Ecotour Report

Snorkeling the Florida Keys: What to See and Where to Go

Published May 28th, 2024 by KeyZ Charters

The Florida Keys, a stunning archipelago stretching from the southern tip of Florida, offer an underwater paradise for snorkelers. With crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, this subtropical destination is a must-visit for anyone seeking an unforgettable aquatic adventure.

Key Largo: The Diving Capital of the World

Kick off your snorkeling journey in Key Largo, often referred to as the “Diving Capital of the World.” This island is home to the iconic John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first undersea park in the United States. Here, you can explore the mesmerizing Christ of the Abyss statue, a 9-foot-tall bronze sculpture submerged in the waters, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colorful fish and coral formations. Another must-visit spot in Key Largo is the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which encompasses the entire Florida Keys reef tract. This protected area is a haven for diverse marine life, including sea turtles, rays, and vibrant tropical fish.

Islamorada: The Sport fishing Capital of the World

Continuing your journey south, you’ll reach Islamorada, known as the “Sport fishing Capital of the World.” While renowned for its world-class fishing, Islamorada also boasts incredible snorkeling opportunities. The Alligator Reef Lighthouse, a historic landmark, offers a unique snorkeling experience where you can explore the surrounding coral gardens and encounter a variety of marine creatures. Another popular spot in Islamorada is Cheeca Rocks. Here, you can snorkel around the high profile coral heads with copious amounts of tropical fish. It is a well known area for spotting sea turtles and spotted eagle rays.

Marathon: The Heart of the Florida Keys

Situated in the heart of the Florida Keys, Marathon is a snorkeler’s paradise. The Sombrero Reef, part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, is a must-visit destination. This vibrant reef system is home to a diverse array of marine life, including angelfish, parrotfish, and even the occasional sea turtle. For a unique snorkeling experience, head to the Pigeon Key Foundation Maritime Museum and explore the surrounding waters, where you can spot shipwrecks and artificial reefs teeming with marine life.

Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys

As you venture further south, Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys offer a tranquil snorkeling experience. The Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, located off Big Pine Key, is renowned for its stunning coral formations and diverse marine life, including schools of colorful fish and graceful sea turtles. In the Lower Keys, the Bahia Honda State Park is a hidden gem, offering excellent snorkeling opportunities along its pristine beaches and shallow waters.

Key West: The Southernmost Point

No snorkeling adventure in the Florida Keys would be complete without a visit to Key West, the southernmost point of the continental United States. The Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is a popular snorkeling spot, boasting a vibrant reef system just offshore. For a truly unique experience, consider joining a snorkeling tour to the Dry Tortugas National Park, a remote cluster of islands located 70 miles west of Key West. Here, you can explore the crystal-clear waters and encounter a diverse array of marine life, including vibrant coral formations and majestic sea turtles.

Tips for an Unforgettable Snorkeling Adventure

To make the most of your snorkeling experience in the Florida Keys, consider the following tips:

  • Book a guided snorkeling tour with experienced local operators for insider knowledge and safety. Blue Star certified operators have lots of experience and are more ecologically friendly options.
  • Respect the marine life and coral formations by avoiding touching or standing on them.
  • Wear appropriate snorkeling gear, including a mask, snorkel, and fins, for optimal visibility and comfort.
  • Pack plenty of reef safe sunscreen, water, and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout your adventure.
  • Time your snorkeling excursions during calm weather conditions for the best visibility and safety.

With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, the Florida Keys offer an unforgettable snorkeling experience for adventurers of all ages. From Key Largo to Key West, each island offers its own unique underwater treasures waiting to be explored. So, grab your snorkeling gear and embark on an aquatic adventure through this subtropical paradise.

Ready to embark on an unforgettable snorkeling adventure in the Florida Keys? KeyzCharters is a top-rated provider of water experiences in the Islamorada and Florida Keys area and provides the best snorkeling tours. They are a Blue Star Certified vessel and their tours are based with a strong ecological mindset. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the vibrant coral reefs and marine life that make the Keys so special. Our experienced team will guide you in the underwater wonders of this subtropical paradise. Don’t miss out on the chance to create lasting memories – contact KeyzCharters today at 305-393-1394 to book your Islamorada Snorkeling Tour.

‹ Back