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Florida has a bright sky, warm waters, and freshwater springs, and there are many top Key West things to do. It makes snorkeling the most enjoyable and unforgettable. Read more about the best snorkeling in Florida and the best beaches for swimming in Florida in 2023!

 

The Sunshine State has excellent snorkeling and lots of wildlife. Florida is a watersports paradise with 1,350 miles of coastline, rivers, and springs. Moreover, you will be in for a treat if you love exploring marine life and swimming.

 

Best Snorkeling in Florida

Best Snorkeling in Florida

 

 
Because the state boasts hundreds of the best snorkeling spots, travelers worldwide visit. The state has it all, regardless of whether you are an experienced diver or a newbie.

Besides, 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.

The Florida Keys have the best beacheson the East Coast of Florida some too. Snorkeling enthusiasts can also enjoy the state’s northern natural springs.

Also, remember that the coral reefs you will find are safe. So, avoid taking or touching anything.

You are missing a lot if you have yet to experience underwater fun. Get your mask and a few fins and share the best snorkeling in Florida.

 

As you read about places to be for the best snorkeling in Florida…

 

You’ll notice we’ve included some fantastic photos of underwater photography by people snorkeling. Underwater still and video cameras are great for capturing and sharing memories. Our current favorite is the GoPro HERO9. It takes fantastic photos and videos and has some nice extras. We’ll also review other options soon, like the AKASO Brave 7. Some people feel it is a cheap option for the HERO 9. Watch for our review coming soon. Also, plan your serene getaway today with these 12 Favorite Quiet Places in Florida to Visit.

 

 

Florida Snorkeling Spots: Ranking

Here are our ratings for each beach based on their potential for snorkeling:

  • Fort DeSoto 50% 50%
  • John Pennekamp 80% 80%
  • Dry Tortugas National Park 90% 90%
  • Key West 60% 60%
  • Ginnie Springs 40% 40%
  • The Devil’s Den 70% 70%
  • Bahia Honda 60% 60%
  • Biscayne National Park 85% 85%
  • Three Sister Springs 80% 80%
  • Destin 50% 50%

Overall, the scores vary based on factors such as water clarity, presence of marine life, and accessibility from the shore. For example, Dry Tortugas National Park and John Pennekamp have high scores since they have crystal-clear waters and rich marine diversity. Meanwhile, some other beaches may not have a lot of marine life or may have murky waters, hence a lower score. It’s important to note that individual preferences also play a role in determining the best beach for snorkeling.

1. Fort De Soto is a Dose of History in Sunny Florida. It Offers The Best Snorkeling in Florida.

 

Fort De Soto is among the best places to snorkel in Florida, with good reason. The site is accessible by 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. Campers flock there to pitch their tents along the lake. Despite this, the waters next to Fort De Soto County Park are peaceful and tranquil. Thus, it is a prime location for initial solitude and tranquility.

 

The snorkeling spot has a seven-mile waterfront with The Best Beaches in Key West. 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

 

 

The chest-high waters have crabs, sea urchins, and live sand dollars. You can see them there when you go snorkeling in the water.

 

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

 

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. It’s easy to see why people visit it for the best snorkeling in Florida.

 

My bucket of best places to snorkel in Florida also includes Cannon Beach. While exploring the site, you might see remains of shipwrecks. The profusion of marine life and gorgeous fish species make snorkeling exciting.

 

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Moreover, while on the site, check out the sculpture of the Abyss deep inside this spot. Also, 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, barracuda, and brain corals.

 

To snorkel in John Pennekamp Coral Reef, I recommend a boat excursion. Your native guide and gear will take care of everything. Local guides will also share exciting ecosystem facts.

 

Best Snorkeling Places

 

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

 

3. It’s The Dry Tortugas National Park! Get The Best snorkeling in Florida Here!

 

Dry Tortugas National Park is among the isolated and quietest destinations, plus the best places to snorkel in Florida. The best snorkeling in Florida is at the state park, another hidden gem. The park includes Fort Jefferson and seven islands 70 miles from Key West. History, nature, and relaxation make the site distinctive.

 

a lady snorkeling underwater

Dry Tortugas National Park, Best Snorkeling in Florida

 
But remember that the park is only accessible by ferry or charter. Ensure to plan your journey. The ferry includes park access, breakfast, lunch, and snorkeling gear for $190.

 

Since they are Florida’s most brilliant reefs, you can go up close to coral, tropical fish, starfish, and queen conchs. Expect marine turtles too. Hence, visit the Historic Coaling Pier Pillings, Coral Heads, and 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. Enjoy your visit there during these months when winds and tides are calmer.

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 and there are many top Key West things to do. Snorkeling aside, people know the place for its beautiful sunsets, lively atmosphere, and delicious pies. The waters here house a variety of colorful sea creatures, including dolphins.

 

Even though you can’t see much from the coast, you will have a great time with your family or friends on a cruise. In Key West, there are many snorkeling trips, and you can choose a catamaran cruise that lets you take two dips. Or, 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 an excellent place for people who like to try outside and there are more top Key West things to do. Also, you won’t have to bring any diving gear. A guide will hook you up to a tube that gives you oxygen. It also means you will have the opportunity to explore more than a simple tuba.

Also, the area has some of the best beaches on the East Coast of Florida for snorkeling that you can check out.

Best Snorkeling Places

 

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

5. You’ll Know You’re In for a Treat as Soon as You See the Ginnie Springs Sign.

 

Ginnie Springs is among the most visited natural springs in Florida. The new place attracts a lot of visitors every year for many reasons. The springs are a must-see for Florida’s best snorkeling.

