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Best Places To Snorkel In Key West

Coffins Patch Key Colony Beach

Best Key West Snorkeling

Some of the best snorkeling in the Middle Keys may be found along the shallow patch reefs that are part of the Coffins Patch Sanctuary Preservation Area , which is located around four nautical miles off of Key Colony Beach.

Coffins Patch is home to a wide variety of marine life, including tangs, tropical fish, jacks, stingrays, nurse sharks, grouper, lobster, butterflyfish, and the inquisitive moray eel. These animals navigate the gentle currents while swimming among soft corals, boulder coral measuring up to three feet in diameter, and some of the most beautiful patches of pillar coral in the region.

Best Spots For Snorkeling: Key West

The Florida Keys are full of expansive beaches, aquamarine waves, and extraordinary sea life. Our waters are warm and perfect for taking a dip at the beach. But, to really see all the unique creatures in our part of the world, you have to grab a mask and some flippers and go snorkeling in Key West, Florida. 1800 Atlantic provides beach vacation rentals of the utmost comfort, so you can head straight to the beach for your underwater adventure.

Best Places To Snorkel In The Keys

Some of the best places to snorkel in the keys are at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the Dry Tortugas National Park, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. These areas are home to a variety of coral reefs and other marine life, making them ideal for snorkeling.

Those who enjoy snorkeling understand that there are few places on the planet where snorkeling can compete with the Florida Keys for tourists. The turquoise waters off the coast of North Carolina are home to the only tropical coral reef in the United States and the worlds third longest barrier reef. Snorkeling in the Florida Keys is unquestionably one of the best experiences one can have. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a popular snorkeling spot in Key Largo. Visitors can expect to see a variety of sea turtles, shipwrecks, bottlenose dolphins, and tropical fish. The most popular activities at the Bahia Honda State Park are snorkeling and camping. This region has the most coral reef areas and marine life on the planet, giving it the appearance of a stunning sea.

Angels, butterflyfish, parrotfish, and turtles abound, making this a fascinating sight to watch. It is one of the most popular snorkeling spots in the Florida Keys. This state park is ideal for beginners as well as children. If you want to see bottlenose dolphins or massive turtles, we recommend taking a boat tour.

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Snorkeling Off The Beach In Key Largo

There are two beaches within the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park where visitors can snorkel directly off the beach. These two beaches are really the only choices besides going out on a boat. The park is surrounded by mangroves. There are different kinds of fish and other marine life to observe. However, there is no coral off the beach. To see coral reefs, visitors need to go out on a boat.

Theres also a shipwreck from a Spanish ship about 100 feet off the coast, which can be interesting to explore. For people who dont want to join a boat tour, these beaches offer some snorkeling, primarily marine life and the Spanish shipwreck.

If the ocean is calm and not very cold, snorkeling directly off the beach could be a fun way for kids to give it a try. If youre interested, make sure to read our giant guide for snorkeling with kids.

The 6 Best Key West Snorkeling Tours Of 2023

Go snorkeling in key west

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Snorkeling In Key Largo Summary

While Key Largo isnt the best area for beach snorkeling in the Florida Keys, there are plenty of snorkel tours from both the state park and other locations. Molasses Reef Key Largo has an incredible range of marine life, while for many Key Largo Jesus snorkeling is seen as an essential part of their trip.

Which Country Is Famous For Snorkeling

The Maldives, with its white sand beaches and turquoise waters, is without a doubt one of the best places to snorkel. The Indian Ocean is a large archipelago of over 1,000 islands with 26 atolls, making it the worlds most geographically dispersed country and an ideal location for underwater exploration.

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Is Snorkeling Worth It In Key West

Snorkeling in Key West is definitely worth it! The water is crystal clear and there are so many beautiful fish to see. Plus, its a great workout and a lot of fun.

Its one of the best places in the U.S. to snorkel due to its proximity to the ocean, where youll find a coral barrier reef just 5 miles offshore. Every morning, at 9:30 a.m., Fury Water Adventures 65-foot catamaran glides across the water. The Rise Snorkel Snorkel excursion on the Reef Morning takes place in the morning when the boat is sailing out to sea. In addition to dolphin tours, boat rentals, and dinner cruises, the Sebago Watersports resort offers kayak rentals. It has more than 2,300 square feet of deck space on a 69-foot catamaran. Customers overwhelmingly praise the crew and the tour experience. They appreciate the groups small size and the fact that it includes knowledgeable individuals.

