in the United States in 2020. 

Where is Crab Island?

Crab Island is located at the entrance of Choctawhatchee Bay. As you drive east on Hwy 98 and cross the bridge going into Destin, Crab Island will be on your left. Look for all the boats. Please note, the speed limit crossing the bridge is 35 MPH. Watch for cars slowing down to get a glimpse of Crab Island as you cross. Please don’t do this. Accidents can ruin vacations, not to mention lives.

If you can, try to visit Crab Island during high tide. You’ll experience breathtaking turquoise water that is usually waist-deep for adults.

What is there to do on Crab Island?

There are various things to do while out at Crab Island for a day: snorkel, relax on the boat, swim, play volleyball, hunt for crabs, or walk around and sightsee as you meet other boaters.  Think of it as the largest swimming pool you have ever been in with a chance to see marine life such as dolphins, fish, and turtles. 

At one time, there was an inflatable water park and several floating food vendors. Ordinances have been passed that requires all watercraft to dock at night. That means there are no stationary structures at Crab Island. Nearly all of the vendors are gone. The only ones you will see are usually small boats that roam around the sandbar selling peanuts, ice cream, or frozen drinks. In other words, bring your own food, beverages, and entertainment while visiting the sandbar.

The summer months and holidays bring out extra crowds. Arrive early if you want a preferred spot. If you’re not familiar with driving a boat, it’s best to anchor on the outskirts of the island to avoid accidents.

Crab Island is technically always open. However, it’s best during daylight hours since the clear water is the main attraction.

How Do You Get to Crab Island?

There are several options for reaching Crab Island that include, shuttles and tours, or you can rent watercraft such as jet skis/waverunners, kayaks, or pontoon boats. The strong tidal currents and heavy boat activity simply make it too dangerous to swim to from the marina or harbor. Renting a kayak to reach Crab Island is recommended only for experienced kayakers due to the current. It goes without saying, but we will anyway. Do NOT jump from the bridge to reach the sandbar.

If you rent a boat, you will need to bring your own beverages and snacks (alcohol is ok), floaties, water toys, and everything else you need for the water. Designate a driver if you plan to have alcohol. The legal blood alcohol limit in Florida is .08, the same as driving a car. This is strictly enforced by the Okaloosa County Sherriff’s office, the US Coast Guard, the FWC, and the National Parks Service.

Recommended Things To Bring:

  • Snorkel Gear
  • Paddle Board
  • Floaty
  • Football
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • A cooler full of food
  • Fresh water
  • Adult Beverages (if you wish)
  • It’s also important to point out that the only shade at Crab Island is what you bring with you, either from your boat or attire. It’s recommended to wear sunscreen, a hat, and/or long sleeves if you plan to stay out there all day.

Recommended Tours and Boat Rentals

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Aloha Pontoon Rentals

Affordable Pontoon Boat Rentals, Jet Ski Rentals, and Dolphin Tours. Our boats are Bentley 2020/2021 and hold up to 12 max

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Crab Island Cruises

Whether you're vacationing in Destin or a year-round local, plan your day with us. Crab Island Private Excursions

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Crab Island Destination Tours

Private Pontoon Rental with a Licensed Boat Captain. Enjoy a day at Crab Island/Destin Harbor.

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Crab Island Jimmy's Charters

Dolphin watching, sunset cruise, see some fireworks, or party at Crab Island, we offer customized packages for you.

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Crab Island Pontoon Rentals

Escape the sun under the canopy or climb up on the top deck and slide in to refreshing waters.

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Crab Island Water Taxi Tours

Fun, safe and affordable transportation service to Crab Island. 50 or 17 passenger tour boats.

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Emerald Coast Island Excursions

We offer a private pontoon with your own personal captain so you can have a day of fun in the sun without the stress of driving a boat.

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Holloway Yacht Charters

Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Destin with a group or in a romantic setting. Immerse yourself in five-star service.

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Sailaway Destin

Discover Destin's coastline on a private 24' luxury pontoon boat with a local captain.​ Fun for the whole family!!!

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Smile N Wave Adventures

Owned and operated by Captain Pam. Dolphin watching, sunset, swim and snorkel Tours Customized for you.

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Vitamin Sea Sailing Charters

Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Destin with a group or in a romantic setting. Immerse yourself in five-star service.

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Tiki Hut Boats

Tiki-boat cruise to Crab Island Sandbar. Perfect for family gatherings and group outings

Nearby Accommodations

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