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Best Key West Snorkeling Tours

Food & Cultural Walking Tour

Key West Snorkeling Tour | Key West Florida

Are you a foodie at heart? Do you want to learn about the Key West culture? If so, the Food & Cultural Walking Tour will be right up your alley! The guided walking tour will take you through the historic Old Town district.

The focus of this tour is to provide a genuine local experience. It will feature visit hidden gems and mom & pop establishments. As you walk, you will learn all about the history and culture that makes Key West unique.

Arrive hungry because you will enjoy 4 tastings. The samples include seafood plates, Cuban food, and key lime pie! The tastings are small portions, but they all together equal a full lunch helping. The tour also includes 1 alcoholic beverage and unlimited water.

We recommend that you wear comfortable shoes, sunglasses, and a hat. The length of the walking tour is 3 hours and it is moderately priced. Each tour has a maximum of 12 guests which ensures that you have a more intimate experience.

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Fishing Charter With Experienced Captain

The Fishing Charter With Experienced Captain is a perfect opportunity for anyone wanting a stress-free fishing experience. You wont have to worry about finding the best fishing locations, navigating the waters, or having your own gear!

The Fishing Charter takes you out about 18 miles offshore on a 50 boat. The captain has over 30 years of local experience which provides you with the best chances of making a big catch! The charter is approximately 4 hours in length, accommodates up to 6 anglers, and includes bottled water.

The fishing charter is one of the Key West tours that fall into the luxury price range but is justified by the captains experience and safety-first mindset. You should definitely check this one out if you want the ultimate fishing trip. After spending hours in the salty air, you will probably be craving a tasty dessert, so here are the 7 Best Places For Key Lime Pie In Key West!

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Things To Do On The Island

We know not everyone wants to be in the water for everything they do in Key West. In the Keys, there are so many things to do, and the best part, you can get to most of everywhere on the island by walking or biking. For the history buffs, see the treasure that has been discovered off the Florida shores at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum or see the house that was once a getaway home to President Harry S. Truman, and served as a vacation home to other political figures by doing the Little White House tour. If you’re more interested in maritime history and shipwrecks, then the Shipwreck Historeum Museum is what you’re looking for. With live actors, lasers, and a chance to lookout from a 60-foot lookout tower, that make the experience remarkable. Think you have what it takes for a spooky connection with the spirits of the Keys?

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Snorkel And Sail Combos

Do you like history and water sports? Then Appledore Star will be the breath of fresh air you needed for your Key West vacation and snorkel adventure. Youll feel like youre stepping back in time after boarding this wooden 65′ schooner. And on top of the awesome boat, the crew leads you out to the only living coral reefs in the continental United States. After snorkeling the waters that lie a few miles off the coast of Key West, and navigating your kayaks through the heart of Key West Wildlife, guests are provided with a lunch filled with fresh shrimp, fried chicken, fixings to make your own sandwiches, and a variety of fruits to refuel. On the breezy ride back to mainland, guests can enjoy complimentary beer, homemade sangria, and wine as a nice treat to end this 6 hour adventure.

If your looking to step aboard something that is more modern, try Catamaran Reef Snorkel. On this tour, you get to sail on a luxurious 68 foot sailing catamaran, and get to explore the living coral reefs ecosystem in style. If you are looking for a shorter snorkeling trip, this is the one for you, lasting only three and a half hours, and providing a full hour of snorkeling and the rest of it traveling by wind power.

Key West Reef Snorkeling

Key West Tour And Snorkeling Trip by Spur Experiences®

There are plenty of private and group tours available from Key West for those who want to see some of the best coral reefs in Florida. The locations for group tours are often weather dependent and are thus decided on the day. If you charter a boat you have more control over where to go, though of course conditions will still play a major part.

Dry Tortugas

Dry Tortugas is a National Park comprising seven small islands off the coast close to Key West. Its one of the best places to snorkel in the Florida Keys. Historic Fort Jefferson can also be found here.

Visitors can choose between three main ways to get to Dry Tortugas National Park. The short seaplane trip is incredibly popular, and normally booked up for months in advance. Other options include the National Parks own Yankee Freedom ferry or chartering a private boat. Whichever you opt for, do make a booking as soon as you can.

Key West seaplane charters operate the seaplane trips from Key West to Dry Tortugas. This journey takes just 40 minutes, and en route there are superb views over the Keys to enjoy. As passenger numbers are strictly limited, these seaplane trips book up very fast. The trips offer snorkeling near Key West for half or a full day.

The trip by high speed catamaran takes about two-and-a-quarter hours, and the Yankee Freedom has an air-conditioned cabin and an outdoor sundeck. Meals are supplied, and other amenities on board include bathrooms with freshwater showers.

