Destin, FL Boating Guide.

Destin, FL Boating Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Written by Boatsetter Team
February 13, 2023

If you want a great summer near the water, consider boating in Destin, Florida, a beautiful coastal town with simmering waters. If you are planning on driving the boat in Destin, FL, you should make sure to get a license. Here’s our Destin, FL Boating Guide:

Where to Boat in Destin

While the city of Destin is an experience on its own, we believe that the best part is its crystalline waters. You can get the perfect mixture of city, ocean, sand, and wilderness right from the deck of your boat:

Locations to anchor

Crab Island, Destin, Florida.

If you’re looking for an ideal spot to anchor down and hang out for a while, Crab Island, Gulf Islands National Seashore, and Norriego Point are some of the best places to consider. All three have close access to top-notch services and amenities such as restaurants, bait, boat, and beach stores, and plenty of fun activities:

  • Crab Island provides a shallow sand bank area for swimming and socializing with others. This is likely the most popular hotspot in Destin for boaters; it’s a lively scene with lots of energetic people who group their boats up to listen to live music (playing on a floating stage), grill out, party, sunbathe on the decks, or raft up. Make sure you read The Complete Guide to Boating Crab Island in Destin, Florida.
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore is a fantastic, quiet place to escape or unwind. The gorgeous waters around Joe’s Bayou and Gulf Islands National Seashore are beloved spots for introverted boaters. If it’s adventure you seek— head over to Joe’s tranquil bayou, where there are NO wake restrictions, so it’s ideal for activities like tubing, jet skiing, and wakeboarding with unobstructed views of beautiful waterfront houses!
  • Norriego Point is another great place to take your boat while in Destin. This special place is located at the heart of Holiday Isle, where Destin Harbor and East Pass meet. Just follow its sandy shores lined with crystal white sands. Dip into some party vibes if you feel like it, or settle down in peace as boats float by; either way, Norriego Point has something special for everyone!

Explore Destin, FL Boat Rentals

Waters to cruise near Destin

Choctawhatchee Bay, Destin, Florida.

If you enjoy being on or near the beach, consider cruising your boat off the beachy shores of Destin. You’ll have stunning coastline views, beaches, the Destin city skyline, green parks, lush landscapes, majestic waterfront homes, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Consider taking a casual cruise from Pensacola Beach to Panama City Beach if you’re looking for a longer expedition (or you’re on a faster boat).

For a shorter trip, cruising from Eglin Beach Park in Destin to Rosemary Beach will give you a good sampling of beachfront homes, wildlife areas, and several cool waterfront restaurants and shops.

Head directly south of Destin into deep waters if you want to deep-sea fish or enjoy a unique perspective of the sunrises and sunsets in Florida waters. However, for those who fear open water, cruise the Bays near Destin:

  • Choctawhatchee Bay– Separates Destin from the Mainland.
  • Pensacola Bay– Roughly 30 miles west of Destin (next to Pensacola, FL).
  • Perdita Bay- Approximate to the massive Mobile Bay in Alabama. Heading east of Destin, you’ll find the stunning Panama City and West Bay.

Looking for a place with a water view for your foodie post? Find it here: Best Restaurants on the Water in Destin, Florida.

Go Fishing in Destin

Red Snapper Fishing in Destin, Florida.

Destin is commonly known as the “world’s luckiest fishing village” for a good reason: its waters are teeming with a wide variety of delicious, ocean-fresh fish!

Common catches at the ‘Luckiest Fishing Village’ include crowd favorites like Red Snapper, Grouper, and King Mackerel. Less popular species can also be found in Destin, such as Mahi Mahi, Amberjack, and Blue Marlin!

READ MORE: Destin, Fl Fishing Guide

More on Boat Education Requirements in Destin

The laws vary by boat size and the city. In Destin, generally speaking, anyone born on or after January 1, 1988, must have a boater education ID card to operate a motorized vessel greater than ten horsepower unless they are operating it under the steady supervision of someone 18 or older who also has the ID card.

So, if you want to guarantee an ideal experience for yourself within Destin’s waters, make sure you have your Boaters Education ID Card on hand! If you’re not interested in obtaining a card, just check your boat out with a captain via Boatsetter. They will handle everything for you, carry the card, and escort you around in style (and usually with a great sense of humor and strong knowledge of the area).

Boatsetter is a unique boat-sharing platform that gives everyone — whether you own a boat or you’re just renting — the chance to experience life on the water. You can list a boat, book a boat, or make money as a captain.

List. Rent. Earn— Only at Boatsetter

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