American Oceans

17 Great Places to Snorkel Around Florida

For an unforgettable snorkeling experience, head to Florida! With its abundance of coral reefs and freshwater springs, the Sunshine State offers some of the best snorkeling in the country. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, there’s a spot for you.  

people snorkeling off the coast of florida

It’s sometimes difficult to know where to start your snorkeling journey, especially if you’re not a local. How do you know where to find the best places to snorkel in Florida?

I believe in taking you beyond the guidebooks and sharing the short and sweet of each of these amazing snorkeling spots in Florida. 

Together we can witness the beauty of swimming with manatees or feel the thrill as fish swim by. Get your underwater GoPro ready as you swim deeper and document your underwater journey.

See mother nature in a whole new light and let these beautiful, breathtaking snorkeling spots in Florida be your best-kept secret.

Best Snorkeling Spots in Florida

Snorkeling is a fun and easy way to explore the underwater world. Are you’re looking for some of the best snorkeling spots in Florida?

I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite spots, from Devil’s Den to the Florida Keys. So grab your mask and fins and get ready for some amazing marine sightings!

Phil Foster Park

900 Blue Heron Blvd, Riviera Beach, FL 33404
Phone: 561-966-6600
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Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach, Florida is one of the best places to snorkel in Florida! Located on Singer Island, this waterfront park puts you center stage for a vibrant coral reef and seagrass meadow.

Watching the sunset over the ocean while you snorkel is one of my favorite Florida memories!

The best place to snorkel in Phil Foster Park is in the northern part of Blue Heron Bridge at the Underwater Snorkel Trail. There are many sea creatures living among the man-made reefs.

I’ve seen many different types of marine life on my previous snorkeling trips! Including pufferfish, starfish, eagle stingrays, tropical fish, manatees, sea turtles, angelfish, and seahorses.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

102601 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037
Phone: 305-451-6300
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Another top snorkeling spot on my list is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but I love this place because of its easy access and thriving marine life. When you visit, you will see over 200 kinds of tropical fish and coral. 

The best snorkeling spot in the park is located just offshore of Molasses Reef. Here, you can swim with spiny lobsters, parrotfish, damselfish, and barracuda.

I’ve also seen sea cucumbers, urchins, shrimp, and anemones. The best part? This natural reef is thriving thanks to its protected status!

Pro tip: Best time to take pictures is between 10:30-11 AM. Get close, low, and aim the camera up to use the light or camera flash.

Ginnie Springs Outdoors, LLC

7300 Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, FL 32643
Phone: 386-454-7188
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Ginnie Springs Outdoors, located in High Springs, Florida, is famous for its crystal-clear springs. Kept at a year-round 72-degrees. It’s also a great place to snorkel and dive with over 60 feet of underwater visibility. 

Best known for the Devil’s Spring system and the Ginnie Ballroom, this area offers several areas of underwater caves to explore.

It is one of the few places experts say is safe for exploration by people without formal cave diver training. This natural spring has become a popular destination for diving and snorkeling.

During my last visit, I spotted a few turtles and some small fish. Others have seen alligators sunning themselves on the banks

Dry Tortugas National Park

240 Margaret St, Key
Phone: 800-634-0939
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One of the best snorkeling spots in Florida is located 70 miles west of Key West. Dry Tortugas National Park protects a small island chain and its wildlife. It’s best known for Fort Jefferson, a massive, yet unfinished coastal fortress.

Snorkeling at this national park is best done from a boat tour or from designated snorkeling sites. One of my favorite spots is snorkeling around the moat wall of Fort Jefferson.

There you can see coral, sea fans, brain coral, and different types of fish! Little Africa Coral Reef is another great spot, especially to see sea turtles and tropical fish!

Pro tip: Try snorkeling around the moat wall at night.

Biscayne National Park

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Biscayne Bay National Park is located between Miami and Homestead, Florida. One of the most well-known things about Miami is the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve. This area protects mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs, and other aquatic habitats.

One of my favorite snorkeling spots at this park is the Maritime Heritage Trail, where you can explore the remains of a historic shipwreck. Keep an eye out for manatees, sea turtles, and nurse sharks!

The offshore reefs in the waters of Biscayne National Park are only accessible by boat. You cannot get to them by swimming on the beach or from the mainland or small keys. Reserve a guided tour with Biscayne National Park Institute.

Peanut Island

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The 80-acre Peanut Island Park is located in Riviera Beach. You can get to the park by shuttle boat, paddle, or kayak. While you’re here, you can explore the various coral reefs surrounding the island.

Peanut Island snorkeling lagoon has long been on my list of the best places to snorkel in Florida without needing a boat to get there. You can visit this reef from the beach and snorkel between shallow waters for a chance to see schools of fish and sea turtles.

Its rocky coast and its location at the entrance to the inlet attract colorful fish and creatures. Including stingrays, manatees, and little sharks. The most frequent sightings are sergeants majors, parrotfish, and angelfish.

Pro tip: Try to spot the North Atlantic Right Whales that migrate through here during the winter months.

Bahia Honda State Park

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Bahia Honda State Park is best known for its beautiful beaches and wildlife preserves. You can also enjoy snorkeling right off the beach at Bahia Honda State Park.

The best snorkeling spot is on Looe Key Reef, where you can take a snorkel tour above a patch reef of elkhorn coral. Keep an eye out for nurse sharks and eagle rays along with tropical fish.  

