Best Snorkeling In Florida
One of my favorite activities to do is snorkeling. Florida has ideal spots for it too. The warm waters, the sun on your back, the amazing types of sea creatures you can see. Over the years, I’ve snorkeled in many different countries and some of the best snorkeling I’ve done is right in the backyard of Florida. The best thing about it, is the fact that anyone can do it. It’s plenty of fun for the whole family!
Snorkeling in South Florida
These are some great places to snorkel in South Florida. The thing I like most about these places, is that they can be considered shore dives. This is when you can basically stand and clear your mask if needed. So these areas are great for kids or beginners!
The Florida Keys
There are so many places to snorkel in the Keys, it’s a little overwhelming. However, these are my Two go to spots for snorkeling in the Keys:
Cannon Beach at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
The main reason I bring this place up is because of the Spanish Ship remnants that are only about 100 feet offshore. The waters stay relatively calm, and the ship remnants are great for attracting many types of fish. You can even see a few Canons and anchors while you’re out there! People have even seen barracudas and tarpon. You could check out more at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Website!
Indian Key Historic State Park
Indian Key Historic State park is an amazing place to snorkel in the Keys. Honestly, it’s probably my favorite out of all of them. This is aerial of Indian Key. It is an island but it is easily accessible by using a kayak. I always rent Kayaks from Robbie’s Marina. The island is an old coral reef, which you can pick up on by looking at most of its shore. The shore is made up of coral rocks which makes for an excellent place for fish to hide and swim around. The best place to snorkel here is by this shell encrusted bench which you can find across the small island from the dock. You can read more about a trip to this island by reading about Florida Ramblers guide to Indian Key!
Phil Foster Park Snorkel Trail
- You might have heard of the Blue Heron Bridge. This spot is located just North of West Palm Beach. A lot of people bring their snorkeling gear and scuba gear here to explore around Blue Heron Bridge. Well Phil Foster Park, which is an island on the Blue Heron Bridge, now has a snorkeling trail! The county built a man made reef in only about 7 to 10 feet of water that is about 800 feet long! It’s a great place to go and check out. They even put some statues that you can swim down to as you can see above!
Snorkeling in The Panhandle(Northwest Florida)
The Panhandle of Florida might not have the great coral reefs that South Florida has, but it still has great snorkeling areas. The waters stay relatively calm during most of the summer seasons and the water temperature stays very warm. The best part about most of these spots is the fact that you can drive up to almost any of them, strap on your gear and swim out. It’s great to just enjoy this at your own leisure.
Pensacola Beach. Fl
- Fort Pickens offers many things to do from fishing, checking out the ruins of the fort, and even snorkeling! I usually stay on the bay side in the Jetties off the Northwest corner of the Fort Pickens seawall and just west of the pier. There are plenty of fish and other sea life here.
- Also on Pensacola’s main beach (Casino Beach), is a fishing pier where a lot of people enjoy going to snorkel around. The Pilings in the water attract many fish but so do the fisherman fishing from the end of it. No need to worry though, just be careful and make sure you know where the fishermen are. Ive seen a huge variety of fish around this pier.
St. Andrews State Park
- St. Andrews State Park is probably one of the easiest places to snorkel in Florida. It is located near Panama City, Florida. The water usually stays clear and crystal green, and the sand is always pure white. This is a state park so the restroom and showers are usually kept in great shape. The Gulf of Mexico always vary with different sea life and clarity of the water. However I haven’t been out to this spot once and been disappointed. If you’re in the Panama City area, this is the place to go snorkeling.
Snorkeling in Southeast Florida
Southeast Florida stays warm almost all year round. That’s what makes this region a prime spot for snorkeling. It’s snorkeling weather anytime of the year! It’s also home to some great coral reefs. You never know what you’re going to see, but you know it’ll be great!
Peanut Island, Riviera Beach, Florida
- Peanut Island offers a variety of things to do. You can visit the Kenedy Bunker, go camping at one of the 20 campsites, or take advantage of the great snorkeling it has to offer. To get there you do either have to take a water taxi from Sailfish Marina or paddle there using a kayak. I put my kayak in at the Riviera Beach Marina, and usually grab a bite to eat at the Tiki Waterfront Sea Grill.
Bathtub Reef, Stuart, Florida
- The main feature at this reef is the reef made by Sabellariid or “Honeycomb” worms. The reef actually looks like honeycombs which is what gives the worms their name. It’s created by tube worms through a process which actually involves cementing together sand and pieces of shells. Also a plus, the reef actually blocks most of the surf so it keeps it very calm and relatively safe for children.
Biscayne National Park, Miami, Florida
- Biscayne National Park offers more than 175,000 acres of underwater possibilities. You can snorkel around mangrove trees, sea grass beds, or even colorful coral reefs similar to the ones found a few hours south of Miami in the Keys, all attract plenty of different types of fish. However, the coral reefs can only be accessed by boat. The park does offer great snorkeling excursions though! It actually makes it a little easier, the dive boat captains will take you to the best snorkeling areas and reefs for the given day and conditions! This website offers tours for exploring Biscayne Park Underwater