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With clear skies, warm and clear waters, and an abundance of freshwater springs, Florida offers the most memorable and fun-filled snorkeling experience. Read to know more about the best snorkeling in Florida!

The sunshine state is known for its abundance of very wildlife and offering an array of outdoor activities, including the best snorkeling in Florida. With 1,350 miles of coastlines, plenty of rivers, and natural springs, Florida is a haven for water sports lovers. Moreover, you will be in for a treat if you love exploring marine life and swimming.

Best Snorkeling in Florida

Best Snorkeling in Florida

Housing hundreds of best places to snorkel in Florida, the state is trendy among visitors worldwide. The state has it all regardless of whether you are an experienced diver or a newbie.

In addition, Florida is also the only place in the continental US with a subtropical climate. Due to this, you will experience one of the best snorkeling in Florida all year long. Even in colder climates, the waters will be warm enough.

While most of the best beaches for snorkeling in Florida are in the Florida Keys, you can find notable exceptions on the East Coast. You can snorkel in the state’s natural springs located further north as a snorkeling lover.

That being said, keep in mind that the coral reefs you will find are protected. So, avoid taking or touching anything.

You are missing a lot if you haven’t experienced the underwater fun yet. Get your mask and a few fins, and you are all set to experience the best snorkeling in Florida.

As you read about places to snorkel in Florida

You’ll notice we’ve included some awesome photos of underwater photography by people snorkeling. Yes, underwater cameras for still and video shots are fantastic to keep those memories and share with family and friends. Our current favorite is the GoPro HERO9. It takes amazing photos and videos and has some nice extras. We’ll be reviewing other options soon, too, like the AKASO Brave 7. Some people feel it is an economical option for the HERO 9. Watch for our review coming soon.

Best Snorkeling in Florida

Best Snorkeling in Florida

School of fish with person Snorkeling in Florida

1.    Fort De Soto is a dose of history in sunny Florida.

Fort De Soto is among the best places to snorkel in Florida, and rightly so. The site is accessible by a car while traveling through Pine Byway. I chose that place because you don’t need to rent a boat to access the best snorkeling spots.

The snorkeling place features a seven-mile waterfront with a few beautiful beaches you can explore. Fort De Soto is also home to some of the best beaches for snorkeling in Florida. There, you will also see Battery Bigelow, a submerged piece of the fort located near the fishing pier.

Human interacting with a turtle snorkeling in Florida

Human interacting with a turtle snorkeling in Florida

While snorkeling in the chest-high waters, you will have the opportunity to see a lot of crabs of all types, sea urchins, and live sand dollars.

Moreover, camping at the fort is also an exciting activity. It is one of the most beautiful spots for camping in Florida at an affordable price. There are about 238 family camping sites and a primitive youth camping area.

Best Snorkeling Places

  • Egmont Key State Park
  • Fort De Soto Park
  • Oceanfront St. Pete Beach

 

2.    If you’re looking for an adventure, John Pennekamp is the place to go.

Located in Key Largo, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park offers some of Florida’s most memorable and best snorkeling. The park is home to stunning marine creatures and corals. The site is also a bit historic as it was the first undersea park in America.

My bucket of best places to snorkel in Florida also includes Cannon Beach. While exploring the site, you might see remains of shipwrecks. In addition, the abundance of marine life and a variety of beautiful fish species swimming beside you offer an exciting snorkeling experience.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Moreover, while on the site, don’t miss checking out the sculpture of the Abyss, sinking deep inside this spot. In addition to Cannon Beach, the Banana Reef is another exciting option in the state park. The shallow snorkeling location contains all types of colorful marine and fish life. While snorkeling, you can say hello to parrotfish, the barracuda, and brain corals.

Furthermore, for snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef, I recommend joining a snorkeling boat tour. You will benefit from a local guide and equipment, so you don’t have to do anything. A local guide will also provide details about the local ecosystem, which is fascinating.

Best Snorkeling Places

  • Key Largo Dry Rocks (Christ of the Abyss)
  • Grecian Rocks
  • Garrets Reef
  • Banana Reef
  • Horseshoe Reefs

 

3.    Holy guacamole, it’s the Dry Tortugas National Park!

Dry Tortugas National Park is among one of the best places to snorkel in Florida. The state park is also one of the fascinating hidden gems, offering the best snorkeling in Florida. Located 70-mile from Key West, the park encompasses the historic Fort Jefferson and seven islands. While exploring the park, you will find a combination of history, nature, and relaxation, making the place unique.

a lady snorkeling underwater

Dry Tortugas National Park, Best Snorkeling in Florida

However, remember that the park is only accessible through a ferry or charter. Ensure planning your journey in advance. The ferry charges $190 per person, which includes a park entrance, breakfast and lunch, and complimentary snorkeling equipment.

Moreover, since these are one of the most vibrant corals in Florida, you will have the opportunity to get personal with coral, tropical fish, starfish, and queen conchs. In addition, you can also expect some sea turtles. Furthermore, don’t miss checking out the Historic Coaling Pier Pillings, Coral heads, and the Moat Wall.

