Top Florida Keys Snorkeling Places 2024
The best snorkeling in the Florida Keys is some of the best in the whole United States, much alone the state of Florida. If you’re considering arranging Florida Keys snorkeling trips, or maybe a full-fledged Miami to Key West snorkeling cruise, this guide is for you.
Explore the top beachside spots for snorkeling in the Florida Keys, along with premier locations for snorkeling adventures by boat to the reefs across Florida.
This guide helps you in deciding on the ideal snorkeling experience for your vacation, whether it’s a tour in Islamorada or Key West, or exploring the underwater wonders of Marathon or Key Largo.
|Florida Keys Snorkeling Spots||Summary|
|1. Alligator Island||Top snorkeling spots|
|2. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park||Best beach snorkeling in the Florida Keys|
|3. John Pennekamp Reef State Park||Kayaking Trips, and Snorkeling Tours.|
|4. Molasses Reef||12-15 feet tall|
|5. Sombrero Reef||Neon-colored tropical fish|
|6. Bahia Honda State Park||Waters are just 6 feet deep|
|7. Indian Key Historic State Park||Reach it by boat|
|8. Dry Tortugas National Park||Reach it by boat or helicopter|
|9. Curry Hammock State Park||Unique Sea animals|
|10. Biscayne National Park||40 small islands|
|11. Boca Chica Key||Heaven place to explore|
|12. Horseshoe Beach||Different types of young fish|
|13. Cottrell Key||Key West National Wildlife Refuge|
So let’s delve into the best Snorkeling in Florida Keys Spots that make your vacation amazing and give you the best experience ever.
1. Alligator Island
Alligator Reef is without a doubt one of the top snorkeling spots in the Florida Keys, and don’t worry, there are no alligators in this area.
Alligator Reef was named after a ship that went down. These relics are located 200 feet from the lighthouse known as Alligator Reef Light and are a must-see!
Many people remember it because of the lighthouse on the reef and the four yellow buoys that identify the permittee.
Although you cannot anchor here, the abundance of aquatic creatures makes it suitable for snorkelers and divers. Some areas are barely eight feet deep.
2. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park
Fort Zachary is one of Key West’s nicest beaches, this state park has some of the best beach snorkeling in the Florida Keys.
You may witness parrot fish, yellowtail snapper, lobster, and heaps of coral because of the rich marine life. It’s a stunning underwater environment.
Of course, you may explore nature paths, go fishing in designated places, go bicycling, or simply relax. However, most visitors come here to take advantage of the greatest snorkeling in the Florida Keys.
You may even rent a snorkel and fins at this park if you don’t want to bring your own. Simply enjoy the sea and shallow reefs that are ideal for snorkelers.
3. John Pennekamp Reef State Park
There are many beautiful state parks around the Keys, but consider these places and how they may provide the best snorkeling in Key Largo.
That is exactly what John Pennekamp Reef State Park does! Tourists and locals alike refer to here as the “undersea park!” because of its 178 nautical square miles of seagrass meadows, coral reefs, and mangrove swamps.
Key West snorkeling options are many, but you should also explore areas that allow you to conduct off-shore snorkeling in the Florida Keys.
This state park is ideal for aquatic sports, with easy-to-follow trails, kayaking trips, and snorkeling tours.
If you’re lucky, you could even encounter stingrays, baby sharks, manatees, and herons! If you prefer, bring your equipment.
Read Also – Explore more best places for Snorkeling Now
4. Molasses Reef
Molasses Reef attracts both residents and visitors because it offers some of the greatest snorkeling in the Florida Keys.
It is a traditional reef with more than 30 dive sites marked with buoys, which means you will observe a lot of coral development.
It is crucial to know, however, that diving and snorkeling will almost certainly need a trip. This is one of the top snorkeling spots in Key Largo, so take a boat trip from Key Largo or Pennekamp State Park to go there!
The depth here ranges from six to ninety feet! There are strong currents on the reef’s outside edge as well, making it ideal for drift diving just be careful.
The purity of the water here is simply amazing, and we guarantee you will see why this is one of the greatest snorkeling experiences in the Florida Keys.
It is only 5 miles off the coast of Key Largo, and the high-profile coral heads right off the sand bottom are 12-15 feet tall.
5. Sombrero Reef
Sombrero Reef offers some of the greatest snorkeling in the Florida Keys, as well as in the Marathon.
Marathon is a 10-mile-long family-oriented village amid the Keys’ island chain. This makes it extremely popular among both residents and visitors.
The fact that this reef is so vibrant is what keeps people coming back. With water depths ranging from 2 to 30 feet, it is good for snorkelers of all levels of expertise.
But what distinguishes this reef is the chance to get up close and personal with any aquatic species.
There are amazing neon-colored tropical fish and corals here. Just remember to admire rather than touch! And go out on the water.
6. Bahia Honda State Park
Take a journey to Bahia Honda State Park if you want to see some of the greatest snorkeling near Islamorada. This beach is ideal for snorkeling and is regarded as the greatest in the Florida Keys.
Snorkeling in the Florida Keys and Key West has never been simpler thanks to this state park- and here’s why!
In addition to Bahia Honda, make sure to check out some of our other favorite things to do in the Lower Keys. Bahia is roughly an hour’s drive from Islamorada, but we urge you to make the trip only to see the island.
