Established in 2018, Crab Island Water Taxi ferries passengers to and from the namesake sandbar at the gates of Choctawhatchee Bay off Destin. This offshore bank is a hugely popular place to anchor in the summertime, but you need a boat to get there. If you don’t own your own watercraft and don’t feel like renting one, Crab Island Water Taxi is a convenient transportation option for a full-day visit.
Decades ago, Crab Island was actually an island—an islet, anyway—and a crab-shaped one to boot. Then a hurricane overwashed it and converted it into the submerged sandbar you see today. It’s quite close to the Destin Bridge, lying in Choctawhatchee Bay across it from East Pass, but deep surrounding waters and strong currents mean a boat’s the only way to get there.
Crab Island Water Taxi offers one-way and round-trip rides to the sandbar, which in the height of the summer tourist season can see hundreds of boats setting up shop. The roughly 10-minute journey over takes you past such Destin Harbor landmarks as HarborWalkVillage and Norriego Point while supplying you with free water, juice, soda, and snacks. (You can also bring along your own cooler with adult beverages or whatever else you might want at the “island.”)
There’s plenty to do at Crab Island in the fun-in-the-sun department, whether you’re wading around with beverage in hand, snorkeling, patronizing the floating restaurants or food vendors, or playing with the kids in the inflatable waterpark. The water above the sandbar is shallow and calm: highly conducive to laidback R&R and games.
The company operates a 32-foot floating barge at Crab Island that offers shaded seating for as many as 160 guests: both onboard and in the water courtesy of some umbrella-equipped floating picnic tables. The barge includes lockers (usable all day for a fee), restrooms, dressing rooms, a gift shop, phone-charging stations, and ATMs, among other conveniences. It’s basically a Crab Island base camp you can retreat to when you need a break from the jampacked waters.
The idea of the Crab Island Water Taxi service is that it goes beyond simply taxiing: The deck crew is there to make sure you’re having a good time en route and on the sandbar.
You can also rent pontoon boats, stand-up paddleboards, and jet-skis from the company, in case you want to motor (or paddle) yourself around.
Crab Island Water Taxi is also an option if you want to charter a full-on Crab Island private soiree: The company rents out its floating barge for wedding receptions, parties, and other events.
Crab Island’s definitely a Destin landmark—or seamark?—and if you don’t have the means or desire to reach it on your own, the Crab Island Water Taxi is certainly worth considering: for the transportation, sure, but also for the floating entertainment and services.
Crab Island Water Taxi offers its customers a 120-space parking lot and van shuttle service between it and the harbor, though you can park anywhere else in Destin if you so choose.