If you’ve ever made the trip to the Emerald Coast, Destin specifically, there’s a great chance you have heard of Crab Island. Crab Island is one of the most popular attractions in all of Destin. Featured on HGTV and Good Morning America, Crab Island’s fame has been growing at a rapid pace. The shallow emerald green waters, obstacle courses and floating bars have made it one of the most popular things to do on the entire Gulf Coast. Today, Crab Island is nothing more than a raised sandbar. At one point, it actually was an island, but sands from the Gulf of Mexico have eroded it over the years to turn it into what it is today. In most places on Crab Island, the depth of the water is about 1-4 ft. It’s the perfect place to anchor your boat down and have a good time out in the sun!
Boats are the most common way of getting to Crab Island. Currents are too strong to swim there. Oftentimes, large groups will rent a pontoon boat and split the cost. Another option is to do an excursion. There’s a Crab Island shuttle that will take people to and from the Island. People also enjoy taking jet skis and kayaks there while some people prefer renting private charters. If this is the route you want to take, the best place to find these excursions and watercraft rentals are at the Destin Harbor. If planning to stay an entire day at Crab Island, renting a pontoon is the strongly recommended option.
Crab Island isn’t one of the most popular spots in Destin for no reason. There are many activities, such as relaxing on your boat, jamming out to music, cooling off on a float, renting a paddleboard from a local vendor, or even fishing! Keep in mind you will have to pay for some of these specific activities though. Although most people would pack their own food and drinks, Crab Island does have floating food vendors and restaurants occasionally. Most people love Crab Island for nothing more than the environment. If you want to be with everyone then go near the center and anchor down. Or you can feel free to anchor far away from crowds and do your own thing. Fishing, swimming, and tanning are all highly encouraged. The possibilities are limitless at Crab Island!
This family-friendly oasis is open 24 hours a day. However, the daytime is the best time to visit and we recommend going during high tide. High tide is when the crystal clear water from the Gulf of Mexico rolls in. The common time for the high tide is between 9-10 am or you can check the local weather station for more accurate times. Also, as you plan your trip, don’t forget some important necessities. Such as sunscreen, towels, cash, water, and food/snacks. Lastly, if you plan to drink alcohol, Crab Island visitors can bring their own alcohol to the sandbar, but they can no longer purchase it there (so pack accordingly and designate a driver-or join a captained tour– if you would like to enjoy alcoholic beverages at Crab Island.)
Crab Island is family-friendly. They encourage visitors to bring their entire family out. The water is rather shallow toward the center and can be a great place for kids to have a good time in waist deep water. We recommend paying attention the current tides & weather at all times and making sure your children stay within site. Crab Island will bring the best out of you and your family. In case of an emergency, there are police boats that patrol the area. Nonetheless, All age groups have something to do at Crab Island!
Crab Island is open 24 hours, but the best time to go is during the day. The activities and food vendors will be open and that’s also when most people will be there. Furthermore, if you’re hoping to go when the water looks the best, go during high tide. Especially the first couple hours after high tide. Clear waters from the Gulf of Mexico move over Crab Island. When the tide goes out, Crab Island gets the bay water with grass which causes the green tint to the water. The two best months for high tides are May and June. The most common time for the high tide is 9 to 10 AM. You can check the tide charts on local weather apps or online.
There are a few necessities for Crab Island. Towels, sunscreen, and sunglasses are pretty self-explanatory. The sun is very strong there; it’s encouraged to protect yourself. To rent a boat, you’re required to have your driver's license on hand. Cash is also important to bring if you plan on buying from the food vendors or participating in the inflatable obstacle course or slide. Most of these vendors only take cash. Also, bring multiple trash bags. Trash bags will keep the clutter in control and prevent any garbage from contaminating the water. The rest is up to you! Coolers are more than often brought. With that, snacks and drinks. Alcohol isn’t sold by any of the vendors, but you’re more than free to bring some. After November 1st, 2019, make sure you’re aware of the new restrictions and you follow all requirements necessary for consuming alcohol. Floaties, footballs, and frisbees are also common to see for some fun out on the water. If you plan on getting some shut-eye on the floats, bring a rope to tie yourself to the back of your boat so you don’t float away!
Unfortunately, there are no restrooms anywhere on Crab Island. The closest restroom is at Dewey Destins which is about a 2 to 3 minute boat ride.
Crab Island is located on the north side of the Destin Bridge. This is just inside the Destin East Pass at the entrance to the Choctawhatchee Bay. It is not accessible by car, only by boat or any other watercraft! Some often paddleboard or ride jetskis!