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Is Crab Island Worth it? (Read BEFORE Going!)

If you are thinking about visiting Destin, Florida, you surely have heard about Crab Island.  Is it worth it to go there?  Crab Island is a unique adventure that can let you spend a fun day in the Florida Sun.

Whether you are a tourist, a local, or a neighbor over in Pensacola or Panama City, Crab Island is just one of those destinations you don’t want to miss!

First, we will go over how Crab Island was made and its function now.  Then we will talk about different options available to you for getting to crab island. 

Then we will talk about some activities or vendors you can expect to see during the busy season on Crab Island. 

Finally, we will talk about general safety tips talking specifically about Crab Island. 

Continue reading this guide to find out if Crab Island is worth it and what you can expect if you do choose to go to it.

What is Crab Island?

In the 1960s, the United States Army Corps of Engineers deposited the sand into the Choctawatchee Bay when trying to stabilize the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. 

This sand formed a small island, which would later be named “Crab Island.” 

With the help of hurricanes and the sands drifting through time, the island disappeared from above the water.  Now it has become a popular location to spend the day.

Why do people love Crab Island?

Crab Island appeals to people as a sunny getaway.  The water is typically 3 feet deep on the island, which makes it perfect for families with little kids. 

It ranges from 1 to 4 feet deep throughout most of the sand bar.

If you go during high tide, the water is very clear.  You may also catch glimpses of dolphins, turtles, or fish.

How can you get to Crab Island?

You can rent or bring your own boat if you want.  It should be noted that there are no public restrooms at Crab Island. 

You also need to be mindful of where you anchor, as changing tides could cause your boat to hit nearby boats when anchored.

There are different boats you can hire to take you to Crab Island as well.  Some are short one-way trips, while others offer different things.  We will go over a few of the popular ones.

Crab Island Shuttle Boat

This is a 33-foot tour boat and offers a trip to Crab Island for either 2.5 or 3 hours.  T

here is a bathroom on board and the ship stays at Crab Island with you for the duration of your trip.  That means that you can pack a cooler and floaties with you.

Tailfins Island Adventure

For a reasonable price, you will cruise around Destin Harbor, looking for dolphins, before arriving at Crab Island. 

There is free parking and you can buy snacks there, before getting on their 45-foot Trident Pontoon boat.

Crab Island Journeys

You can take a 34-foot-covered boat to Crab Island.  The captain and crew will stay with you for the duration of your stay at Crab Island. 

There is also a bathroom aboard for your stay on the island as well.

What to do at Crab Island?

One of the famous restaurants at Crab Island is Reef Burger.  They offer everything from chicken fingers to pulled pork sandwiches to virgin daiquiris. 

Unfortunately, Water World, a popular restaurant at Crab Island, is no longer there.  

There will also be small boats that sell ice cream, frozen drinks, and peanuts. 

Current vendors are Kluge’s Rucken Fidiculous BBQ, Wild Fruit Sales, Jimmy’s Ice Cream, Crab Island Grill, and A Bite of Paradise. 

It is also important to note that many of the activities and vendors at Crab Island are cash only. 

Of course, If you bring your own boat, you can pack your own lunch, snacks, and drinks.

Why have the restaurants and inflatables left Crab Island?

In 2020, the city passed certain ordinances that required all watercraft to dock at night. 

This would make it difficult, if not impossible, for many businesses that were at Crab Island.  Some businesses adapted, such as the Crab Island Adventure Tour.  

Crab Island Adventure tours moved their inflatables to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which is only 5 minutes away by boat. 

You can purchase a dual ticket where you can play at the inflatables and then take a trip to crab island with the same company. 

Due to the shallowness of the water, snorkeling can be quite fun.  You can also play water games, like volleyball or frisbee. 

Some people lay out on their boat, enjoying the sunshine.  Children can enjoy wading around and having fun.

Safety Tips for Crab Island

Crab Island is in the Gulf of Mexico, near Destin, Florida.  As such, you should be mindful of tides, changing water, and possible currents. 

If you are unfamiliar with the area, it is a good idea to park along the northwest side of the island. 

Having someone walk your boat to its parking destination will not run over an anchor line or drive into the sandbar. 

Paying for someone else to take you, as discussed above, is a good idea.

One reason you want to have someone guide your boat is that it can be difficult to tell true depth. 

For this reason, you should not dive off the boat.  There is the risk of breaking your neck or worse.

The currents can be strong here and for that reason no one should attempt to swim to or from crab island. 

People have died from getting too close to the deep water and having the current taking them off the sand bar.  Boating is the only safe way to get to and from the island.


Now you have a better idea of Crab Island and if it is something you would like to visit. 

We went over how Crab Island came to be, why people like the Island, and how to get there.  We also went over what kind of vendors you could expect when you are there and the activities you can do there. 

Finally, we talked about being safe at Crab Island.  You can now decide if Crab Island is something you should visit.

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