Spending the Fourth on the coast is the best way to celebrate with family and friends. The pristine waters of the Gulf of Mexico make Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, and Destin the ideal spots to relax and revel in the party atmosphere. Here at Crab Island Watersports, we’re local to the area and have plenty of tips on the best places to commemorate Independence Day. There’s plenty of fun to be had when you rent a pontoon boat or jet ski to explore the area and experience a Crab Island 4th of July in style!
Freedom Fireworks on July 3rd
Come and join us on the 3-mile stretch of land between Fort Walton Beach and Destin called Okaloosa Island. This sun-kissed paradise in the heart of the Santa Rosa Sound is the barrier between the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay. Every year on July 3rd, the island welcomes in the Independence Day celebrations with the impressive fireworks display launched from the pier. The spectacle kicks off at 9 PM, so head down to the beach an hour before to grab your spot. Make a day of it and spend the afternoon trying to catch fish from the pier or beach. You’ll probably spot a sea turtle or two in this wildlife paradise. Enjoy the backdrop of the fireworks while you tuck into dinner by booking a table in one of The Boardwalk restaurants(opens in a new tab), we particularly recommend The Crab Trap Seafood & Oyster Bar(opens in a new tab).
Smoke on the Coast Barbecue Festival
The Fourth is not the Fourth without firing up the grill. On the day, you probably won’t want to be rushing around and worrying about making it to the events on time, you’ll just want to enjoy being on the water all day. If that’s the case, then Smoke on the Coast on the 3rd is where you need to be. Head on down to Destin Commons(opens in a new tab) where 17+ restaurants and barbecue chefs will be taming the flames and serving up some delicious grub! This charity-run event involves visitors indulging in $1 samples from the grill and then voting for their top choice. The winner will not only gain the notoriety of The People’s Choice title but will also get $15,000 to donate to the charity of their choice.
For families, there are plenty of kids’ activities, street performers, and face painting opportunities. Live music also adds a party atmosphere to this annual event, but the real cherry on top is the fireworks at closing time. The event runs from 5:30 to 10 PM making it the perfect way to end the day or kick off your evening celebrations.
A Crab Island 4th of July
If you’re looking for fun in the sun, join the party on Crab Island on the 4th of July. Picture mooring up to the emerald water sandbank and spending the day in paradise with family or friends. Get into the party vibe by choosing a dress-up theme with your group, you can go for the classic stars and stripes or try an idea like Hawaiian shirts — just remember to dress for the weather and wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet because it’s hard to resist diving into the inviting water.
There’s plenty of ideas to keep you and your group entertained while on Crab Island for the day. Inflatables are always popular, the more extravagant the better, a good option is an inflatable island with seats and shade. The shallow water makes Crab Island a great place for watersports and games, we recommend frisbees, bat and ball, and water polo. It’s a great spot for paddleboarding, just be prepared to navigate your way through the boats.
Crab Island is a popular spot at any time of year but especially on the Fourth, try and get there early to secure your spot. If you don’t like crowds this probably isn’t the place for you, heading out on a jet ski is easier to navigate but the party atmosphere is hard to beat.
Okaloosa Island Pontoon Boat Rentals
Spending Independence Day on a pontoon boat is an experience you’ll never forget and one that you will want to recreate time and time again. Picture you and your gang out on the water, dipping into the sea when you want, kids whizzing down the slides on the double-decker boats, and dropping anchor close to shore so you can swim up to sun-bleached, white-sand beaches. Get away from the crowds and have the freedom to explore the Gulf Islands National Seashore. When you get out on the water, you’ll feel a million miles away from the chaos of the beaches of Destin and Fort Walton and the big Fourth of July cruise tours.
You’re welcome to bring aboard a picnic and refreshments so that you can enjoy the day at sea without having to come to shore.
On Land Celebrations
If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, there’s plenty of other activities and events in the area to keep you entertained.
Harbor Walk Village Celebration
This Destin Harbor celebration runs from Friday to Sunday from 7 till 10 PM. Live music and entertainment happen every evening making it a great place to stop by after dinner.
Red, White, and Baytowne
This is a great event for families, think lawn games, crafts, inflatables, and face painting. Hit the dancefloor when the live music comes on and dance away as the fireworks crackle above your head and are reflected in the lagoon below. A magical way to celebrate Independence Day with your family!
Whether you want to avoid the crowds or be at the center of the action, the Destin area is a great place to celebrate the Fourth of July. Get together with friends and family and make the most of your time on the idyllic Emerald Coast. Fireworks, barbecue festivals, snorkeling, fishing, and live music all await you. Contact us at Crab Island Watersports if you’re interested in hiring a pontoon boat or jet ski, but don’t hang around as they sell out. We look forward to hearing from you!