Looe Key

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Our Recommended Boat Trip: Dry Tortugas National Park

If you are only going to be in Key West and not venturing farther up the Keys, our most recommended Key West snorkeling boat tour is to the Dry Tortugas National Park, which is 70 miles west of Key West. Unlike the other boat tour options, you sign up specifically to go to Dry Tortugas.

It is a full day trip and there is some decent snorkeling at this unique location. The boat ride out is long, but the park itself is very interesting and the snorkeling is usually in good visibility with some fun sea life to see.

Read our Dry Tortugas page for pictures, details and maps of the snorkeling there.

Private Boat Tours With Snorkeling

If you want to have a premium experience, you can think about reserving a boat just for your group. This is an excellent solution if your group is already large enough, as the price is fixed per group. Take a look at the private boat tours. Most include snorkeling gears and the captain has the right knowledge to take you to the best reef spots for snorkeling.

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Types Of Key West Snorkeling Tours & Excursions:

There are basically three choices for snorkeling excursions in the Florida Keys.

Choice #1 -The Cattle Boat Tour

Cattle boats are a very popular choice because they are inexpensive and provide free beer. The average cattle boat holds anywhere between 20 and 150 snorkelers and will cost you anywhere between $40 and $95 per person.

Cattle boats will take you out to the most popular destinations which are saturated with up to 150,000 snorkelers per year . Once there, you will encounter some reef fish, a few patches of live coral, and up to 250 other snorkelers. You will be allowed to snorkel for about 45 minutes, after which someone will blow a whistle and herd you back to the boat . If this your idea of a fun time, then by all means enjoy!

Choice #2 Private Charter

The private charter is a great way to see the reef but can be a bit cost prohibitive, especially if there are less than 4 people. The boats range in size from 28 to 50 feet, and they typically serve good food and beverages.

With a little advance knowledge and favorable weather, you can usually persuade your captain to take you to some of the better locals only reefs which are really nice. You will experience lots of fish, lots of healthy live coral, and most of all, no crowds kicking you in the face.

Some captains and mates will accompany you in the water and, if youre lucky, will point out some of the really cool reef creatures.

Choice #3 Namaste ECO

Places To Stay In Key West

Key West’s Best Snorkeling Trips: Sunset Watersports

Need to find a place to stay in Key West? Best On Key West is known for finding the best deal that are within your budget, and best fit your vacation. The Keys have some of the most charming and top rated Bed and Breakfasts in the Southeast United States. If you’re looking for a beachfront hotel, we can help you find the best deal. Looking for the cheapest deal? Just use our new and improved search, and we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

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Snorkeling In Marathon Summary

Some of the finest coral reef snorkeling in Florida can be found around the Marathon area. An abundance of shore snorkeling areas makes it the perfect place for beginners, while more challenging reefs will also please more experienced snorkelers. Sombrero and Looe Key Reefs in particular are highly recommended.

Key West Snorkeling Tours

Key West snorkeling tours provide the number one rated snorkeling tours in Key West all on one website to make it easy for you to find the best one to fit your Key West vacation. So grab a mask and a snorkel and join us on one of our daily adventures that take you out on the beautiful waters of Key West for a full day of fun and adventure. Snorkel the most popular Key West attraction, the living coral reef, and relax on the boat ride out and back. There are so many different ways to do a snorkeling trip:

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Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach

For a fee you can access this Key West snorkeling beach on the southwest tip of the island. There is a manmade breakwater divided into numerous parts in front of this beach that can be a good place to spot some fish and other sea life. Being right on the tip of the island, currents are likely, so if you choose to go outside the breakwater be mindful. TripAdvisor has some reviews of the snorkeling here.

Snorkeling Spots With A Boat

Key West Snorkeling

You can get the best snorkeling experience in Key West by going to the reefs off Key West with a boat. Here we report the best areas.

Key West National Wildlife Refuge

The Key West National Wildlife Refuge is a collection of islands located west of Key West. The seabed around the islands is shallow and home to the third-largest coral reef in the world. Most snorkel tours head to this area, where you can be sure you can see tropical fishes and coral-filled bottoms. The most famous islands are the Marquesas Keys and Boca Grande Key.

Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park is an archipelago located approximately 68 miles from Key West. It is also part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Dry Tortugas is probably the finest snorkeling spot. You will be able to reach Fort Jefferson Island, where it is very easy to dive in search of tropical marine fauna and flora in the waters around the island.

Dry Tortugas is a restricted access park and can only be reached via a boat tour to the Dry Tortugas or by seaplane.

