How to Get to Crab Island

how to get to Crab Island

Crab Island

If you’ve visited the beautiful Emerald Coast and driven down scenic Highway 98 across the Destin Bridge, you’ve probably noticed the alluring sight of Crab Island, Destin’s most popular (and picturesque) attraction and local sandbar hang out, and wondered how people get there.

How to Get to Crab Island

Watching all the people playing on inflatable water parks and visiting floating restaurants may have even tempted you to figure out how to get to Crab Island. Indeed, we get hundreds of phone calls and emails from Destin visitors who are trying to figure out how to get to Crab Island without a boat. No, you cannot drive your car to Crab Island. You can’t swim or walk there, either. The only truly safe way to get to Crab Island is by boat. You can either rent a boat, charter a boat, or do an excursion, like the glass-bottom Crab Island Shuttle Boat. The tidal currents that rush around the popular underwater sandbar are strong and have claimed the lives of people of who have tried to swim the seemingly short distance across the channel. It’s not worth your life.

The best ways to get to Crab Island are:

how to get to crab island in destin flPontoon boat rentals are the most popular (and plentiful) type of rental among Destin, Florida area visitors, due to their ease of use and plush, comfortable seating. Seriously, it’s like having your own private, floating living room, and driving one is about as easy as driving a car. They also can accommodate large groups, so if price is a concern you can split the cost among friends. For example, the cost for 12 people to rent a pontoon boat to get to Crab Island for half a day would be just over $22/person. I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty hard to find something fun that you can do for four hours for $22-especially in Destin! Smaller groups would do better price-wise to take the shuttle boat, at only $39/person it’s cheaper than renting a boat if you have less than 7 people, and you won’t have to worry about driving a boat.

ways to get to crab island without a boatIf pontoons are not your thing, you can find any and all manner of rentals, tours, and excursions to get to Crab Island, from jet ski or double decker pontoon boat rentals to private charters on a catamaran or even a luxury yacht. You can even rent a paddleboard or kayak and paddle out to the sandbar from shore, but be prepared for a workout! Most of these boat rentals and excursions depart from the Destin Harbor or nearby Okaloosa Island, both just minutes away from Crab Island! You can browse this website for everything you need to get to Crab Island.

Directions to Crab Island

Once you’ve determined your method of getting to Crab Island, you might be looking for directions to get there. Crab Island is located just north of the Destin Bridge, inside the inlet that connects the Choctawhatchee Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. The official GPS coordinates for Crab Island are listed as N 30°23.918, W 86°31.236, although the sandbar is quite large and doesn’t consist of just one point on a map. If you’re departing from the Destin Harbor, you will head west on your boat towards the Marler Bridge (also referred to simply as the Destin Bridge). Pass underneath the Marler Bridge and Crab Island is the sandbar located just to the northwest. Coming from Fort Walton Beach/Okaloosa Island, head east/southeast along the Gulf Islands National Seashore and Crab Island will be to your left just before you reach the Marler Bridge.

Crab Island map how to get to crab island directions

Map of Destin, Florida showing Crab Island

Crab Island Activities

Now it’s time to focus on what there is to do once you get to Crab Island! Visiting Crab Island is a truly unique experience. It is lot of fun and has an abundance of activities, including water volleyball, inflatable slides and trampolines, jet ski and paddleboard rentals, the occasional concert on a floating stage, and mobile food vendor boats and floating restaurants. If you’re not in the mood for anything other than relaxing on the water, enjoying the beautiful scenery, and catching some rays, don’t worry! Crab Island encompasses a huge area and is plenty large enough for everyone. You can anchor away from the crowds and do your own thing just as easily.

For more information about Crab Island, visit our Complete Visitor’s Guide to Crab Island.

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  1. When can you visit Crab Island? Me and some friends are coming to Destin for spring break at the beginning of April, would we be able to go then?

  2. Beverly says:

    Can the driver of a rented boat go to crab island and drink at all within reason? Or the driver can’t drink at all?

  3. I don’t no the address to crab Island

    • Crab Island is in the middle of the water. There is no address, as it is only accessible by boat. Hope that helps!

