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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 also 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.
Situated in northwestern Florida, this cozy Panhandle city is most well known for its many Gulf Coast beaches and golf courses, plus an exceptionally nice boardwalk at Destin Harbor. And while it may not have the size or caché of some of the larger Florida boating destinations, like Miami, Destin and its charming small-town feel do have a robust boating culture that will allow you to see the city from the water.
The average rental duration for GetMyBoat bookings in Destin — perfect for a long and leisurely cruise.
May to September rentals account for almost all GetMyBoat trips in Destin, with July being the most popular.
The summer months are the most trafficked, of course, just like with any other Florida destination. And for good reason: the sun is plentiful, the weather is warm (a little too warm, actually, in the peak of summer), and it all combines into a great setup for spending time on the water. However, that also comes with downsides: the water will be much more crowded with boats, in particular.
The best time of year to visit Destin for boating and outdoor recreation, in our opinion, is either April to May, or September to 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, so we prefer to pass on those seasons in Destin.
Very warm. In the summer months, the water temperature will hover in the low-to-mid 80ºs, and stay above 70º for most of the year. Even in the coldest months, it only gets down to the 60ºs, which is cold for Florida waters, but still nicely comfortable if you’re used to colder, northern climates.
Water temp.70 °F
WindSSE 8.83 f/sec
In its 44th year for 2022, this seafood fest kicks off the Destin Fishing Rodeo, which extends the entire month of October.
A long-running celebration of fishing! The Destin Fishing Rodeo began 1948 as a way to attract tourists — and it’s been working ever since. So well, that the town is now known as a summer tourist destination and “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.”
That’s right — a cardboard boat race. Build a water-worthy boat out of cardboard, and you can race it at this unique event just across the bay, in Niceville, that’s now in its 15th year.
Destin has plenty of different types of boats to rent: everything from pontoons to luxury motor yachts, sailing catamarans, fishing boats, and jet skis are available. Here’s a bit of information on the average prices, and more, for each different option.
A yacht is a larger sailing or power vessel that can be used for racing or pleasure cruising. They tend to be quite popular in Florida locations
A flattish boat that relies on two floats for buoyancy. Pontoons are great for casual cruising, sandbar stops, swimming off the sides and for groups partying in Destin. It can be a really budget-friendly boating option.
A houseboat is a boat that has been designed to have all the comforts of home, including bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living area.
A wake boat (sometimes called a ski boat) is a style of powerboat that is most often used for enjoying water sports like wakeboarding, waterskiing, wakesurfing, kneeboarding, and more.
A sailboat is a vessel with sails that relies on wind power, though they sometimes have a backup motor. Sailboats come in a huge variety of styles and sizes.
A catamaran can be power or sail-powered and is a vessel with two parallel hulls. Catamarans get their stability from the wide beam across the hulls. Catamarans are great party boats and for staying overnight on the water in Destin.
A fishing boat is any vessel that is designed for fishing. They can have flat bottoms for inshore angling or be large charter boats used for deep-sea fishing.
A fast and fun way to explore the local waters, jet skis (or PwC, personal watercraft) come in single-, two-, and even three-seat styles and can be used for all kinds of water sports and tours.
Destin has so much to offer — where to even begin planning your itinerary when you’re in town? Here’s a start. We’ve pulled some of our favorite local spots for every aspect of a Destin getaway, like boat-up restaurants to experience the “dock & dine” lifestyle and plenty of beautiful natural coves, bays, beaches, and other scenic boating spots.
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.
Technically located just a couple miles west of Destin proper, the accommodations here — from beachfront and bayfront condos to private villas, are humble but comfortable, and include access to the Destin West Bayside Marina, measuring 600 feet with 25 slips.
An affordable boutique hotel, this five-story spot in the harbor district has a great view onto the water, and is conveniently located for docking at one of the harbor’s slips.
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 where 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.
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, Florida 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.
The Florida Keys are a famed fishing destination — and Destin, specifically, is hailed as “The Luckiest Fishing Village in the World.” so it’s no surprise that fishing charters in Destin are one of the more popular boat rental options. Whether you’re planning a bachelor party, a family vacation, a retirement celebration, or just a local trip with some friends who like fishing, Destin is a terrific place to cast off and try your hand at some angling.