At the park, you may spend time on and in the water, swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. Go ahead and do anything you want.
Go ahead and do anything you want. You may stay close to shore since coral, coral heads, fish, queen conchs, and lobster can be found just a few hundred feet out.
The waters are just 6 feet deep, making it an ideal reef for beginners, and the beautiful bridge serves as a stunning background.
7. Indian Key Historic State Park
Indian Key Historic State Park is a great spot for snorkeling in the Florida Keys. It’s also a top place for swimming at a beautiful beach.
You can only reach it by boat, but it’s easy to get there from Islamorada.
Many people, both locals and visitors, come to this famous spot. There are lots of boats that can take you there, and some of them even offer tours of the park.
Once you arrive, you can explore the history of the settlement or simply enjoy the water. The area is surrounded by coral rocks, so you can swim around for a long time.
You’ll find hogfish, sharks, rays, and various other kinds of fish here.
8. Dry Tortugas National Park
This park is about 70 miles to the west of Key West. You can only reach it by boat or helicopter, but it’s definitely worth the trip.
Here are some reasons why Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the best places in the Florida Keys for snorkeling.
Loggerhead Key Beach and Garden Key Beach are two of the many beautiful beaches in Dry Tortugas. These beaches have clear water and lovely views of the islands nearby.
You can snorkel, swim, sunbathe, and analyze the famous Fort Jefferson, which was built in the 1800s.
The waters around Dry Tortugas are filled with fish, sea turtles, and even some rare sharks. The Windjammer Wreck is one of the most well-known spots for snorkeling in the park.
Here, you can check out the remains of an old shipwreck and see lots of fish and other sea creatures.
In the park, people also enjoy visiting the coral reefs, where many different types of sea life live. You can spot colorful fish, big brain coral, and every once in a while, even a moray eel.
The best time to snorkeling in Dry Tortugas is from April to October when the weather is warmer. During this period, the sea life is more active, and the water is warmer and clearer.
9. Curry Hammock State Park
In the upper Keys Florida, there’s a lovely place called Curry Hammock State Park. It’s known for fantastic snorkeling. You can explore various bays and reefs here.
This park has small seagrass areas, so many sea animals gather here. It’s safe because there’s no deep water or risky conditions like in other places.
You can just enjoy cruising around without worry and make lots of memories.
10. Biscayne National Park
Biscayne National Park has only a small amount of land, about 5%. This land includes 40 small islands made of coral reefs and a coast covered in mangrove trees.
In the coral reef area, you can find many different types of animals. If you want to go snorkeling here, you’ll either need a boat or you can join a tour.
It might take some effort, but the experience is totally worth it. Boats depart from the tourist center’s dock and can take you to Elliott Key, which is an island in the park.
There, you can see colorful fish, coral reefs, and even some shipwrecks.
11. Boca Chica Key
Boca Chica Key is a small island near Key West. It has a cool place for snorkeling that not many people know about. You’ll need a boat to get there, but trust me it’s worth it.
To start, park your car at the end of Boca Chica Road. There’s a special area called the Western Sambo Protection Area a short distance to the west.
In this area, it’s not allowed to fish or catch lobsters, so you can’t go kayaking for fishing there. On a nice, clear day, it’s really fun to explore the reef areas all around this protected place.
But for snorkeling, it’s a heaven place to explore and for beginners to know about the underwater world better.
12. Horseshoe Beach: Snorkeling in Florida Keys
Horseshoe Beach is the best spot in the Florida Keys Snorkeling, around mile marker 35. You can go snorkeling there and see sea creatures right by the shore.
The beach got its unique shape when they were building a train track called the Overseas Railway. It used to be a big hole in the ground where they took rocks.
The water inside the horseshoe is calm, which is excellent for baby fish to grow up in. You can spot lots of different types of young fish there.
It’s a good place for families because the water is a beautiful blue. Most tourists don’t go there because there aren’t any shops or services nearby. But that’s why it’s usually peaceful and quiet.
13. Cottrell Key
Cottrell Key is a small island near Key West, and it’s part of a place called the Key West National Wildlife Refuge.
It’s on the side that faces the Gulf of Mexico. The water around this island is usually calm, even when the ocean on the Atlantic side is rough.
If the weather isn’t good for going to the outer Florida Reef, you can go swimming at Cottrell Key instead.
Cottrell Key is like a small undersea hill with lots of sea urchins and soft sponge coral. Surprisingly, some big fish like Goliath Groupers, rays, and moray eels also like to hang out here.
So, if you pay attention, you might see some interesting animals while you’re there.
Best Time to Snorkeling in the Florida Keys
The best time for swimming in the Florida Keys is from May to September, which is in the summer. During this period, the water is warm and peaceful, making it great for swimming and spotting sea creatures.
However, if you prefer a quieter experience, you can visit in the fall or winter when there are fewer people, and the water is still comfortably warm for swimming.
That’s all, folks! There are 10 awesome spots to go to Florida Keys Snorkeling 2024.
So, whether you’re on vacation for water activities or just want to chill, snorkeling here is a fantastic choice. Dive in and enjoy the underwater world. You’ll see many interesting things.