Snorkeling is an admired recreational activity, particularly in tropical locations. The main interest of snorkeling is the possibility to examine marine life in their natural habitat without the complex equipment and instruction necessary for scuba diving. Snorkeling interests all ages due to the little effort required to participate in the activity.
The Florida Keys has the only tropical coral reef in the continental United States and the third longest barrier reef in the world. The reef stretches from Miami in the Atlantic Ocean to the Dry Tortugas in the Gulf of Mexico. While nearly all the snorkeling in the Florida Keys is via boat, there are a few beach or shore access locations to snorkeling. Please note that the healthiest coral reefs that contain an abundance of fish and marine life are located more than a mile offshore.
Top Keys: Key Largo
Cannon Beach is located in Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Cannon Beach is the park’s primary snorkeling beach. Approximately 100-feet offshore, visitors can explore the remains of an old Spanish shipwreck. There are also great snorkeling opportunities of the reef by charter boat or ferry that will take.
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is also a popular snorkeling destination. The Sanctuary features six exceptional snorkeling areas: Statue of Christ of the Abyss, Spiegel Grove, Benwood Wreck, Bibb and Duane, Molasses Reef and the Elbow.
Middle Keys: Big Pine Key
Snorkeling at Bahia Honda State Park is ideal for novice and experienced snorkelers alike. Bahia Honda Park offers snorkeling ocean and bay sides of the key. Charter boats are also available for snorkeling on the reef at Looe Key.
Lower Keys: Key West
Dry Tortugas National Park offers excellent offshore snorkeling in The Keys. The shallow waters and vibrant coral reef allows snorkeling at the Dry Tortugas enjoyable for all levels of snorkelers. A popular snorkeling destination in the Dry Tortugas is at Fort Jefferson. Fort Jefferson is located 70 miles west of Key West, Florida and is accessible via ferry, private charter boat or seaplane.
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