Getting to Crab Island

Crab Island Destin FL

You can only get to Crab Island by water.

Folks get here by boat, jet ski, pontoon boat, water taxi, charter boat and paddle board. Be safe on the water, and always check the weather report and tide report before heading out to Crab Island.

DO NOT TRY TO SWIM

to Crab Island, even if you’re an Olympian in the pool. Currents are powerful around the shallow sandbar, no matter how short the distance seems to be. On that same note, check out the depth of the water with your feet before you even think about diving.

Once just a tiny island on the south side of Choctawhatchee Bay, the sandbar known as “Crab Island” is now one of the most popular things to do in Destin for boaters, paddlers, and swimmers alike!

Large enough for hundreds of boats, kayaks, and waverunners to anchor down and hang out, some of the area’s top events take place at the sandbar all spring and summer long!

What should I bring to Crab Island? You’ll probably be in the water, so wear a swimsuit. A hat and lightweight long sleeve shirt is helpful, along with polarized sunglasses. Waterproof sunscreen (applied before and during your trip) is a MUST … 30-50 SPF is recommended, and apply it before you get in the water, and again throughout the day. Bring plenty of water and at least 10 lbs of ice, in a cooler or ice chest. A waterproof floating bag for personal items (wallets, keys, phones) is high on the recommended list of things to bring to Crab Island. Floating toys, floats, rafts and water toys are easy to find at local stores. Snorkels and fins are great for searching for fish and crabs during your visit to Crab Island. Beach towels (kept on the boat) are nice to have when you come out of the water. 

Yes, you can drink at Crab Island and many people do. No glass bottles please. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than a trip to the ER. Local hack: Crab Island may fall outside Destin city limits, but it falls within several law enforcement jurisdictions. Deputies and other officers patrol the area on boats to keep everyone safe. 

Size doesn’t matter, at least when it comes to getting a boat to get to and from Crab Island. What matters is that you have a boat. Finding a boat to rent or charter needs to be at the top of your to-do list when you’re planning your vacation. Local hack: If you’re planning to drink, choose a charter instead of a rental. The last thing you want to take home from vacation is a BUI (think boating instead of driving) ticket.

Crab Island Destin FL Coordinates
30.3941° N, 86.5121° W

Getting to Destin so you can play at Crab Island. Crab Island is located right next to Destin FL and near Fort Walton Beach FL. Car travelers come via I65 / I10 through Freeport, Niceville, or Fort Walton Beach, and air travelers fly in to VPS, PNS, ECP, or DTS. Boaters traveling via the intracoastal waterway go right past Crab Island, and boaters coming via the Gulf of Mexico will find Crab Island just inside the Destin Pass, past Destin Bridge.

When is Crab Island busiest? When schools are out, so are Crab Island visitors. If you want to beat the crowds, plan to visit when schools are in session.