 

Seven magnetic springs are 48 minutes northwest of Gainesville. Moreover, the place is open from sunrise to sunset, meaning you can spend an entire day snorkeling. Also, if you plan to stay at a campground, you can access springs 24/7.

kids snorkeling underwater

Kids snorkeling underwater in Florida

Among Florida’s top snorkeling spots, Ginnie Springs ranks high. You may witness a wide variety of wildlife from the crystal clear blue spring water. It would be best to keep your eyes out for wildlife such as catfish, giant gar, bass, and turtles.

Also, you can not only bring your snorkeling gear. But you can also rent equipment. You can rent a snorkel, a mask, and fins for a reasonable price. Since the site is popular with people who like being outside and can get crowded, you go to the spring on the weekdays or when it’s not peak season.

  • 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. One of Florida’s oldest springs offers the best snorkeling.

 

As you look around, you’ll find a wooden staircase leading to a cave and another ethereal world. Besides, if you like to try a 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 through clear, aqua waters at 72 degrees in the spring. The light that comes through holes in rocks above you will let you see a sparkling world.

Furthermore, you will need a mask, a snorkel, and a fin to snorkel and swim there. You can either equip yourself with your snorkeling gear or rent them for $10. But, 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. People can see all the creatures in the park. And it’s home to some of Florida’s finest snorkeling spots.

 

Bahia Honda is one of the best places to snorkel in Florida. It also includes some of Florida’s most stunning scenery. Also, you can have a great time with your family or friends on shores with palm trees and sparkling, clear water.

 

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 near the shore or join a guided snorkeling tour. Bring your snorkeling gear to the shoreline to see the seagrass beds and stony bottom.

 

Furthermore, look for starfish, spiny lobster, and queen conch fluttering around. Moreover, you can introduce yourself to a snorkel boat tour to enjoy a guided adventure. Also, 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 location is an excellent getaway for city dwellers and tourists.

 

A great place to snorkel is only 50 minutes by car from the city center. Near the site are some of the best places in Florida to snorkel, like Fort Lauderdale Beach, Miami Beach, and Key Biscayne.

 

Biscayne National Park Snorkeling

Biscayne National Park, Best Snorkeling in Florida

 

Biscayne National Park also has beautiful islands, coral reefs, mangroves, and many unique animals. While exploring the place, look for pelicans, turtles, and other wild creatures. When you snorkel in the national park, you can also see beautiful coral reefs and the remains of old ships.

 

Remember that you can’t start snorkeling from the shore. Instead, you have to take a boat to get to snorkeling spots.

 

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 another Sunshine State wonder. There are various outdoor activities and gorgeous animals. Driving north of Tampa Bay, you’ll discover clean seas for Florida’s best snorkeling.

 

The site is part of an expanded network of 40 springs known as Crystal River. The place also lets you swim among manatees. You can also join swimming tours in Three Sister Springs. The aggregation of manatees is standing there. So before you step into the water, you must take a course on manatee equalization.
 

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

Also, know that if you intend to snorkel, you will need access to the famous boardwalk. Hence, you must use the Crystal River City services between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM and pay an admission price to go there.

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. The Emerald Coast west of Panama City Beach has some of Florida’s top snorkeling beaches.

 

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. View schools of fish, stingrays, anemones, seahorse crabs, urchins, and marine turtles.

 

Sea creatures on Destin Florida underwater

Destin Florida

 

Norriego Point is a good place for snorkelers who have yet to do it. From the west end of Gulf Shore Drive, it’s easy to get to this place. Then find protected jetties for an exciting snorkeling venture.

 
Destin is one of Florida’s top snorkeling spots, but Henderson Beach State Park is another excellent beach. The clear views and stunning conditions make for an unforgettable snorkeling experience. Also, the gulf waters are warm year-round and ready for swimmers.

Additionally, you can also explore East Pass and Destin Jetties. There are many “artificial reefs” because people build them. Snappers, sheepshead, barracuda, redfish, hermit crabs, and octopuses like to hang out on these corals.

Yet, remember that Destin Jetty’s waters can be choppy. So, I recommend going to slack high tide snorkeling, especially if you are a weak swimmer. Also, at Destin Jetties, you can 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

Video Credit: @jimmy007scott

Have You Tried Any Of These Snorkeling Areas?

Florida is the place to go if you’re looking for a cheap and exciting way to see the amazing coral reefs and the planet’s marine life. With so many great snorkeling places to choose from the best beaches in Key West, it can take time to know where to start. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Here are our top picks if you’re looking for ideas for where to dive. Get ready for an unforgettable experience! Have you tried snorkeling in Florida and give a try with the top Key West things to do. What’s your favorite place? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Discover the pristine beauty of the best beaches on the East Coast of Florida, where sun-kissed shores and turquoise waters await. Embrace endless relaxation and coastal adventures at the best beaches in this tropical paradise. Discover the breathtaking wonders of Devil’s Den cave in Florida—dive into an otherworldly subterranean oasis and immerse yourself in nature’s hidden masterpiece. Book your adventure now and experience the magic that lies beneath the surface.

 

Explore the vibrant coral reefs with this list of aquariums in Florida to visit, stroll along the picturesque streets of Old Town, and savor the delectable seafood cuisine in top Key West things to do. Escape the crowds and discover the hidden gems of Florida with these 11 Favorite Quiet Places in Florida to Visit. Looking for a high-quality underwater camera? Check out my comprehensive AKASO Underwater Camera Review and discover why this camera could perfectly fit your underwater photography needs! So, are you ready to dive in?

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. Explore more the Best Beaches in Key West here.

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. Also, check out these 11 Favorite Quiet Places in Florida to Visit.

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