Additionally, chartering your boat will let you enjoy snorkeling in Windjammer Wreck and the Little Africa Reefs. If you are planning to visit Dry Tortugas, plan your trip from April to November. During these months, winds are less intense, and tides will be less turbulent, letting you enjoy your time there.

Best Snorkeling Places

  • Dock Ruins on North Beach
  • Moat Wall on South Beach
  • Northwest of Loggerhead Key

 

4.    Don’t you just love Key West? I feel like I’m in paradise every time I visit.

Key West is another destination to experience some of the best snorkeling in Florida. Snorkeling aside, the place is also famous for its breathtaking sunsets, lively atmosphere, and yummy pies. The waters here house a variety of colorful sea creatures, including dolphins.

While you cannot see much from the shore, going on a cruise will let you enjoy having a fantastic time with your family or friends. With plenty of snorkeling cruises in Key West, you can choose a catamaran cruise, allowing two dips. Alternatively, you can go for SNUBA diving, a mix of snorkeling and scuba diving.

Key West Best Snorkeling in Florida

Best Snorkeling in Florida

Key West is great for people who enjoy trying different things and looking for exciting outdoor activities. Moreover, you won’t have to carry any diving equipment because you will be connected to a tube for oxygen. It also means you will have the opportunity to explore more than a simple tuba.

Furthermore, the place also features some of the best beaches for snorkeling in Florida that you might want to explore.

Best Snorkeling Places

  • Higgs Beach
  • Fort Zachary Taylor
  • Sand Key Lighthouse Reef
  • Bahia Honda State Park
  • Dry Tortugas
  • Fort Jefferson

 

5.    As soon as you see the Ginnie Springs sign, you’ll know you’re in for a treat.

Ginnie Springs is among the most visited natural springs in Florida. The pristine place attracts a lot of visitors every year for many reasons. Especially if you are looking for an amazing and the best snorkeling in Florida, make sure to add Ginnie Springs to your bucket list.

You will witness a set of seven magnetic springs just a 48-minute drive northwest of Gainesville. Moreover, the place is open from sunrise to sunset, meaning you can spend an entire day snorkeling. In addition, if you plan to stay at a campground, you will have the opportunity to access springs 24/7.

kids snorkeling underwater

kids snorkeling underwater in Florida

As one of the best places to snorkel in Florida, Ginnie Springs will introduce you to various wild species through the crystal clear, blue spring waters. Keep looking for wild creatures like catfish, large gar, bass, and turtles.

Furthermore, not only are you allowed to bring your snorkeling equipment, but you can rent gear. You can easily find places to rent a snorkel, mask, and fin at an affordable cost. Since the site is top-rated among outdoor lovers and can get crowded, I recommend you visit the spring on weekdays or during off-seasons.

Best Snorkeling Places

  • Devil’s Spring System
  • Ginnie Ballroom
  • Santa Fe River

 

6.    The Devil’s Den in Florida is a well-known spot for scuba diving. But there’s a whole other world hidden beneath the surface.

You can explore the Devil’s Den when traveling north of Ocala in central Florida. Unlike other places to snorkel in Florida on this list, Devil’s Den is an underground site. The location is also one of the most prehistoric Florida springs, offering the best snorkeling in Florida.

While exploring the place, you will walk through a wooden staircase into a carven, opening up into another ethereal world. In addition, if you like to try a truly unique snorkeling experience, Devil’s Den is an excellent site.

person exploring devil's den coral reefs

a person exploring devil’s den, best snorkeling in Florida

Moreover, you can descend about 54 feet in the spring through clear, aqua waters with 72 degrees. Light filters from overhead rock holes will let you introduce yourself to a glimmering world.

Furthermore, you will need a mask, snorkel, and a fin to snorkel and swim there. You can either equip yourself with your snorkeling gear or rent them for $10. However, if you want to rent only one item, the cost is $4.

 

7.    Named after its striking bay, Bahia Honda is a beautiful spot in the Florida Keys.

When exploring the Florida Keys, you tend to explore the most popular places like Key Largo. However, I’m here to tell you that you can’t miss Bahia Honda State Park. While you will love introducing yourself to various wildlife, the park features some of the best places to snorkel in Florida.

Providing you with one of the best snorkeling in Florida, Bahia Honda is also incredibly popular for its breathtaking views, bringing out the best of the sunshine state’s beauty. In addition, palm-lined shores with sparkling, gin-clear waters will let you have a memorable time with your family or friends.

Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park, Best Snorkeling in Florida

Moreover, as a snorkeling lover, you have two options at the park. You can either snorkel yourself near the shore or join a guided snorkeling tour. Also, remember to bring your snorkeling equipment to the shoreline to catch sight of the seagrass beds and rocky bottom beneath.

Furthermore, look for starfish, spiny lobster, and queen conch fluttering around. What’s more, you can introduce yourself to a snorkel boat tour to enjoy a guided adventure. You may also want to explore the National Marine Sanctuary at the park. Sandspur Beach at Bahia Honda is also among the best beaches for snorkeling in Florida.