Heading to Florida to celebrate with the guys? A fishing charter or a boat cruise for a bachelor party in Destin is one of the best activities to enjoy. Fill up your cooler with drinks, connect with a local captain, and enjoy hours of cruising in the sun. A captained boat charter is the best way to have the time of your life and provide an unforgettable trip to Destin for the groom. Every best man can appreciate the ease of booking an activity everyone will love.
Planning a final “sail before the veil” with your favorite group of women? Any maid of honor can appreciate having a personal yacht captain available to help finalize all the details of the perfect boat party day. Put on your matching swimsuits, pack your towels, sunscreen, and sunglasses, and celebrate cruising and stopping at islands and sandbars around Destin for photoshoots and bachelorette party fun. A bachelorette party is one of the best reasons to rent a boat in Florida.
Planning to say “I Do” in Destin? Why not enjoy your special day on a boat? A boat wedding provides stunning views and a unique venue for celebrating your special day, and GetMyBoat has so many different yachts and boats to choose from for a wedding, you’re guaranteed to find a style of boat that will suit you and your guest’s needs. Check out our guide to planning a boat wedding for more ideas and information.
If you’re coming up on your 30th or 40th birthday and want to party with your favorite people, a boat rental is a great way to celebrate. Bring your cake and balloons onboard (check with the captain first for any restrictions on decorations) and ring in a new year of your life on the water.
GetMyBoat is the world’s largest boat rental and water experience marketplace. We connect more people to boat rental services than any other company. Our mobile app available for iOS and Android makes it possible to find and book boating experiences right on your phone.
You can access thousands of professional boat captains and companies to help plan your perfect day on the water. GetMyBoat’s 24/7 customer service team is always available to help with any step in the booking process. We also enable you to read real user reviews and see photos added from past users, so you can book with confidence that you’re choosing a 5-star boat rental or water experience.
GetMyBoat is committed to taking the lowest booking fees in the industry to save the customer money in pursuit of their perfect day on the water.
A boat charter (vs. a boat rental) includes a professional captain to drive the boat. Frequently, it also includes crew members to provide services to the passengers, like food and beverage, as well as being there to assist the captain. The number of crew members working a boat charter will depend on the size of the vessel and the number of guests onboard.
A boat charter with a licensed, professional captain is the best option for inexperienced boaters or people unfamiliar with the waterways they wish to explore. A captain can provide an amazing experience on a private boat rental and help make the experience safer and more relaxing for boaters.
While half-day and full-day boat rentals are the most commonly booked trip durations on GetMyBoat, some boat owners and operators allow for multi-day or week-long rentals. Some owners and boat rental services offer discounted rates when you book for more than one day. Ask about weekly deals on rentals if you’re hoping to go boating for more than one day.
While it’s common to meet at a marina or public dock, boat captains and owners can often coordinate a drop off at a boat launch or ramp, or another spot if it’s more convenient. Get the exact directions to where you need to meet your boat owner/captain to determine where to pick up the vessel. Send your captain a message to clarify if you’re unsure where to go!
If you need to refuel your boat rental before you return to the dock, ask the boat rental service or owner where they recommend that you refuel. Most waterways will have several fuel stations to choose from, and often the docks that you meet at for your boat rental will also have them. Many captains and owners will take care of this for you, but it’s a good idea to ask what their specific policy is for fueling. Check out local marinas to see if they have a fuel dock.
Dogs are often welcome on boat rentals and charters — but be sure to ask first! Some boat captains do and some don’t allow pets to come along.
It’s also a good idea to do some research to make sure your pet will be okay with boating if they’ve never been before. Check out our guide for boating with your dog, and if you do decide to bring your dog along, make sure you have the appropriate lifejacket and other safety gear for them!
GetMyBoat’s mission is to make boating more accessible and affordable. To do this, we’re constantly growing our team of boat owners, captains, and operators around the world to offer a wider range of boat rentals and services at different price points. We want to provide the joys of boating to everyone - regardless of their budget.
Boat rental costs will vary depending on the size and type of boat you wish to rent. Other factors that impact the price of a boat rental include: trip duration, desired route, and itinerary. A boat rental usually costs between $50 and $150/hour but can range up to over $400/hour. Renting a boat for a few hours is usually less expensive than renting a boat for a whole day, but you can sometimes save money on the hourly rate by renting for longer - some owners and rental services offer discounted rates.
There’s no booking obligation at the inquiry stage with GetMyBoat - so you can send an inquiry message to a captain to get a price quote before you commit.
