While Crab Island is a hot tourist destination, the water around the sandbar can get very crowded and potentially dangerous, due to its popularity.

The good news is that Destin is not lacking in less crowded, just as sandy beaches. So, if you find yourself feeling cramped, here are a few spots that are just as gorgeous and relaxing. Trust us, you won’t be missing out on any of the fun!

Spectre Island

Spectre Island is another location in the Destin-Fort Walton Beach area that is worth checking out. Besides the same beautiful water of Crab Island, Spectre Island is full of outdoor activities, especially snorkeling or scuba diving.

Here you can rent a boat and watch the natural wildlife such as sea turtles and local dolphins play in the clear waters. Our local vendors have several different types of rentals to choose from, from kayaks and paddleboards to pontoon boats. If you’re there to snorkel, sightsee, or simply laze about in the gorgeous waters, Island Watersports has some of the most affordable packages for your group or family.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore is home to a coastal ecosystem that is hard-pressed to find anywhere else. The area is kept pristine through strict regulations that protect local wildlife. You won’t find trash or even a trash can on these islands. Glass is strictly prohibited. Beach locals abide by a golden rule: Leave no trace.

If you are a bird watcher, you will be delighted by the array of species you can see from a boat here. The marshes and maritime forests are home to over 300 different types of birds, from warblers and great blue herons to pelicans and other migrating species.

Snorkeling here will explain exactly why winged friends love this location. The seagrass beds provide shelter for the prey the birds feed on, providing an exciting look into the area’s ecosystem – and food chain. 

If you are patient, and with a little luck, you may even get the rare chance to watch an osprey dive into the water and come up with dinner. Because of the abundant nature, and not-so-abundant crowds, Gulf Island National Seashore is a local’s favorite beach. Shh…don’t let the secret out!

Boat Tours in Fort Walton Beach Are the Only Way to Go

Boating in Destin-Fort Walton Beach is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You’ll have access to the largest charter fishing fleet in North America, and you’ll experience wildlife in protected habitats, the way they were always intended to live. So, take a load off and make Spectre Island and the Gulf Island National Seashore part of your dream vacation plans.