Florida Keys Snorkeling

Florida Keys snorkeling has it all. Crystal clear waters, diverse marine life, and some of the best snorkeling you’ll find anywhere, period.

If you’re planning a trip to the keys and want to know which Florida Keys snorkel spots to explore then check out our list below for some epic inspiration!

The Best Snorkeling In Key Largo/Upper Keys

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

snorkeling john pennekamp coral reef state park

John Pennekamp coral reef state park is home to the very first underwater park created in the USA – Which at 25 miles in length offers a huge amount of water activities to enjoy!

The Coral reef that lies within the park is the only living coral barrier reef within the continental United States, and, is the third longest barrier reef in the world.

Needless to say that snorkeling here truly provides some of the best and most memorable, and this is one of the best places to snorkel in the keys without a boat.

Cannon beach which is located within the part has beautifully peaceful and calm waters (perfect for families), and only 100 feet off shore you can explore an ancient Spanish shipwreck!

However, if you are willing to venture further out and take a boat tour then this is where the best snorkeling is – Snorkel tours depart several times per day and you can rent your snorkeling equipment at an extra charge (but I always recommend you invest in your own snorkel gear!).

Whilst snorkeling John Pennekamp State Park you can expect to lots of colorful fish as well as eels, rays, turtles, grouper, some really vibrant healthy corals and much more!

Other popular activities at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park include; canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, swimming, scuba diving and wildlife viewing.

Molasses Reef

best snorkeling key largo

Molasses Reef is located within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and is the most visited reef within the upper keys!

This famously popular site is known for having excellent visibility in the water with an abundance of different sea life to see

You can also see some huge brain coral as well as other hard and soft corals.

Molasses Reef is located a few miles off shore so you will need to join a boat tour from Key Largo or John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to get to it, but it is well worth the effort to make the trip.

The water depths here vary – Some of which are the perfect depth for snorkeling, and some much deeper making this a really popular location for scuba divers too.

Best Snorkeling In Middle Keys

Islamorada

Islamorada plays home to several of the very best Florida keys snorkeling spots.

Key Largo and Key West may be the more popular tourist destinations, but the Middle Keys have some of the best coral reefs for snorkeling.

Two of those must visit snorkel spots in the middle keys are Alligator reef lighthouse and Sombrero Reef…..

Alligator Reef Lighthouse

Best snorkeling keys

A boat’s ride away from Islamorada but this area is essential exploring for snorkel lovers

What makes Alligator Reef so special?

The visibility is excellent and this location is absolutely teeming with tropical fish, which includes some large schools of barracuda and snappers.

in fact just about every tropical fish you can possibly imagine will be located at this must visit snorkel spot.

There are deeper waters fairly close by attract also attract larger marine life like nurse sharks, grouper – and possibly even a rare sighting of a hammerhead shark.

Sombrero Reef

Just like Alligator Reef, Sombrero Reef also has the most perfectly clear blue waters.

With visibility as clear as this, and the chance to see a huge amount of vibrant sea life it’s no wonder Sombrero Reef is known as one of the best snorkel spots in the Keys.

You can see a huge amount of different tropical fish here, plus regular sightings of sea turtles.

There are a ton of beautiful corals and spongers, and some very interesting topography too. Not to mention, the depth of the water here is fairly shallow and therefore perfect for snorkeling!

Bahia Honda State Park / Looe Key Reef

snorkeling bahia honda state park

Bahia Honda State Park is small but home to some stunning natural beaches that are considered to be some of the best natural beaches within the Florida Keys.

Bahia Honda’s beaches themselves (whilst gorgeous) don’t provide the greatest snorkeling, but, the nearby reefs that are a short boat ride away have some of the absolute best snorkeling within Florida!

The water depths at Looe Key reef vary from 5 feet to 70 feet so there is an ideal location for snorkelers of all abilities, and is a really popular area for scuba diving as well.

Loou Key is right at the edge of the barrier reef and is home to some much larger marine life like sharks, rays, giant grouper and giant parrotfish (as well as the usual vibrant sea life you come to expect when Florida Keys snorkeling).

Bahia Honda is popular for the whole host of activities that you can do here which includes camping, diving, bird watching, cycling, kayaking, hiking, snorkeling & more. (Note though that the limited amount of camping spots are filled extremely quickly & pretty far in advance!)

Best Snorkeling In Key West

Dry Tortugas National Park

snorkeling dry tortugas florida keys

Right at the westernmost part of the Florida Keys lies one of the best places to snorkel in Key West – Dry Tortugas National Park

This remote group of seven islands are about 70 miles west of Key West, and they’re only accessible by seaplane or boat.

The untouched and largely undisturbed reefs here are filled with vibrant and healthy corals and a huge variety of tropical fish, plus larger marine animals like rays and turtles.

Like Bahia Honda, Dry Tortuga’s offers a huge array of activities to enjoy whilst you there, such as; scuba diving, fishing, kayaking and camping.

Bird watching is a very popular activity as well here due to the fact that the grounds are a popular breeding spot for tropical birds, and many migratory birds also pass through here.

Fort Zachary Taylor

best snorkeling in fl keys

At Fort Zachary Taylor history and nature collide to make for an amazing adventure for the whole family.

The historic Fort Taylor predates the Civil War and also provides the housing for the largest cache of civil war armament in the world.

You can enjoy a guided tour around the fort and engage in many other activities here like picnicking, hiking, fishing, paddling, and of course, snorkeling!

Many will appreciate the fact that there’s no boat trip required for this beautiful Florida Keys snorkeling spot as the snorkeling is done right from the beach itself, and is great for snorkelers of all ages and abilities.

With some of the best snorkeling in key west, you can expect to encounter plenty of different species of tropical fish, as well as many different types of hard and soft corals.

Finally

With its abundance of brightly colored tropical fish and vibrant healthy corals it’s the Middle Keys that provide the best snorkeling within the Florida Keys.

But, Key Largo and Key West aren’t without some stunning locations of their own so needless to say whichever area you visit, you’re bound to have an unforgettable experience!

For even more snorkeling inspiration check out our list of the overall best places to snorkel in Florida as well as our many guides to purchasing your own snorkeling gear.