The cost of a boat rental will depend on the duration of your rental, the size of the boat, and the size of your group. Sometimes, specific itineraries (i.e., traveling far distances to get to a famous swimming spot) can add extra costs if they require additional fuel. Typically, a half-day boat rental is 4-hours, and a full-day is 8 hours. Depending on your specific needs, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to over $1000 for your boat rental.
Boat rentals on the Destin River start at around $100/hour and can range from there to over $500/hour for a larger yacht. You can find boat tours of the Destin River for as affordable as $40/person, but this is generally with a larger public group and not an individual boat rental.
Renting a boat in Destin starts at $100 an hour for a small powerboat and goes up to $800 an hour for a luxury motor yacht.
Yacht rentals in Destin start at around $250/hour and go up to over $1,000/hour depending on the size of the vessel, capacity, and special features.
When a captain and crew provide excellent service on the water, leaving a gratuity as a show of appreciation is a common custom. In many places, 10-20% of the rental cost is standard, but this can vary depending on where you are using boat rental services. GetMyBoat does not handle tips or gratuity payments, so please bring cash with you to tip, or many boat captains also have the option of CashApp or Venmo for leaving a tip after your boat charter.
Sometimes the boat owner/captain you are renting from will include fuel costs in the total fee charged, while others will charge on a usage basis - so depending on how much you use on your boat day. Inquire with the boat owner/captain about the typical fuel costs for your boat rental duration.
Costs for your boat rental will vary from owner to owner, so be sure to inquire about any extra costs that might not be covered in the listed price - like fuel, captain’s fees, or additional charges for unique itineraries. Your captain will let you know what to expect if there is any deviation from the price on the boat listing.
You must be at least 18 years old to rent with GetMyBoat. To operate a boat without a captain, you will need to ensure you meet the correct boating safety requirements. Boat owners and operators on GetMyBoat sometimes have their own individual age requirements for renting, so inquire with them on their minimum age when you send a booking inquiry.
To rent a jet ski independently, you have to be at least 18 years old. Often 16 & 17 year olds can operate a jet ski rental if they have a guardian present to sign a waiver for them. No one under the age of 16 should operate a jet ski without being in direct supervision of a parent or guardian.
The boat's capacity will vary depending on the captain’s licensing rules, size of the boat, style of the boat, and the location you’re renting in. Every boat listing on GetMyBoat indicates the maximum number of people allowed on the boat, so you’ll know before inquiring if it will suit your group’s size.
Whether or not you rent a boat with a captain will depend on many factors. If you do not have boating experience - it is recommended that you book a boat rental with a captain service for safety. Some locations require that renters have a licensed captain onboard operating the boat at all times. If you do have boating experience and want to rent a boat without a captain, in most locations you are able to rent it bareboat to go on your own. Ask the boat rental service provider for information on renting a boat without a captain and let them know information about your boating experience.
When you rent a boat, it’s a great idea to do some research on your own or ask the boat owner/company for recommendations if you’re not from the area. With a boat rental, popular places to venture to include sandbars, islands, beaches, coves, and waterfront restaurants. It’s a good idea to inquire with the boat owner for recommendations on what to do and advice on navigating there safely.
You do not need your own insurance to rent a boat.
Most boat owners and boat rental services will include all lifejackets and safety equipment within the price of your listing. It’s always a good idea to ask where the equipment is located onboard before you leave the dock. Your captain or the owner should give you a briefing at the beginning of your rental experience, so you’re aware of all safety features and equipment on the boat.
To rent a boat in Destin you must be 18 years of age and have completed a boater safety education course. If you have a boating license from another state, this can apply to the requirements to rent a boat in Destin.
Many boat safety courses are offered online and you can earn a certificate that will qualify you to rent a boat on your own. You can also often take in-person boating lessons which will teach you the necessary hands-on skills to operate a boat independently. Check out BoatEd for more information on local boating safety requirements and courses. You can also check out our Top Boating Safety Tips resources.
Boat license rules depend on your age. If you were born after 1988 you will need to complete a boat safety education course and receive a safety identification card. Check out BoatEd for more information on earning a boat safety card so you can rent a boat in Destin. For more information please check out our Boating Laws and Regulations by State Guide and download our Boating Safety Checklist.
A Boater Education Card will cost anywhere from $0-$50 depending on the type of test you take and if you want your ID card professionally printed.
A Boating Safety Education Identification Card has no expiration date, however, the temporary safety course certificate (proof of online course completion that you can print out and use before the ID card comes) expires after 90 days.
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