Explore Crab Island: A Floating Paradise in Destin

Experience the unique phenomenon of Crab Island, a sandbar turned vibrant social hub in the heart of Destin's waters. Hop aboard a pontoon boat and spend the day lounging in the crystal-clear shallows, enjoying water sports, and indulging in delicious food from floating vendors.

7/10/20238 min read

Explore Crab Island: A Floating Paradise in Destin

Crab Island in Destin, Florida is a popular destination for tourists looking for a unique beach experience. Located north of the Destin Bridge, Crab Island is a submerged sandbar in Choctawhatchee Bay. The shallow waters of the sandbar and the surrounding emerald green waters make it an ideal destination for swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding.

Visitors to Crab Island can rent boats, jet skis, and paddleboards to explore the area. The island is home to a variety of aquatic species, including fish, crabs, and dolphins. Tourists can also enjoy a variety of food and drinks from floating vendors. The island is open 24 hours a day, but it is recommended to visit during high tide when the crystal clear waters from the Gulf of Mexico roll in.

Location and Overview of Crab Island

Crab Island is a popular tourist destination located in the Gulf of Mexico, just north of the Marler Bridge in Destin, Florida. Despite its name, Crab Island is not actually an island, but rather a submerged sandbar that is completely covered by water. The sandbar was once an island, but due to years of erosion from tidal currents and hurricanes, it is now a popular spot for boaters, paddleboarders, kayakers, and swimmers to enjoy the warm, emerald green waters of the Gulf Coast.

Visitors can access Crab Island by boat or paddleboard, and there are several rental companies in the area that offer boats, jet skis, and paddleboards for rent. Once at Crab Island, visitors can anchor their boats and enjoy the crystal-clear water, white sand beaches, and floating restaurants and bars.

Crab Island's popularity has grown rapidly in recent years, and it has been featured on HGTV and Good Morning America. The area has become a hub for water sports and entertainment, with live music, water slides, and inflatable obstacle courses available for visitors to enjoy.

Crab Island is located in Choctawhatchee Bay, which is known for its calm, clear waters and abundant marine life. Visitors to Crab Island can often spot dolphins, sea turtles, and a variety of fish and other marine creatures.

Overall, Crab Island is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting the Emerald Coast. Its unique location and vibrant atmosphere make it a truly unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

Getting to Crab Island

Crab Island is a popular destination located in the East Pass of Destin, Florida. It is an underwater sandbar that is accessible only by boat. Visitors can get to Crab Island by renting a boat, pontoon, kayak, or by taking a shuttle boat or crab island cruise.

Renting a boat or pontoon is a popular option for visitors who want to explore Crab Island on their own. There are several boat rental companies in the area that offer a variety of watercraft, including pontoon boats. Visitors can rent a boat or pontoon for a half-day or full-day and explore the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

For visitors who prefer not to drive their own boat, there are several shuttle boats and crab island shuttle boats available. The Crab Island Water Shuttle is a popular choice, offering a 40ft private boat that is available for half-day or full-day rental. The boat can accommodate up to 12 passengers and comes equipped with floats and coolers. Visitors can book their seats online in advance to ensure availability.

Another option for visitors is to take a crab island cruise. These cruises typically last for a few hours and offer visitors a chance to explore Crab Island and the surrounding areas. Visitors can enjoy food and drinks on board while taking in the beautiful scenery.

No matter how visitors choose to get to Crab Island, it is important to note that the island is only accessible during high tide. Visitors should plan their trip accordingly and check the tide schedule before heading out.

In summary, visitors can get to Crab Island by renting a boat or pontoon, taking a shuttle boat or crab island cruise. It is important to plan ahead and check the tide schedule before heading out.

Activities on Crab Island

Crab Island is a popular summertime destination in Destin, Florida, known for its shallow emerald green waters, sandbars, and party atmosphere. There are plenty of activities to enjoy on Crab Island, whether you're looking to relax in the sun or get active in the water.

One of the most popular activities on Crab Island is swimming. The water is warm and shallow, making it a great place to cool off on a hot day. Visitors can also rent paddleboards, kayaks, and other water toys to explore the area.

For those who enjoy fishing, Crab Island is home to a variety of marine life, including redfish, snapper, and flounder. Visitors can fish from their boats or rent a charter for an excursion.

Crab Island is also a great place to play beach sports like volleyball, frisbee, and football. The shallow water and sandbars provide the perfect setting for games and activities.

If you're looking for a more relaxing experience, there are plenty of options for lounging in the sun. Visitors can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, or bring their own and set up on the sandbar.

For those who want to explore the marine life, snorkeling is a popular activity on Crab Island. The clear water and abundance of fish make it a great place to see the underwater world.

Visitors can also enjoy live music and events on Crab Island. Many tour companies offer excursions to Crab Island with music, food, and drinks included.

Overall, Crab Island offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you're looking for a day of relaxation or adventure, Crab Island is a must-visit destination in Destin, Florida.

Food and Drinks at Crab Island

Crab Island is not just a beautiful place to swim and relax, but it's also a paradise for foodies. The floating restaurants, bars, and mobile food boats offer a variety of food and drink options to satisfy any craving.

Visitors can find a range of food options, including hamburgers, hot dogs, wraps, BBQ sandwiches, nachos, pizza, and even ice cream. The selection varies depending on the day of the week, with the largest amount of vendors on the weekends.

It's important to note that all vendors at Crab Island operate on a cash-only basis, so visitors should bring enough cash to cover their expenses.