Best Snorkeling Places

  • Sandspur Beach
  • Looe Key

 

8.    Biscayne National Park is every inch the tropical paradise.

Biscayne National Park is another pristine location that offers the best snorkeling in Florida. You can find the park while traveling to the northern part of the Florida Keys and close to Miami. The national park’s ideal location also makes the site an outstanding escape destination for visitors living in or exploring the city.

Just a 50-minute drive from downtown, you are ready to experience a memorable snorkeling adventure. The site is also home to some of the best beaches for snorkeling in Florida, including Fort Lauderdale beach, Miami Beach, and Key Biscayne.

Biscayne National Park Snorkeling

Biscayne National Park, Best Snorkeling in Florida

Moreover, Biscayne National Park is also home to breathtaking islands, coral reefs, mangroves, and an abundance of incredible wildlife. While exploring the place, look for pelicans, turtles, and other wild creatures. Furthermore, snorkeling at the national park will also let you experience beautiful coral reefs and ruins of ancient ships.

Remember that you cannot start your snorkeling adventure from the shore; instead, you will have to access snorkeling spots by boat.

Best Snorkeling Places

  • Stiltsville
  • Adams Key
  • The Keys
  • Boca Chita Key
  • Elliott Key

9.     Looking for a little sisterly love? Check out Three Sister Springs!

You can access the Crystal River by launching from King’s Bay Park. Three Sister Springs is also one of the most incredible sites in the sunshine state, offering a variety of outdoor activities and an abundance of beautiful wildlife. While driving north of Tampa Bay, you will see crisp, crystal clear waters that provide an opportunity to enjoy the best snorkeling in Florida.

The site is a part of an expanded network of 40 springs known as Crystal River. Incredibly popular for its luscious sceneries, Three Sister Springs in Florida lets you swim and get personal with manatees. You can also join swimming tours in Three Sister Springs. The aggregation of manatees is standing there, so before you step in the water, you must take a course on manatee equate.

Three Sister Spring

A cormorant ignores tourists snorkeling in Three Sisters Spring, Crystal River, Florida, as it chases a school of bait fish

Moreover, swimming is easily accessible at the site from sunrise to sunset. However, the site is often closed during manatee season. This happens when a massive population of manatees swims in the water.

Furthermore, remember that if you plan to enjoy snorkeling, you won’t have access to the famed boardwalk. So, to reach there, you will have to go through the Crystal River City services from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM by paying an admission fee.

 

10. Destin, Florida: where the sun shines bright and the waves crash hard.

Last but not least, Destin (the luckiest fishing village in the world) is also among the places that offer the best snorkeling in Florida. While heading to the Emerald Coast and west of Panama City Beach, you will find this stunning destination with some best beaches for snorkeling in Florida.

Moreover, with striking emerald-green waters, the destination attracts many visitors yearly. It is a must-visit place for people who love birdwatching and marine life. You can enjoy viewing schools of fish, stingrays, anemones, seahorse crabs, urchins, and sea turtles.

Sea creatures on Destin Florida underwater

Destin Florida

For inexperienced snorkelers, I recommend heading to Norriego Point, which you can easily access from the west end of Gulf Shore Drive. Then find protected jetties for an exciting snorkeling venture.

Furthermore, while Destin is among the best places to snorkel in Florida, you can explore many beautiful beaches, including Henderson Beach State Park. The clear views and stunning conditions make for an unforgettable snorkeling experience. In addition, the gulf waters are warm year-round and ready for swimmers.

Additionally, you can also explore East Pass and Destin Jetties. Since they have a human-made structure, you will see a series of artificial reefs for snappers, sheepshead, barracuda, redfish, hermit crabs, and octopuses.

However, remember that Destin Jetty’s waters can be extremely choppy. So, I recommend going to slack high tide snorkeling, especially if you are a weak swimmer. In addition to Destin Jetties, you can also enjoy guided snorkeling tours. That way, you will have the chance to see excellent sites and native Florida wildlife.

Best Snorkeling Places

  • Panama City Beach
  • Emerald Coast
  • Fort Walton Beach
  • Miramar Beach
  • Navarre

 

Have you tried any of these snorkeling areas?

If you’re looking for a fun and affordable way to explore the amazing world of coral reefs and marine life, Florida is definitely the place to be. With so many great snorkeling places to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Check out our list of favorite spots for some inspiration, and get ready for an underwater adventure you won’t forget! Have you tried snorkeling in Florida? What’s your favorite place? Let us know in the comments below.

FAQs

What are some best places to snorkel in Florida?

Ginnie Springs, Destin, and John Pennekamp State Park are a few places for planning amazing snorkeling adventures. But really, any of the options we mentioned offer amazing adventures.

What place has the most transparent water in Florida?

Destin is one of Florida’s most stunning places with the most transparent water. The Choctawhatchee Bay beyond the beach serves as a filter, consuming the darker sediment to make the waters more transparent.

Read More

 

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Visiting Key West Keys, Florida Keys

 

10 Best Beaches for Swimming in Florida 2021

 

Manatee and calf, photographed by snorkeler

Manatee and calf, photographed by snorkeler

 

 

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