Planning a visit to Destin‘s most popular boating destination? There are a few things you should know before you go to Crab Island.
- Crab Island is NOT an island! Most people are surprised to learn that Crab Island is actually not an island at all, but a submerged sandbar that is completely covered by water. It was an island many years ago when it got its name, but over time it eroded both by the tidal currents and the occasional hurricane and became what is now: Destin’s most popular and picturesque gathering place. The water ranges from 1 to 4 feet deep in most areas making it an ideal place to pull up by boat and drop anchor for a day of fun in the sun.
- Crab Island is accessible only by boat! Sure, it may look close to land, but the deep channels, strong currents, and boat traffic that surround Crab Island prevent even the strongest swimmers from making the trek across. Sadly, the lives of several people are lost each year from attempting the swim from land to Crab Island. If you’re trying to figure out how to get to Crab Island, be safe and take a boat to enjoy the festivities. You can rent one or take the glass bottom Crab Island Shuttle Boat.
- The water is prettiest at high tide. Crab Island’s natural beauty is a huge attraction all by itself, but the blue green water you see in pictures happens at high tide when the Gulf of Mexico water flows into the mouth of the Choctawhatchee Bay. You can check the Destin tide charts on many weather apps to see the best time of day to go to Crab Island.
- Bring cash for the floating vendors! There are floating restaurants, mobile food boats, souvenir sales, and more at Crab Island. Some of them accept plastic, but bring cash just in case! (Please note due to regulation changes, some of the larger vendors, such as the inflatable water park, have closed permanently since the writing of this post. There is a tour that includes an inflatable water park at the Gulf Islands National Seashore, followed by a stop at Crab Island, for those looking for inflatables.) )
- Alcohol is allowed. There has been some news lately that causes people to believe that alcohol has been banned at Crab Island. What has been banned is the SALE of alcohol at Crab Island. If you want to bring alcoholic beverages with you, you can. There are no open container laws on the water in Florida. As with driving a car, just make sure you have a designated driver!
We hope you found this post helpful for planning your day on the water at Crab Island. Make sure to check out this video from our friends at To Do in Destin for more information as well! (Please note this video was filmed in 2018 and there have been some changes to Crab Island since then, specifically when it comes to laws regulating the larger floating structures and inflatables. Click here for more information on Crab Island in 2021. )
Are the vendors open in april
The vendors typically open up sometime in March or April. There is no set date.
When is the best time to go
High tide, from March-October.
Hi can you inform me please hotels around I can stay ;so close the crab island please thanks
The Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village on the Destin Harbor will be your closest, with views of Crab Island. There is also a Motel 6 and the Village Inn across the street (not waterfront), depending on your budget. On Okaloosa Island, The Island Resort or Holiday Inn Resort are a couple of other options that are pretty close to Crab Island as well.
Are dogs allowed if we have neither jet ski or boat where can we lay our stuff down
Are dogs allowed and if we have neither boat or jet ski where can we put our stuff to lay down
Dogs are allowed in the water at Crab Island, but not on Destin beaches. You do need a boat (you can rent a pet-friendly one) to get there as Crab Island is a sandbar rather than an actual island. There is no land to lay your stuff down on. You can also take the Crab Island Shuttle Boat, but dogs aren’t allowed on the excursion boats.
I’m not sure what you’re asking since you do need a boat to get to Crab Island. Dogs are allowed in the water at Crab Island, just not on county beaches. We do have pet-friendly boats available. Inquire when making a reservation!
This may be a crazy question, but where do you use the restroom?
There are restaurants and marinas nearby, or if you take a captained excursion (instead of renting a boat), there will be a restroom on board.
Do the inflatable activities cost additional money?
Yes, the Water Park is a separate business. You need an armband to play.
has there been any problems with sharks cruising through the area?
Can you kayak to crab island from Benning Recreation
How much is the inflatable park?
What is the closest hotel to crab island?