For those looking to enjoy alcoholic drinks, there are plenty of options available. The floating Cantina, Waterworld, is one of the most popular destinations at Crab Island, offering seafood, Mexican food, and drinks. Visitors can also find other bars and restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages.

In addition to the vendors, visitors can also bring their own food and drinks to Crab Island. Grilling is allowed on the sandbar, so visitors can bring their own grills and cook up their favorite meals.

Overall, Crab Island is a food lover's paradise, with a range of options to satisfy any craving. Visitors should come prepared with cash and an empty stomach to fully enjoy the food and drink offerings at this floating paradise.

Planning Your Visit to Crab Island

Visiting Crab Island in Destin, Florida is a must-do experience for anyone looking to enjoy the beautiful emerald waters of the Gulf Coast. Whether you're a local or a first-time visitor, there are a few things you should keep in mind when planning your trip to this floating paradise.

Getting There

Crab Island is located on the north side of the Destin Bridge, just inside the Destin East Pass at the entrance to Choctawhatchee Bay. To get there, visitors can take a pontoon boat or any other watercraft as it is not accessible by car. Some visitors also choose to paddleboard or ride jet skis to get to the island.

What to Bring

When visiting Crab Island, visitors should bring sunscreen and a cooler filled with snacks and drinks to stay hydrated and energized throughout the day. It is also recommended to bring a rope to tie up your boat or watercraft to the other boats in the area to create a floating party. Visitors should also check the tide charts to make sure they are visiting during the right time of day when the water is at its clearest.

Safety and Regulations

While Crab Island is a family-friendly destination, visitors should be aware of the safety regulations in place. Boaters should be cautious of the shallow waters and avoid anchoring in seagrass beds. It is also important to keep an eye on children and wear life jackets when swimming. Visitors should also be aware of the local regulations, such as no glass containers or pets allowed on the island.


Crab Island offers a variety of amenities for visitors, including ice cream vendors and floating bars. Visitors can also find parking at nearby hotels and resorts. The crystal clear water and stunning scenery make it a perfect destination for families and groups looking to enjoy a day in paradise.

Overall, planning a visit to Crab Island requires a bit of preparation, but the experience is well worth it. With its emerald green waters and family-friendly atmosphere, it's no wonder why Crab Island has become one of the most popular destinations on the Emerald Coast.

Wildlife and Nature at Crab Island

Crab Island is not only a popular destination for water activities, but also a great place to observe wildlife and enjoy nature. Visitors can expect to see a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, crabs, and even dolphins. These intelligent creatures are known to swim near boats and can be spotted by lucky visitors.

In addition to marine life, Crab Island also boasts several nature trails that offer a chance to explore the area's flora and fauna. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline or venture further into the island's interior to discover hidden gems.

For those looking to explore beyond Crab Island, Henderson Beach State Park is just a short drive away. The park offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and picnicking. Visitors can also relax on the park's pristine beaches and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Fort Walton Beach is another nearby destination that offers a chance to experience the natural beauty of the area. The city is home to several parks and nature preserves, including the Fort Walton Beach Landing Park and the Liza Jackson Park. These parks offer a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, and birdwatching.

Overall, visitors to Crab Island can expect to enjoy a unique combination of water activities and natural beauty. Whether observing marine life, exploring nature trails, or venturing to nearby parks, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Crab Island in Popular Culture

Crab Island has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The island has been featured on various television shows, including HGTV and Good Morning America. These shows have helped to increase the island's popularity and bring attention to its unique features.

Good Morning America featured Crab Island as one of the top 10 places to visit in the United States. The show highlighted the island's crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and the various activities that visitors can enjoy. HGTV's Beachfront Bargain Hunt also showcased Crab Island, highlighting the island's stunning natural beauty and the unique experience of floating on the water.

Crab Island's popularity has also been boosted by social media. Visitors often share their experiences on platforms such as Instagram, showcasing the island's emerald green waters, floating tiki bars, and various water activities.

Overall, Crab Island has become a popular destination due to its natural beauty and unique floating experience. Its popularity has been further boosted by its appearances on popular television shows and social media.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the cheapest ways to get to Crab Island?

The cheapest way to get to Crab Island is by renting a kayak or paddleboard from a local rental company. Alternatively, visitors can take a water taxi from the harbor or a shuttle boat from nearby hotels.

How do I rent a boat to get to Crab Island?

There are several boat rental companies in Destin that offer a variety of boats for rent, including pontoon boats and jet skis. Visitors can book their rental online or in person at the rental location.

Are there sharks at Crab Island in Destin?

While sharks have been spotted in the waters around Destin, they are not commonly seen at Crab Island. The shallow waters and high boat traffic make it an unlikely spot for sharks to frequent.

What are some popular excursions to Crab Island?

Popular excursions to Crab Island include snorkeling, paddleboarding, and enjoying the inflatable water park. Visitors can also rent jet skis or take a dolphin watching tour from Crab Island.

How much does it cost to visit Crab Island in Destin?

There is no admission fee to visit Crab Island, but visitors will need to pay for parking and any water activities they choose to participate in. Boat rentals and excursions can range in price depending on the company and the length of time.

Is it possible to walk to Crab Island without a boat?

No, it is not possible to walk to Crab Island as it is a submerged sandbar located in the middle of the Choctawhatchee Bay. Visitors will need to rent a boat or take a water taxi to reach Crab Island.