Sand Key Lighthouse

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Snorkeling Tour In 2 Points Of The Coral Reef From Key West

Travel from Key West to the coral reef on this snorkeling-focused tour. You will be sailing on a catamaran, a very stable vessel and ideal for sailing in shallow water.

You will reach the first point of the reef where you would have time to snorkel. Snorkeling equipment is provided by the tour operator and includes a mask, fins and snorkel vest.

After this first dive, you will follow your catamaran trip to snorkel to another spot on the reef. The tour lasts about 3 hours, of which half of the time is dedicated to snorkeling and the other half includes travel and relaxation time on board.

The 6 Best Key West Snorkeling Tours Of 2023

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Snorkeling In The Florida Keys

As many of us have found while living or vacationing in Florida, snorkeling can be a hit-or-miss proposition.

With nearly 1200 miles of coastline, Florida offers a plethora of shore types, open-water visibility conditions and sea floor compositions. The quality of the snorkeling experience varies widely throughout the coastline of Florida.

But Key West offer a consistent and favorable snorkeling experience all yearlong with clear visibility and hundreds of colorful, and accessible, living coral reefs from which to choose.

Many Key West snorkeling reviews address the topics of Florida Keys snorkeling from shore and snorkeling in the Keys without a boat. Here we will open up the kimono to see all that the Keys has to offer in breathtaking snorkeling by guided tour boat.

I grew up on the West Coast of Florida and Ive snorkeled and spearfished extensively there, as well as throughout the Florida Keys. In my experience its all about local knowledge and access to the best snorkel spots.

Im talking about the kind of locations which the typical tourist will never know about nor experience.

Since we were kids the proposition of staying below the surface of the water while still breathing the surface air was simply fascinating.

For as long as we dared we could stay facedown in our neighbors pool and experience a whole other world underwater without concern for holding our breath or running out of air.

And sea life thrives in the year-round warm water of the Keys.

Ultimate Adventure Tour With Breakfast Lunch And Drinks

Best Key West Snorkeling

The Ultimate Adventure Tour really is what it sounds like. Youll spend six hours out on the water with breakfast nd lunch doing almost as many watersports you can do in Key West as possible. Youll get to sail on a large catamaran out to the Florida reef to snorkel then later you can parasail, play with bouncy water toys and even go jetskiing!

The Ultimate Adventure Tour is perfect if you have only one day to spend on the water and you want to experience as many activities as possible. If some of the activities dont interest you, you can stay on the catamaran and sunbathe the day away.

They split the boat up into different groups and assign a timeframe to each group to ensure that everyone gets an equal opportunity to try each activity. It was a smooth process and we felt like we had a sufficient amount of time trying out each new thing.

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Final Thoughts On Snorkeling Key West

Some people go to Key West for romance, other to seek out water sports, or even riding bikes on Key West. For us, a romantic weekends in Florida combine a little of all of these, which is what we found so beautiful about Key West snorkeling.

Every Key West snorkeling trip was snorkeling plus something else. We took a sunset cruise and went snorkeling one day, and the next took a bugeye schooner for a kayak and snorkel adventure. There are so many choices, options, trips, and combinations. You could try something new every day of your vacation and still not run out of tours!

Even if your idea of paradise is a stiff mojito, conch fritter, and slice of key lime pie, you really should try snorkeling in Key West if youre the least bit curious. Key West is home to Americas only living coral reef, but its dying day by day. The reef is under stress from climate change and coral bleaching. Its also under siege from cruise ships and throngs of tourists, but its not to late. Even little steps can sway the tide.

Like so many changes, they start with you and your choices. However, people still need to go and see the beauty of the reef. For once they see this, theyll realize that theres so much more work to be done. They can rally against cruise ships dumping their bilge on the way out of port and work on reducing their carbon footprint.

Its the beauty and love of the natural world that will inspire us to all do better.

Ed and Jenn

Deepsea Sportfishing Excursion In Key West

One tour I unfortunately did not get to participate in during my time in Key West is a Key West deepsea fishing excursion. After a summer of doing as much as possible in Key West, I guess I just ran out of time and money . However, even though I did not go deepsea fishing, I definitely think its a great activity to do while in the area.

Choose between a four, six or eight hour excursion with the chance to catch Mahi Mahi, Tuna, Sailfish, Marlin and other local Key West fish. Plus you can pay for a group of up to six people and have the boat all to yourselves. Be sure to try any of the fish dishes at the restaurants in Key West for some of the freshest fish youll ever have! Im not generally a fish eater, but when I spent time in Key West I definitely order it. My go-to favorite is Mahi Mahi.

And those are my top 8 favorite excursions/tours that are definitely worth the money in Key West! Please let me know if you have any questions about any of these excursions or about visiting Key West in general. Im a real person that loves to talk travel.

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