Crab Island Destin Florida is one of the most popular destination for boat owners, holidaymakers, and families looking for a relaxing break on the water. Here are some fun things to do when you visit.
Crab Island may not sound like a popular vacation spot. Still, it’s one of the most sought-after destinations for boaters needing a relaxing vacation. This beautiful vacation spot has been featured on HGTV, Good Morning America, and various travel magazines. Glowing reviews stem from the area’s beautiful water, open space, and variety of activities in the area.
So, what exactly is there to do on Crab Island? We’ve composed a list of various activities for travelers to experience during their first trip to Crab Island. There’s so much to do; one trip might not be enough!
What Is Crab Island?
Crab Island is located in Destin, Florida, and is only accessible by boat. Destin is just 60 miles west of Panama City along the Gulf Coast. Crab Island is not an actual island but a famous sandbar where vacationers anchor boats.
Crab Island was created in the 1960s by the Army Corps of Engineers. Its purpose was to stabilize the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. Over time natural causes have eroded the island’s sand, leaving it a popular boating destination.
This sandbar ranges from 1 to 4 feet deep in most places. However, at its edges, it drops off to much deeper water. These deeper waters and the strong tidal currents are why the sandbar is only accessible by boat.
It can be found on the north side of the Destin Bridge, inside of Destin’s East Pass. It is the perfect destination for anchoring boats due to its placement within Choctawhatchee Bay. The sandbar is protected from waves but retains the beautiful green water from the Gulf of Mexico.
Check out everything Crab Island Destin Florida has to offer here:
How Do You Get To Crab Island?
As mentioned earlier, Crab Island is only accessible by boat. If you don’t have your own boat, there are plenty of options in the area, so you can still enjoy the sandbar.
Along the coast are boat rental companies, Crab Island cruises, and private charters you can book. One of the most popular methods of travel to Crab Island is via pontoon boat. You can pilot the boat yourself, or you can hire a captain for the day if you’re uncomfortable with driving a boat.
If you choose to drive it yourself, the driver must pass a Boaters Safety test per state law.
What to do on Crab Island
Crab Island is a popular vacation spot, and for a good reason. Below are some of the activities and experiences you can plan for your next Gulf trip.
Anchor Your Boat
The simplest and most popular activity among vacationers on the sandbar is anchoring their boat and enjoying the sunshine. Crab Island offers close to 4 acres of water for boats to congregate and visitors to explore. The island is BYOB, so feel free to pack some drinks to enjoy throughout the day.
If you get tired of suntanning, spend some time in the water playing water volleyball or football with your group. The water is deep enough for vacationers to jump in from their boat but not so deep towards the sandbar that you can’t stand to toss a frisbee around.
Explore Marine Life
Bring along your snorkel gear and take some time to appreciate the beauty of the sandbar. Boaters have seen wildlife like bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, manatees, and manta rays swimming in the emerald waters. If you prefer to look up rather than down while on a boat, keep an eye out for birds like pelicans and seagulls.
Remember to keep your distance if you see these animals on your trip. While most of these sea animals aren’t dangerous, some, like manatees, are a threatened species. It’s best to give them space so as not to frighten them!
You can also spend time walking along the shoreline of the sandbar, looking for various species of crabs and beautiful seashells.
Get Some Exercise In
If there’s room on the boat, bring along a kayak or paddleboard to further explore Crab Island. There’s plenty of space to maneuver through vessels, and you can enjoy the weather while working your arm muscles. Don’t forget to bring a drink to reward yourself for a well-done job.
Embrace Your Inner Child
Do you ever wish you could travel back in time and play in a bouncy castle just once more? Instead of contacting Marty McFly, consider booking the Crab Island Adventure Tour. This tour offers three experiences ranging in time and included features.
We recommend the 3 or 4-hour tour that includes the Adventure Park and a tour of Crab Island.
Their Adventure Park offers paddleboards and ocean kayaks, but the best part is the inflatables. Your group can slip down the inflatable water slide straight into the ocean or bounce your way in using the inflatable trampoline. Of course, if you’d prefer to soak up the sun, the company has plenty of inflatable lounge chairs to relax in.
Destin Vacation Boat Rentals also offers a Crab Island Shuttle Boat tour for vacationers who aren’t looking for as much adventure in their day.
Visit Local Businesses
While selling alcohol on Crab Island is prohibited, there are still plenty of other vendors to check out along the sandbar. You can grab some lunch at Crab Island Grill or Rukin Fidiculous BBQ and follow it up with dessert at Jimmy’s Ice Cream. These vendors are independently operated, so whether or not they’ll be on the water is entirely up to them.
Destin has been called “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” so why not put it to the test? Crab Island offers a multitude of fishing charters that you can work with to spend some time in deeper waters, fishing for local species. These charters provide types of fishing like red snapper, mackerel, swordfish, marlin, and more. Some even have extra space on deck for the group members who prefer sun tanning instead of fishing!
Check Out Emerald Coast
If you’re planning a multiple-day trip in the Crab Island area, you’ll need somewhere to stay overnight. Unfortunately, anchoring overnight on the sandbar is not allowed. Thankfully, there are plenty of resorts and hotels to relax in along the Gulf. Similarly, there are plenty of on-land activities to check out as well.
Destin offers a variety of clubs and bars along its coastline, so finding an atmosphere that fits your vibe isn’t tricky. You can find a few nightclubs for dancing and live music, some cozy pubs for a good beer, and a music hall for a more upscale environment.
The coast offers plenty of alternate activities if you need a day out of water during your vacation. There are approximately 10 golf courses along the Emerald Coast to visit. Most of them offer 18-hole courses, but a few feature 36 holes of championship golf. Many of the courses also offer fine dining and other family activities.
Looking for something to bring home as a souvenir? Emerald Coast has many shops and boutiques to explore for the perfect gifts. You can even find outlets and an entire mall along the beach if you need to do some serious shopping!
The coast also offers plenty of restaurants for all types of food pallets. If you’re interested in the local cuisine, there are plenty of seafood spots to check out. Shrimp houses and harborside eateries can easily be found within Destin.
Otherwise, visitors can find American, Italian, and even Irish cuisine along the coast. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out Okinawa Japanese Steak & Seafood House for some sushi or hibachi. Craving Mexican? Stop by Rockin Tacos Grill & Tequila Bar for authentic Mexican cuisine.
Vacationing with younger kids can mean finding plenty of activities to keep them occupied. If one day on the sandbar is enough for them, Emerald Coast offers other experiences for kids of all ages.
Destin offers aquatic centers, a water park, and even a marine adventure park where kids can observe sharks, rays, and dolphins. Otherwise, you can find more attractions like a 50-acre zoo, rock climbing gym, ax-throwing experience, escape room, and a family fun center.
You can find a few museums for some educational outings as well. Check out the Destin History and Fishing Museum to learn about the town’s history or the Emerald Coast Science Center for hands-on science activities.
Book A Tour
If you don’t have a boat of your own, it’s easy to book a cruise, a water taxi, or a day out at Crab Island watching dolphins and snorkeling.
Check out these top tours as rated by customers:
- Crab Island Sandbar Adventures
- Crab Island Water Taxis
- Crab Island Cruises
- 4 Hour Dolphin Watching Cruise
In Summary – Crab Island Destin Florida
Crab Island Destin Florida offers plenty to do whether you’re visiting for a few days or a few weeks. While it’s most famous for boaters and the occasional spring breakers, there are still plenty of awesome family-friendly experiences.
From paddleboarding to snorkeling, or lounging on an innertube with a drink in your hand, Crab Island offers something for everyone to enjoy on their vacation.