Explore John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park From Land

Key West Snorkeling Tour | Key West Florida

The most popular snorkeling destination in Key Largo, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is just shy of 60 years old. The nations first underwater park first opened in 1963, and its still packing in tourists today. In fact, thats why we include the park here because almost everyone who comes to Key Largo comes to Pennekamp.

You can walk to two snorkeling beaches in the park, but you wont be spotting any coral, although there will be fish darting around. This is sandy bottom shore snorkeling great for younger kids, beginners, or those who arent confident swimmers. More experienced snorkelers will want to swim out to the remains of an 18th-century Spanish shipwreck , or try some more ambitious spots around Key Largo.

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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

Enter The Underwater World Of Elbow Reef

Elbow Reef is a series of spur and groove coral formations located about 6 nautical miles southeast of Key Largo. The crooked reef has been the bane of many a ship, including the City of Washington, which ran aground and sank here in 1917. The 325ft-long underwater ruin sits in relatively shallow water at around 25ft, and it serves as a hotel and way station for all sorts of sea life, from turtles to nurse sharks, making this one of the Keys most snorkel-friendly shipwrecks.

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Memorable Key West Attraction

One of the most memorable key west attractions is the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. This is where the famous author resided for many years and wrote some of his most famous works. Visitors can tour the home and see many of the original furnishings, as well as Hemingways personal effects.

Free-roaming chickens enjoy the freedom that comes with living on Key West. If you leave Miami, you will have to drive for 150 miles down the Overseas Highway to reach Key West. The word conch is pronounced with the letter kk in its place. From 1912 to 1935, there were a number of railroads in the United States. The Barrier Reef in Key West is the worlds third largest, according to the World Barrier Reef Census. It was once the wealthiest city in the United States when it was a prosperous city. Longtime Key West resident Judy Blume has written several books about her time in the city.

What Youll See Beneath The Sea

Snorkeling in Key West

Higgs Beach

Some of the best snorkeling is found at Higgs Beach, where an old, crumbling breakwater has created a haven for large schools of snappers, grunts, and other fish. The breakwater is surrounded by extensive seagrass beds where Queen Conch, Key Wests mascot, can be found . Be on the lookout for stingrays, tarpon, sea turtles, and manatees, too! Bring your own or rent snorkel gear at Higgs.

A school of Gruntfish and Snappers makes a home in the crumbling breakwater at Higgs Beach.

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Is Key West Good For Snorkelling

Key West is the only barrier reef in the continental United States, making it one of the most popular snorkeling spots in the country. The snorkel tour includes a wide range of excursions, ranging from morning and afternoon adventures to full-day adventures.

Coral Reefs Of The Florida Keys

The Keys were once filled with sand. The Keys once served as the worlds most important tuna fishing ground. As you might be aware, there is a lot of sand on the Keys. As a result, the Keys are not coral reefs. Coral reefs are a type of coral reef, and coral reefs are the reef that covers the Keys. Coral is a rock that has a hard surface and is calcium-rich. Coral reefs are a type of marine ecosystems in which coral, algae, and other invertebrates contribute to the growth and survival of a coral reef. Coral reefs, which are the worlds largest ecosystems, have a diverse range of habitats. They are home to more than 250 species of fish, 400 species of coral, and over 1,000 species of mollusks. During the low tide, the best time to see the Keys coral reefs is between sunrise and sunset. When there is low tide, the ocean floor is exposed. The coral reef structures that are frequently hidden by high tides are at their most beautiful during this time of year.

Best Beaches For Snorkeling In Florida

The Sunshine State is famous for its white-sand beaches and nice year-round weather, but life under the water’s surface is just as exciting. Nicknamed the Emerald Coast, the western coastline bordering the Gulf of Mexico has waters varying shades of green and unmistakable, picturesque views. From the Emerald Coast to the turquoise waters of the Palm Beaches and beyond, Florida’s more than 1,000 miles of coastline have some of the best snorkeling around.

This crystal clear ocean is one of the best places for snorkeling because of its incredible visibility of the reefs and underwater inhabitants. Sea turtles and dolphins are only two of the incredible species you may discover on your journey through this uncharted territory. Destined to find out something remarkable, schedule a tour with one of the area’s many tour groups or venture out with your family the next time you visit Florida. Whether you want to bask in the soothing water, find sharks’ teeth, or come face to face with tropical fish and stingrays, these are 12 of the best places to do it.

West of Key West, Florida

Stuart, Florida

Key Largo, Florida

Cannon Beach at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a must-see for lovers of Florida history and shipwrecks. It’s one of the most fun ways to view artifacts of centuries-old submerged shipwrecks. In Cannon Beach’s calm and shallow waters, this is a popular spot for families to swim with small children.

