There is no doubt that Destin is an amazing place to vacation but let’s be honest… the traffic and parking can be a real bummer. If you are headed to Destin Harbor, the best alternative to driving is to take the Destin Water Taxi.
The Destin Harbor Boardwalk area (which includes Harborwalk Village) is an amazing place to walk around and enjoy wonderful restaurants, shopping, entertainment, watersports, fishing excursions and fireworks shows. I love going out to these events but the traffic and parking used to sometimes deter me from going until I found the Destin Water Taxi. Now I can enjoy all of these great activities that Destin has to offer without having to deal with traffic or fight for a parking spot. In this article I will share what I have learned and what you need to know when deciding to take the water taxi.
The Destin Water Taxi generally runs from early March through October. This depends on weather, events and other factors though so always check their website or call them for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Below is a map of Destin Harbor. Basically if you are staying at a home, condo or hotel anywhere along the red line then the taxi can usually pick you up. (Click on the map to see it larger). The numbers on the map are not official taxi stops but just markers to give you a general idea of where the places are along the harbor that you might want to go on the taxi. If you tell the driver where you are headed they will drop you off at the nearest spot.
Map Area #1
This is the Harborwalk Village area where there are several taxi stop options. Restaurants here include Crab Island Cantina, Jackacudas, Harry T’s, 10 on the Harbor, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, La Famiglia, Coyote Ugly Saloon, and Grande Vista Bar and Grill. There are plenty of other great spots to grab food and drinks along with many other attractions including a zip line, rock climbing wall, children’s activities and shopping. From this area you could also walk across the street to the famous Mcguires Irish Pub.
Map Area #2
Restaurants in this area include AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, Tailfins Ale House and Oyster Bar, and Dewey Destin’s. There is also a great little bar called Fisheads here which will often have live outdoor music. In the spring/summer/fall you will find food trucks and merchandise vendors between here and the entrance to Harborwalk Village.
Restaurants in this area include Brotulas, The Boathouse, and an awesome local’s favorite bar called The Red Door Saloon (I call it the treehouse bar because it is under the canopy of a huge tree perched above the harbor).
Definitely make a stop at The Other End Beer Garden for great food, craft beer and awesome harbor views. They have live music some nights as well. There is nothing else quite like this place in Destin.
Louisiana Lagniappe at Sandpiper Cove. This is a wonderful restaurant on the far east end of the harbor
How to get on the Water Taxi
There is no set schedule for the water taxi. The best way to catch a ride is to wave them down if you see them going by or just give them a call and ask them to pick you up. It’s that easy! There some official water taxi stop signs along the Boardwalk area:
As well as some smaller signs such as this one at the outdoor seating area of Harry T’s restaurant:
They will also pick up at unofficial stops such as a home or condo on the harbor. When you call them and tell you where you are they will instruct you on when and where they can pick you up
Destin Water Taxi Cost
The cost of the taxi is currently $5 each way ($10 round trip) regardless of where you are being picked up or where you are going. For $15 you can get an all day pass. I think this cost is a steal considering what a taxi on the road will cost you in Destin.
Don’t forget that you also must consider that this isn’t just a ride,.. it’s an experience. Enjoying a sunset taxi cruise on the way to dinner is an amazing way to start your evening. You never know what you will see while cruising along Destin Harbor. You could easily see dolphins, sea turtles or any other of the amazing variety of wildlife on Destin Harbor.
Even if you stay out late for drinks after dinner, you can still catch a ride back. The water taxi does run at night. Generally the last pick up is at midnight during the week and 2am on Friday and Saturday nights
The most important thing to remember is that this differs from a regular taxi in the sense that there will likely be other stops between you and your final destination. Sometimes you will even have to wait a few minutes while other riders walk down from their condo. You are in a beach town and we are more laid back here so just relax and be prepared for delays. If you are going to the 9pm fireworks, don’t call the taxi at 8:40 and think you will definitely make it in time because they might have to pick up a few more people on the way. It is a shared boat (it holds up to 16 passengers) so leave a little extra time to get where you are going and just enjoy the ride!
Grab a Drink
You can bring adult beverages on the boat as long as you act responsible (I think that means don’t act like belligerent spring breakers and jump off the boat or anything like that). This is especially nice if you have a long ride ahead of you. (The longest ride would be from Louisiana Lagniappe at Sandpiper Cove to Crab Island Cantina at Harborwalk Village).
What if I want to stay on the Beach?
One thing that I should address is that when I suggest staying on Destin Harbor to people, they often tell me that they are visiting Destin mainly for the beach so that is where they would rather stay. So, if you want to stay on the beach while still having access to Destin harbor via the water taxi, there are only a few spots where this would be possible.
Renting a condo at East Pass Condos is one of these options. It is situated at Norriego Point where you have a beach area on one side and the harbor on the other. The water taxi has a stop right there at Norriego Point.
Another option is Sandpiper Cove. Sandpiper Cove is nothing fancy but has a clear edge in my opinion as far as location goes. It has easy access to possibly the best beach area in Destin and equally easy access to a water taxi stop on Destin Harbor. It’s a bit of a ride from there to Harborwalk Village but hey, that’s part of the fun. Vacation should be more about the journey than the destination.
Taxi Cruise Option
If you are definitely not staying anywhere with harbor access you can still take advantage of the taxi. If you find yourself out at Harborwalk Village and just want to go on a boat ride to see the harbor, the taxi will usually be willing to let you go on a harbor cruise with them for only $10. This depends how busy they are and so usually they would only offer it before 4pm but it’s an easy and economical way to see the harbor by boat so just give them a call to inquire about that. You can bring your cooler and your camera and just enjoy the ride!
Destin Water Taxi Ride Video
Official Taxi Info:
Destin Water Taxi ~ Destinwatertaxi.com
850-499-6679 / 850-499-1909
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