Due to Covid will it be open I’m October
Crab Island was never closed during COVID-19, so we assume it will remain open.
How old do you have to be to enjoy the inflatable stuff? And would you say this would make for a fun day for a family who has both a 13-year-old and an almost 4-year-old?
Allowed smoke or vaping there?
Good day, looking to visit in December. What is the closest hotel?
Where can we rent a boat and where is the best place to stay?
We are a boat rental company! You can rent a boat through us!
My girl friend and I are planning a visit in Sept. I would like to know more about your boat rental company, I will check it out and make a reservation.
can you post a link or name.
oops, I see it now….
Can you send me info on renting a boat?
Sure! We have 200 pages of information on this site. Start here: https://www.destinvacationboatrentals.com/
Hello my daughter will be turning 1 in October. Would you recommend this as a good vacation for that age? Is it family friendly? Also what is the nicest resort to stay at? Also, can you email me your guides?
where can I get prices on the boat rental please?
Go to the top of this page and click on Boats & Rates in the blue menu bar. Hope that helps!
also hotels in the area?
What is a good amount of time one should plan to visit crab island. I see tours for 1.5 hours up to a full day. Also, the pictures that I’ve seen make the area look very congested- is it worth taking a tour that includes kayak, and paddleboards? Thanks!
Where is the nearest public boat ramp if we’re bringing a boat over?
Destin Marina on Calhoun Ave.
Is it possible to kayak or paddleboard to the island?
It is possible, yes! Be prepared for strong currents and bring a life jacket!
We plan on taking our daughter. She wants to play on the inflatable things. Does that part cost?
There are no longer any inflatables at Crab Island. There is a tour that includes inflatables as part of the trip: https://crabislandcompany.com/adventure-tour/
Can you only rentboats? What about if its a group
Of women wantig to go to crab island there boats or party barges with drivers ?
We have captained excursions as well! Check out the Crab Island Shuttle Boat or Crab Island Adventure Tour.
Are there still restaurants at Crab Island? We read somewhere that there was no longer food out there. Thinking of maybe going later today.
There is still food out there. The big restaurants have closed or scaled down their operations to be able to remove their businesses from the sandbar each night per new ordinances from the County. Here’s what you can expect at Crab Island in 2021: https://www.destinvacationboatrentals.com/blog-post/crab-island-2021/
Can I set up a tent and camp the night
Crab Island is underwater, so I would NOT recommend camping there…
Any recommendations on launch boat pads in the area? We want to bring our boat but wanted to know which pads might be closet with parking?
There are 2 boat launches in Destin: Destin Marina on Calhoun Avenue and Joe’s Bayou Boat Launch on Beach Drive. Hope that helps!
Where can I purchase Crab Island apparel if I can’t make it back out to the island before we leave Destin?
The Crab Island Information Center!
Planning a trip in January 2022 but I don’t see any dates for January. Are we able to go to Crab Island in January?
You can go to Crab Island year round, but January can be very cold here and there will not be any vendors at the sandbar. Most rental companies will be closed that time of year.
Heading there this weekend with a large group. We want to just come enjoy the sites, but not interested in getting in the water. Have all vendors closed at Crab Island? Are any shuttle boat companies taking people out during this time of year?
Is smoking allowed on Crab Island? I’m highly allergic and need to know before I buy tickets.
Crab Island is a sandbar in the middle of a body of water. At this time there are no laws that would prohibit smoking outdoors in Florida. Hope that helps.
Are the any vendors the first week in November. I booked the water taxi company and have 3 young boys, but I want to make sure there is something for them to do while we head out there. I guess I thought from the photos (when googling crab island) there would be food etc…but I think this is the start of their off season… Thanks for any help!
There are no vendors out in November, sorry
are there vendors at the end of september?
Each vendor is an individually owned business and so we cannot guarantee who will be out on any given day, but usually there are vendors out in September!