Destin, Florida is home to one of Florida’s hottest party spots – 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. Many 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 love this video by our friends at To Do In Destin, so let’s dive right in.
What is Crab Island?
Not really an “island”, Crab Island is a sand bar that averages waist deep water where boats can anchor up and 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, you can leave the boat, walk around to visit other boats or the variety of bars and businesses anchored out there without worry. Along with the anchored businesses, there are boats selling ice cream, boiled peanuts and more driving around all day long.
How do you get there?
Destin offers a variety of options, including: Jet Ski, Boat, 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 from a variety of places in Destin, but we highly recommend Destin Vacation Boat Rentals; one of our preferred partners. She can also help rent a Jet Ski for you if you don’t need the space of a boat. The perfect choice to get 1-2 people out there for the day, renting a 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.
New for Summer 2019, 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 $37 ($32 for children under 5) for a full 2 hours anchored at Crab Island to float, explore, and enjoy the sunshine. 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 it fun for Kids?
This depends. On the plus side, there is a section of Crab Island dedicated to inflatable slides and bounce house style activities that are fun for kids 16 and under. The water level is a little deeper than average on that side, so parents often spend the day watching their kids and/or helping them on the inflatables. 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. That makes this totally up to you – If you do bring your kids, staying around the outside edges of Crab Island might be your best bet.
What is there to do out there?
The last question we often hear is “Once we get out there, what is there to do?” Many of the anchored businesses offer a variety of rentals – Paddleboards, Jet Skis, etc. While there is also a variety of restaurants to visit, keep in mind that it is illegal to sell alcohol at Crab Island, so be sure to bring plenty of your own if drinking is on your agenda. It’s also important to point out that there is no way to escape the sun at Crab Island – Very minimal shade outside of what your boat can provide. It’s recommended to wear sunscreen, a hat, and/or long sleeves if you plan to stay out there all day. Outside of that, there is usually a live band playing every Saturday afternoon out on the floating main stage, which is considered the “main area” for people to congregate.