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A favorite part of Florida’s Emerald Coast, Destin is the place to rent a boat and get out on the water. Cruise through calm, clear waters that will give you the feeling of being in the Caribbean, stop at white sandy beaches or visit a waterfront restaurant on your boat. Destin is regarded as an affordable vacation destination, and the prices on boat rentals reflect that. You’ll be able to find a pontoon, yacht, jet ski, or other watercraft for exploring without spending all your budget on a boat day.
Destin pontoon boat rentals are the most in-demand for both locals and visitors. Tourists can enjoy a casual cruise to Crab Island onboard a pontoon that has space for the whole family, as well as large friend groups, water toys, coolers, and other gear for a fun day of boating. A pontoon rental in Destin is one of the most affordable styles of boat, with prices starting at $75/hour. Cruise to Crab Island and park your pontoon to hang out at this iconic sandbar.
Looking for a little more luxury? Yacht rentals in Destin can provide that elevated boating experience for a day on the water. Choose from various sizes of motor yachts with local, professional captains to serve as your boating guide on the Emerald Coast.
Jet skiing to Crab Island is another fantastic option. If you’re just traveling with your partner and renting a whole boat is too much, rent a two-seater jet ski in Destin and cruise to join the boat parties at Crab Island, or explore the canals of Destin on the water. Stop off at beaches or fly through the waves with your jet ski rental.
Dolphin tours are a popular choice in Destin, with many offering special experiences like sunset dolphin cruises, private sailing dolphin cruises, and dolphin snorkeling off nearby Crab Island.
If you're traveling to Destin with kids and aren't sure how to fill up your vacation time, you're in luck. Check out this amazing article by Crazy Family Adventure for more ideas on things to do in Destin, Florida. and for accommodation recommendations, too.
The best time of year to visit Destin for boating and outdoor recreation is April-May or September-October, when you’ll have warm weather but get to skip the high season crowds that flock to the beach in the summer. It can be considerably cooler during the winter months, too cold to enjoy boating or swimming, and unbearably hot and humid during peak summer.
There are two primary boat ramps in Destin that boaters can use to launch and load their boats.
Located on the north side of the Marler Bridge (Destin Bridge), Crab Island is the number one boating hot spot in Destin, Florida. It’s a massive sandbar that comes alive with boaters dropping anchor and parking it in the sand for hours of meeting up with friends on other boats.
To get there by boat, you can use the GPS coordinates N 30°23.918, W 86°31.236, but just keep your eyes open for massive groups of boats as the sandbar spans a huge area at the southern entrance of the Choctawhatchee Bay. It’s protected from the waves of the open gulf, while still offering that crystal-clear, blueish-green water that Destin is so famous for.
This is an outdoor recreation area in Destin with a free boat launch, making it the place to go to get your boat in the water and enjoy fishing, cruising, and relaxing on the water while enjoying views of the coastal wetlands in Destin. This can be a great starting point for a boat day in Destin.
Park here for a quiet beach day! The Gulf Islands National Seashore is just outside Destin on Okaloosa Island. There are picnic tables, a small boat launch for a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard, plenty of parking, restrooms and outdoor showers, and picnic tables.
Not far from Destin Harbor, Norriego Point is a sandy beach protected by the Destin Jetties, making it an excellent destination for a relaxing swim. There are two public access points to this beach with parking. It’s a great place for boating, jet skiing, and even scuba diving, or sunbathing and enjoying a swim in calm, protected waters.
A popular snorkeling spot, Destin’s East Jetty is a place you might see rays, turtles, and tons of fish if you bring a mask and snorkel for your swim. It’s a fantastic, family-friendly swimming spot to see amazing sea life and soak up the sun in Destin.
Enjoy delicious seafood, ocean views, a casual atmosphere with upscale cuisine. Enjoy a first-come, first-serve dine-in experience with your family.
Overlooking Crab Island, Dewey’s offers a seafood menu in a casual atmosphere.
Sushi, seafood, steaks, and cocktails on the waterfront. Pull up in your boat and enjoy a meal at Harbor Docks.
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Boat rentals in Destin start at $50/hour for a pontoon and go up to $300/hour for a yacht charter. There are many affordable boat rental options in Destin, Florida.
To get to Crab Island you’ll want to rent a boat in Destin and head south of the Marler Bridge. The sandbar known as Crab Island is just off the coast of Destin, but must be reached on a boat rental, kayak, or other watercraft like a jet ski.
You need some sort of watercraft to access Crab Island in Destin. It is a sandbar that sits off the coast of the city. You can reach Crab Island by power boat, sailboat, jet ski, kayak, or even a paddleboard. It’s not a far distance from the mainland of Destin.
The best month to visit Destin, Florida is between April and May, where you’ll have warm, sunny days and favorable weather. It can be a busy time with Spring Break vacationers, but typically in late April and May those crowds have gone.
Some of the top destinations to see by boat from Destin include:
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