Destin Florida is home to one of Florida’s hottest party spots on the water – Crab Island. Most people know it from the massive amounts of boats to be seen there, or the crystal blue water that resembles the Caribbean. Visitors to Destin each year always field the same question: What is Crab Island, How Do We Get There, and Is It Fun For Kids. We spent some time at Crab Island to show you first hand what it looks like and what goes on out there.
What is Crab Island?
Not an “island” like most people expect, Crab Island is a sand bar with waist deep water where boats can anchor up to hang out, sunbathe, or party. The water level and color depends on whether it’s an incoming or outgoing tide, and it changes as such. The biggest question: Is it safe? Absolutely. Once you’re at Crab Island, it is perfectly safe to leave the boat, walk around, or visit the variety of bars and businesses anchored out there without worry. Along with the anchored businesses, there are boats selling ice cream, boiled peanuts, souvenirs and more driving around all day long. If you plan to walk, stay towards the middle, as the tide can pick up and become swift along the outer edges.
How do you get there?
Destin offers a variety of options, including: Jet Ski, Boat, Kayak, or Paddleboard. The most common way is by boat – This can be your own boat, a boat rental, or a boat/captain rental combo. You can rent boats and jet skis from a variety of places in Destin, and some of our preferred partners include Boogies Watersports and Destin Vacation Boat Rentals, and Adventure Destin Watersports. If you want to relax and let a Captain drive you, we recommend Crab Island Adventure Cruises – Captain Sully can handle all the driving while keeping you and your group safe! To make it easy, we’ve compiled a list of all the different ways you can get there. Check out that list here!
Renting a boat or jet ski can also mean you’re not stuck at Crab Island all day – You can buzz around and explore all sides of the Bay and even down to Okaloosa Island. Paddleboarding is a third way, but we don’t recommend it unless you’re a skilled boarder. The current gets strong near the Destin Bridge, and it can be a lot of work to paddle out there from shore – Often deceiving because it’s farther than it looks. This is also why swimming is not advised nor recommended. The high level of boat traffic mixed with the changing tide and current makes it a nightmare for swimmers – so pack a cooler and a towel, but find a safer way to arrive. Don’t forget to check out our Special Offers to save money when booking your rentals!
New for Summer 2020, a glass bottom shuttle called the Crab Island Shuttle Boat is the newest and cheapest way to get to Crab Island. Perfect for families, round-trip tickets can be purchased for $40 ($33 for children under 5) for a full 2 hours anchored at Crab Island to float, explore, and enjoy the sunshine. They’re also offering a 3 hour cruise this year for $50 if you’d like to stay longer — Check the link and book online to reserve your spot. The glass bottom provides unmatched underwater views for the ride out and back that you can’t see anywhere else. Book your tickets early for a one of a kind experience!
Is there food out there?
Of course! There are floating restaurants that offer things like chicken fingers, burgers, pork sandwiches, and more. Our all time favorite is Reef Burger (pictured below) that has the BEST cheeseburger we’ve ever eaten. You’ll also find boiled peanut and ice cream boats driving around, so be sure to flat one of them down!
Is it fun for Kids?
This depends. Many parents love making this a family affair – rent a boat with a built in slide and let the kids play and slide all day long. We always see lots of kids out there during the week. One major con of bringing children to Crab Island is that it truly is an adult tailgate zone and many parents worry what type of behavior their children will see or hear. Another, is that the current is STRONG when our tides change.. so strong that sometimes adults get carried away in the water if they’re not careful. This can be even worse for children who can’t touch. That makes this totally up to you – If you do bring your kids, staying around the outside edges of Crab Island in shallow water might be your best bet.
What to bring?
This really depends on how you’re getting out there. If you have room, we recommend bringing your beverage of choice in a cooler, snacks, towels, sunscreen, and some cash in case you decide to buy something from a floating vendor. Footballs, floaties and frisbees are another favorite past time in the water, and we’ve also seen floating beer pong! The more creative the better 🙂