  4. Is there a shuttle that can take you to the island?

  5. Paul pugh says:

    Can you kayak to crab island

  6. How old does a child have to be on the pontoon boat with parents

  7. How is the crowd the weekend after Labor Day? Do they still have the floating restaurants/stage and other activities?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Beth, the crowds are much smaller after Labor Day. Many of the vendors do typically stay open through September, but some do shut down after the season is over.

  8. Madison says:

    Hi. I would like to go the crab island in march. Would I be able to do that

  9. Robert Clark says:

    How far is it from the mainland?

    • Heather says:

      It’s not far. Maybe 500 yards or so, but it is surrounded by deep channels with strong currents and boat traffic.

  10. Chad Brown says:

    We are planning to visit Destin during the first week of April. Will the food vendors and floating waterpark be there yet, or is it too early?

  11. Connie Wallac says:

    We will be coming to Destin in July. Just me, my husband and 12 year old son. We really dont want to rent a boat. Do you guys have some sort of shuttle that will take you to Crab Island and back??


  12. Ashley mejia says:

    We are going to be coming april one weekend. My husband and I have never driven a boat. Should we have a captin drive us out how much is the cost?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Ashley, you can add a captain to any of our rentals if you like for an additional $150 per 4 hours. We do have first timers every day and pontoons are very easy to drive, so it’s not necessary to add a captain if you’d rather not. We can teach you everything you’d need to know.

  13. Marta Rodriguez says:

    Hi I planning to go march but I want to know how to book for 3 people to get there?
    To Crab Island?

  14. how deep is the crab island? I would like to paddle board but I’m afraid of deep water.

    • Hi Monica,

      Crab Island is surrounded by deep channels and strong currents, but once you get there the water is only 2-3 ft deep in most places. Hope that helps!

  15. where to stay that is close to this island? and where to fly into?

    • Hi Sarah, The closest airport to Destin is VPS and there are lots of hotels, condos, and vacation rentals in Destin and in nearby Okaloosa Island (Fort Walton Beach). Hope that helps!

  16. I have plan to be there with 4 adults and 1 toddler (3yrs. old).
    Can i join any other group who I don’t know to share the rental fee ?

  17. What is the crowd like in the middle of September? Will the restaurant be open?

  18. Francheska says:

    Is it family friendly ? And how is it during memorial day weekend

  19. Ryan Holtman says:

    Can you get to Crab Island via canoe or kayak?

  20. It is safe riding a jet sky to get there

  21. Betsy Lasiter says:

    Is there an excursion for a half of day at Crab island? If so who can I book it with?

  22. Melissa says:

    Where is there a public boat launch to get to crab island? We will be bringing our own pontoon boat. Thanks

  23. Hi, my husband and I have no experience with driving a boat are there captains or tours to get to crab island and spend a few hours there and then take you back?

  24. We planning to visit this weekend, Is there bathrooms in the restaurants?

  25. RAFIK REZKALLA says:

    i live in orlando Florida , how can i go to crab island Destin ?

  26. Jasmine Barefield says:

    Hello, if i was to rent a boat through you all to get to crab island will I need a truck to unload the boat or how does that work ?

  27. How is crab island after the hurricane came close to that area? Just making sure it didn’t wash away or it’s Neck deep. Thanks

  28. Darlene Renee Skinner says:

    Can you bring your own boat into crab island?

  29. Do you have to have a boaters license to rent a boat ?

  30. Juana Delgadillo says:

    We are going to be coming July one weekend. My husband and I have never driven a boat. Should we have a captin drive us out how much is the cost, can you please send me any information that can help me on renting a boat please

  31. Ruth Page says:

    We are coming next weekend with our pontoon and staying at days inn wyndham ft walton where do we launch at?


  1. […] For more info on boat rentals: […]

  2. […] minutes. If you have a big enough group renting a boat for the day is the best way to go. Check out Destin Vacation Boat Rentals for their boats and advice to have a great day at Crab Island. There are floating restaurants, and […]

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