If you are ready for an outdoor adventure, the Florida Keys have the perfect ocean playground.
Popular activities include fishing, looking for playful dolphins, sandbar hopping, lobster catching, watching an incredible sunset, and snorkeling. With a mask and a snorkel, you can see a vast underwater world.
The Florida Keys are home to over 6,000 individual coral reefs with approximately 50 coral species. While snorkeling, you can see marine life like conch, spiny lobsters, turtles, starfish, seahorses, tropical fish, eels, dolphins, and so much more.
Start your Key West adventure in the laid-back city of Key Largo. From there, head out on your exploration of the islands of the Florida Keys and the coral reefs.
If you are a snorkeling enthusiast, you are sure to enjoy these seven best snorkeling spots in the Florida Keys.
1) Bahia Honda State Park
One of the most popular places for Florida Keys snorkeling is the fantastic Bahia Honda State Park! This amazing Florida state park is just under 65 miles south of Key Largo.
Why do so many people love snorkeling at Bahia Honda? The clear blue water is teeming with vibrant sea life. Good snorkeling is available right off the beach through seagrass or rocky outcrops. Another option is a boat excursion to the nearby Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary.
Bahia Honda is open daily, including holidays, from 8:00 am until sundown. Snorkeling equipment and kayak rentals are available.
The Bahia Honda State Park fee is $8.00 per vehicle. Amenities at the state park include:
Snacks and lunches for purchase
Mask, snorkel, fins, dive flags, and safety vest rentals
Beach chair rentals
Snorkel excursions to Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary
2) Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary
Snorkel tours to Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary are available daily at 9:30 am and 1:30 pm for 1.5 hours. The Bahia Honda State Park concessionaire offers these tours.
Looe Key boat tours through the Bahia Honda concessionaire are currently:
$29.95 per adult
$24.95 per child under 18
Safety vests are provided free of charge.
Mask, fins, and snorkel are available to rent for an added fee.
Looe Key has a large reef that is excellent for snorkeling. Water depths can vary from seven to 30 feet. You’ll see many species of coral here along with bigger fish like grouper, large parrot fish, reef sharks, and many others.
3) Dry Tortugas National Park
You’ll need to hire a boat or seaplane to find this next fantastic snorkel location. The Dry Tortugas National Park is located 70 miles west of Key West. It’s 100 square miles of national park spread across seven small islands and the vast open water. Surprisingly, dry ground only accounts for one percent of the national park. The rest is the fantastic clear water of the Gulf of Mexico.
You’ll find historic Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas National Park, but marine life is the big draw for most people. Look for a spiny lobster, a sea turtle, an octopus, a squid, and other unique species swimming among the colorful coral.
4) Living Coral Reef Snorkeling In Florida Keys
As you know, tropical fish prefer to hang out along a coral reef. You’ll find plenty of amazing colorful fish swimming in the only tropical coral reefs still living in North America.
The living coral reef of Key West is approximately four miles wide and extends from the Dry Tortugas to just off the coast of Miami.
Sign up for a snorkel tour or charter a private boat to reach this expansive coral reef. Some of the marine life you might see swimming among the corals are sea sponges, jellyfish, anemones, moray eels, rays, and dolphins.
5) John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park In The Florida Keys
You can swim along the nation’s first underwater park in Florida’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. This unique state park is less than 10 minutes from Key Largo.
Out of growing concern for the decline of coral reefs, newspaper editor John Pennekamp led the effort to create this protected state park. It’s 70 nautical square miles situated on Florida’s live coral reef.
Camping is available on the land portion of the state park, along with picnicking, swimming, and walking trails in the tropical hammocks. Snorkel gear, stand-up paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks are available for rent.
The park’s most unique attraction is a 9-foot-tall bronze statue under the water called Christ of the Abyss.
The John Pennekamp State Park is open daily, including holidays, from 8:00 am until sundown daily. Snorkeling equipment and kayak rentals are available. The park entry fee is $8.00 per vehicle plus .50 cents per person.
6) Snorkeling In The Florida Sandbars
You can swim, snorkel, relax and party at Florida’s famous sandbars. Some of the best sandbars for snorkeling include:
Boca Grande Key
Hire a boat and go sandbar hopping. Dolphins, sea turtles, and black-tip sharks are often spotted swimming among the sandbars.
7) Key West Water Activities Package – Snorkeling And More!
Have an amazing Key West adventure! We can create the perfect Key West activity package for you and up to six of your traveling companions.
With our activities package options, you can choose to go fishing, snorkeling, dolphin watching, sandbar hopping, lobstering, or watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. You tell us what your perfect Key West adventure would be, and we will make it happen.
Let’s get you out on the water for some sun and fun. Schedule your perfect Key West adventure!