***The Crab Island Water Park is currently closed due to restrictions on overnight anchoring from the County. Bookmark this page and check back for updates, or check out the new Crab Island Adventure Tour, which includes inflatables as part of the excursion.***
Crab Island is a great place to visit with your family when you’re in Destin. In the past, the underwater playground had developed a bit of a reputation as a “party place” and families sometimes are thrown off by photos posted online by the “party crowd”, which portrays Crab Island as a great place for adults to go get drunk. This has always been a great source of frustration for me, because, having grown up here in Destin, I know that those pictures don’t accurately represent one of my family’s favorite places to hang out. Well, times are a’ changin’, and a few years ago, Crab Island started to overcome its reputation with a few new family-friendly additions, such as the Crab Island Water Park.
The Crab Island Water Park
The Crab Island Water Park grew in popularity over the past few years to the point that it became a huge multi-acre attraction all by itself. Parents would rent boats to go to Crab Island and kids of ALL ages would spend hours at Crab Island bouncing and swinging and jumping and sliding on the inflatables. Then, a second water park set up at Crab Island as well. And that’s when things started to get out of control…The County decided that too many people created a potential liability, and some cantankerous old locals complained that Crab island was starting to be a bit of an eyesore and said the inflatables looked too much like a theme park and were detracting from the natural beauty of Destin. The County decided to start charging businesses to be out at Crab Island. To top it off, they also decided to restrict businesses from anchoring overnight.
The overnight anchoring restriction ultimately closed the Crab Island Water Park down just before the 2020 season. Because it took days to set up the huge water park, it wasn’t feasible to set the entire thing up at Crab Island each day and then have to take it down each night and pay the County large fees for doing so.
Fortunately, there is a new option for those who still want to enjoy inflatables on the water and miss the fun they had at the Crab Island Water Park.
The New Inflatables
The Crab Island Adventure Tour offers 2 hours of play time on inflatables (that are set up and taken down daily), kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkeling at the Gulf Islands National Seashore (5 minutes from Crab Island by boat), followed by 2 hours at Crab Island, where you can relax and enjoy the scenery as well as the mobile food vendors and floating restaurants. The inflatables are ONLY open to guests on the excursion and are not open to the public, so you will have to purchase tickets on the tour boat to access the inflatables and take part in the experience.
How Much Does It Cost?
Now for the pricing (you will need an armband to play): Pricing for the tour starts at $69 for adults and $49 for children 5 & under. This includes your boat ride, captain to drive the boat, crew to assist with the equipment and to help keep you safe, and all the activities (slides, trampolines, gladiator catwalk, kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkel gear plus a separate visit to check out the festivities at Crab Island. The vendors at Crab Island are NOT included in the ticket price, though). It’s reasonably priced since all of those activities done separately would cost well over $150 per person. Check out the video above, and click here to book your seats. You’ll want to book ahead as seats fill up fast, particularly during the peak summer season.