Riviera Beach, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

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Key West Florida Reef Half

Looking for an exciting way to spend a half day in Key West? Then look no further than a reef snorkeling excursion! Youll get to experience the vibrant colors and amazing marine life that the Florida Keys are known for. Plus, theres no need to be a experienced swimmer our experienced guides will make sure you have a safe and enjoyable time.

During this cruise, snorkelers can drink beer and snorkel on coral reefs. There are numerous attractions in the water, including an underwater world full of exotic fish and neon coral. After swimming to the reef, return to the deck and drink your own beverages. If we start sailing, you should be prepared to see a pod of dolphins swimming alongside the boat.

How Much Does Snorkeling Cost In The Keys

Key Largo Snorkeling – Best Snorkeling in Florida

The Marine Sanctuary offers a five-hour group snorkeling tour for $51 per person. A 3.5-hour group snorkel trip to the Marine Sanctuary or Pennekamp State Park will cost you $56 per person, with stops at two different snorkeling locations. The following is a breakdown of the cost of a private snorkeling tour: $430 for 2.5 hours, $604 for 3.5 hours, and $745 for 4 hours.

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Snorkeling In Key West For Beginners

Snorkeling in Key West can be a great experience for beginners. The clear, shallow waters make it easy to see the colorful fish and coral. You can find snorkeling tours that will take you to the best spots.

There arent many places in the Florida Keys where you can snorkel from the shore, but getting lucky can make it a fun experience. You can snorkel in Key West without getting into a boat or going on a tour. It is, however, possible to travel to North Americas only living coral reef on a boat. In Key West, there is no need to snorkel all the way to the beach. The two beaches that are most popular for snorkeling are located on the south and southwest sides of the island. Seama seaweed is common to see along the Florida Keys shoreline. Sea grass and seaweed are important components of the coastal ecosystem.

Higgs Beach in Key West is a great place to snorkel for free. The beach is free to enter, and there is no need to park. Depending on how you arrive, youll pay around $3 per person if you walk or bike. The campgrounds at Bahia Honda State Park can accommodate snorkelers and campers alike. If there is no traffic, the drive from Key Largo to Key West takes about 2 hours. Although Cannon Beach is the best beach to go snorkeling on, the John Pennekamp beaches are not particularly good. In Key West, snorkelers can go off the beach.

Key West Snorkeling Tour Or Snorkel Key West On Your Own

So there are snorkeling spots in Key West that you can access on your own from shore.

Its possible to snorkel off the beach in Key West.

If you want to go snorkeling in Key West, you dont NEED to go on a snorkeling tour to do so.

But if you want to go to what is considered to be among the best snorkeling in Key West, then you DO need to book a snorkeling tour.

There are Key West snorkeling tours that go to different coral reefs off the shores of Key West that attract fish.

I did shore snorkeling on my own in Key West and the Florida Keys at a few different spots. They were fun snorkeling experiences.

But my favorite snorkeling experience was through a snorkeling tour.

I did a Looe Key snorkeling tour that started an hour north of Key West.

Another famous snorkeling spot that you get to from Key West is Dry Tortugas National Park.

You cant drive to Dry Tortugas National Park.

Instead, you need to take a boat or a seaplane to get to Dry Tortugas National Park.

Its popular to take a day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park from Key West, and the Dry Tortugas ferry often sells out far in advance.

You can also stay overnight at the Dry Tortugas National Park campground by tent camping. Although, Im not sure Id want to do that after reading about a terrible campground review about rats there.

Snorkeling alone in Key West

This at least gives you more of a chance that someone sees you if you get into trouble in the water.

NOT snorkeling alone will always be safer

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What To Do In Key West In December

There are plenty of fun things to do in Key West in December! The weather is beautiful this time of year, so spending time outdoors is a must. The beaches are a great place to relax and soak up the sun, and there are plenty of activities like snorkeling, fishing, and kayaking to keep you busy. If youre looking for some nightlife, Duval Street is always lively with its bars, clubs, and restaurants. And of course, no trip to Key West would be complete without a visit to the famous Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.

In December, there are numerous festive surprises in Key West. Historic Old Town takes on a new glow thanks to the gingerbread millwork, which is infused with twinkling lights and icicles. During the historic Seaports Bight Before Christmas celebration, a number of events will be held. One of the best ways to enjoy the holiday decorations in Old Town Key West is to cycle around the island. On Sebagos Schooner Appledore II, you can take part in the Boat Lighted Parade. When you float past the judges station, make sure to smile for the camera. Adults must purchase a ticket at a cost of $49.95.

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