One of the most common questions asked by tourist arriving in Destin, FL is “how do we get to
Crab Island?”. Crab Island has become the most popular attraction in the Destin area. Crab
Island is not an actual Island but is a large sandbar in Choctawhatchee Bay. Due to extreme
currents and heavy boat traffic, the sandbar is only accessible by boat. Below are the options
for tourist visiting the area to get to Crab Island.
1) Private Charter – Several companies offer private charters that visit Crab Island. These
charters typically include snorkeling, dolphin watching and harbor tours. These boats
will typically have a variety of water toys and paddle boards. Most boats are limited to 6
passengers due to Coast Guard regulations, however, companies such as Destin
Pontoon Charters do have boats that can legally carry large groups. In order to secure a
private charter you are advised to plan and book early as these fill up quickly.
2) Public Charter – Public charters are typically on larger boats and the customers pay by
the head (head boat pricing). While you will be on the boat with strangers, this is
typically the most economic way to get to Crab Island for small parties. Some boats such
as Tailfins Island Adventure, offer water toys but most do not.
3) Rental Pontoon – Destin has several pontoon rental companies to choose from. When
renting a pontoon boat you are responsible for driving and operating the boat and are
limited to 12 passengers. They do not come with any water toys, however, you are free
to explore and go where you want. Before renting please be aware that Okaloosa
County Law Enforcement takes its job very seriously and will enforce penalties in “No
Wake” zones and arrest intoxicated operators.
4) Jet Ski Rental – Jet Skis are a fun way to get to Crab Island but is very limited on time
and passengers. If a quick visit is in your plans look for companies like Gilligans, Boogies
and Xtreme H2O to rent a ski.
5) Kayak or Paddle Board Rental – I strongly discourage anyone taking a paddle board or
kayak to Crab Island. While it can be done, boat traffic and extreme currents makes it
Crab Island is a wonderful experience and I encourage everyone to visit. The Crab Island
Entertainment Area is a part of the Gulf Island National Seashore and is operated by the
National Parks Service. For information regarding bookings, please call (850) 517-6011.