Posted on 6/3/2022
You’ve heard of taxis, but have you ever traveled by water taxi? If not, it’s definitely time to give it a try.
The Destin Water Taxi is a fun way to travel around the Destin Harbor while visiting for an Emerald Coast beach vacation. Because this locally owned method of transportation uses waterways instead of the streets, it is the fastest and most scenic way to explore the Destin Harbor. You don’t have to worry about traffic, crowds, parking, or driving—all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
One of the best parts about taking the water taxi—aside from no driving hassles—is the experience. You might catch a gorgeous sunset on your way to dinner. You might even see dolphins and sea turtles along the way. If you happen to catch a firework show during your ride, even better! And who knows, maybe you’ll even make some new beach-loving friends!
Operation hours vary seasonally and depend on the weather. So, plan accordingly! If it’s raining or the winds are too strong, the Destin Water Taxi will not operate. During the spring and summer months, the taxi runs from 11am to 11pm from Sunday through Thursday and to midnight on Friday and Saturday. From mid-August through October, the taxi’s hours begin at 3pm. It is closed for the winter season.
Each taxi boat can carry up to about 16 passengers at a time. Rates range from free for infants to $7 (one-way) or $14 (round-trip) for adults and children six years and older. The Destin Water Taxi doesn’t have a set schedule. While there are official taxi stops along the Boardwalk you can look out for, calling ahead is a good way to make sure you can get a ride. Be sure to call ahead for same-day pickups or to pre-schedule pickups for larger groups. Those with reservations will be prioritized for pickup; however, reservations are not required.
Taxi wait times can range from 5 to 45 minutes or even longer on holiday weekends, depending on how busy the taxi is at a particular time. Because of this, the taxi is perfect if you’ve planned a relaxed, no-rush day, but it may not be the best option if you’re in a time crunch. Dogs are welcome, as long as everyone on the boat approves and no one has allergies. Important to note—legal adults can bring and drink alcoholic beverages on the boat, as long as they do so responsibly!
The Destin Water Taxi features pickup and drop-off locations throughout the harbor. It serves Holiday Isle’s condos and beach house rentals, as well as any waterfront properties. If you’ve booked a stay on the water on the harborside, then the taxi is the perfect way to get around! The Destin Water Taxi also stops at various locations along HarborWalk Village and beyond, including local and favorite visitor restaurants like Boshamps Seafood and Oyster Bar, Louisiana Lagniappe, and Harbor Docks. You can find the full destination list here. Also be aware that the water taxi does not go to Crab Island.
Related article: How to Get to Crab Island
Because the taxi can take you pretty much anywhere in the harbor, it might be hard to choose where to go. So, we’ve compiled a short list (from West to East) of a few places you might want to check out when taking the Destin Water Taxi.
HarborWalk Village is the waterfront entertainment center of the Emerald Coast. It features a variety of restaurants, family-friendly activities, fun shops, and live entertainment. Here, you will find all kinds of fun amusements, including a climbing wall, zipline, bungee trampolines, an ax-throwing house, escape room, village train, mirror maze, and much more. Two popular restaurants are Harry T’s Lighthouse and East Pass Seafood & Oyster House. You can shop apparel, jewelry, accessories, recreation rentals, and more. Water activities are another favorite, from parasailing to pirate cruises to inshore fishing.
Rhumacy Island Grill
This island grill is located at the western edge of HarborWalk Village. Rhumacy is known for its “Floribbean” cuisine, which combines southern Florida and Caribbean Islands flavors and style. The restaurant features live, interactive entertainment, so you get to enjoy dinner and a show! All in all, the vibe is laidback, fun, and exciting—exactly what you want on a beach vacation.
At the HarborWalk Marina, you will find waterfront shopping, activities, seasonal festivals, live entertainment, weekly fireworks, and more. From spring through fall, there are food trucks and art vendors that make an appearance, so you’ll definitely want to check out what they have to offer.
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
It’s always 5 o’clock at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in Destin! The family-friendly restaurant has a menu that features fish tacos, burgers, seafood, and everything in between. Obviously, you can also choose from a large selection of margaritas, as well as moonshine favorites, boat drinks, frozen concoctions, and good ol’ beer.
AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar
AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar in Destin is the place to dine during the day and party at night! This restaurant boasts great seafood combined with a lively atmosphere. With many evening and night-time events, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Perched on the eastern end of HarborWalk Village, the Boathouse Oyster Bar is a seafood joint with a funky vibe and live music. This spot is a local’s favorite, and has been voted as having the best oysters and gumbo for decades!
Boshamps Seafood and Oyster House
When you dine at Boshamps you get to enjoy fresh Gulf seafood, a lively atmosphere, live entertainment, and a family-friendly environment. It’s even fun when you’re waiting to be seated! The restaurant has a waterfront sandy beach with cornhole, hammocks, and toys—which is perfect for lounging and keeping both the kids and adults entertained while they wait! Because Boshamps is one of the most popular restaurants in Destin with a parking lot that is almost always full, so taking a water taxi to dinner is a convenient option.
Related article: Best Destin Seafood Restaurants
Harbor Docks restaurant dates back to 1979, so it knows and serves the freshest of the fresh seafood. Menu dishes are made from scratch, with the seafood coming from its very own wholesale market and produce coming from local produce growers when possible.
Located at Sandpiper Cove on the eastern edge of the Destin Harbor, Louisiana Lagniappe serves fresh seafood with a Creole flair. The upscale-meets-casual restaurant provides a family-friendly atmosphere with food choices that everyone can enjoy. It consistently ranks as one of Destin’s Top 10 restaurants on TripAdvisor, so know that people love this local joint!
The next time you’re in town, we recommend you give the Destin Water Taxi a try! Not only is it a convenient way to explore the harbor, it also offers a unique vacation experience. Besides, how awesome would it be to simply catch the taxi from the waterfront edge of your Ocean Reef Destin vacation rental? Pretty cool, that’s for sure! If you haven’t yet booked your stay, browse our properties to find the best harborside vacation home that meets your needs!