During my last visit, I spotted spiny lobster, starfish, queen conch, and lots of vibrant marine life. The reef is full of life and you can explore a world of wonders underwater.

Depths range from 5 to 70 feet, making this an ideal location for snorkelers of all skill levels.

Pigeon Key

2010 Overseas Highway Marathon, FL 33050
Phone: 305-743-5999
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Pigeon Key is a tiny island off of the Seven Mile Bridge. Perfect for a small day trip. Bring your own gear and stop off at one of the best places to snorkel in Florida.

The white-sand beach at Pigeon Key is surrounded by schools of colorful fish in the shallows. Discover relics of the past in the water. Stones were railway track materials from the time of construction, as well as metal encrusted with barnacles. 

The best places to snorkel are near the dock, off the beach, or around the opening of the saltwater pool on the south side of the island. You’ll find hundreds of fish right under the dock. Explore seagrass beds and shallow hard bottom habitats.

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

10900 Jack Nicklaus Dr, North Palm Beach, FL 33408
Phone: 561-624-6950
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John D. MacArthur Beach State Park offers a wide range of activities, including one of the best places to snorkel in Florida. 

This park does not have a designated snorkeling area, but you can explore all around the beach.

Near the big rock outcroppings, you will find beautiful sea life near the water’s edge. This is a rare beach where you can find great snorkeling without having to go on a boat tour or swim out to a reef.

I have seen a variety of reef animals, including bright-colored tropical fish, reef squid, and schools of tarpon and snook. Turtles, sharks, or Caribbean squid can sometimes be observed.

Pro tip: Shuffle your feet – stingray season runs from spring to fall.

Coral Cove Park

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Coral Cove Park is where you go when you first want to learn to snorkel. With calm water and plenty of marine life, this is a great place to start. Easy to reach with a short swim from shore, it’s one of the best places to snorkel in Florida.

The best snorkeling is near the big rock outcroppings, where you will find many reef fish and colorful tropicals.

You can spot lots of beautiful reef fish, sea urchins, sand dollars, hermit crabs, and cowfish. These are a few of the many marine species you might see snorkeling at Coral Cove Park. 

If you are lucky, you might be able to see some purple eels, nurse sharks, loggerhead turtles, or barracuda.

Bathtub Beach

1585 SE MacArthur Blvd, Stuart, FL 34996
Phone: 772-320-3112
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Bathtub Beach is best known for its crystal clear water and light sand, but many snorkelers know it’s also a great spot to see marine life.

Near Bathtub Beach, you can dive and snorkel on a reef made by sabellariid worms. These worms join together sand and bits of shell to form porous rocks and ledges. 

One of the best places to snorkel in Florida is Bathtub Reef on Hutchinson Island. You can easily swim out and be face-to-face with huge schools of fish. Explore the tropical fish, sea turtles, lobsters, grouper, and sea urchins.

Pro tip: Advanced snorkelers will enjoy Georges Valentine shipwreck

Fort Zachary Taylor

601 Howard England Way Key West, FL 33040
Phone: 305-295-0037
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Fort Zach, as locals call it, is considered a hidden gem and is only visited by people looking for it.

Snorkeling is one of the best ways to enjoy the crystal clear waters Key West has to offer. Fort Zachary Taylor is a historic site that still contains some structures from its origins in the 1800s. 

The best snorkeling spots are a little ways away from the bay. There you can find lobster, parrotfish, schools of yellowtail snapper, various hard and soft corals, and many other species.

Not known to have the best beaches as they are very rocky and better for snorkeling. The water is very clear compared to other beaches in Key West. 

Pro tip: Water shoes are recommended to navigate the rocky beaches.

Alexander Springs

49525 County Rd 445, Altoona, FL 32702
Phone: 352-669-3522
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Alexander Springs is located in Ocala National Forest. It is best known for its crystal clear, 72-degree water that flows out of a freshwater spring. Where visibility usually reaches 90 to 100 ft. You can explore comfortably underwater all year round.

Snorkeling is only permitted in the swimming area known as Alexander Pool. The spring is mostly shallow (4-6 ft), except in a deeper area to the right of the basin, near the vent, where it is deeper (27 ft).

You can see many different types of fish in the pool, especially near the underwater plants. Some common ones are mullet, bluegill, and redbreast sunfish. You might also see spotted bass, turtles, water snakes, or small alligators.

Crystal River

915 North Suncoast Boulevard Crystal River, Florida 34429
Phone: 800-587-6667
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Crystal River is a beautiful place with incredibly clear freshwater springs. It is nestled on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Three Sisters Springs allows for one of the best snorkeling spots in Florida to swim with the manatees.

The best time to see them is in the winter. Take one of the manatee tours to get up close with the gentle giants. It’s an experience you won’t forget. 

Go diving for bay scallops in the summer on a scallop tour, and the lucky ones will also spot dolphins.

Fishermen are delighted with the bountiful fish that swim in these cool spring-fed rivers. With bass, sheepshead, mullet, bluegill, and grouper being the most frequently caught. 

Destin

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The crystal-clear water of Destin makes it a paradise for snorkelers who want to view aquatic life! You’ll see different types of fish, stingrays, seahorses, crabs, anemones, sea urchins, and sea turtles!

Snorkeling in Destin is best around the rocks at Henderson Beach State Park. It is best to go during a low tide, as the water is very shallow and it’s easier to explore. Destin also has plenty of sea life located in the reefs off-shore. 

More snorkeling options with East Pass and the man-made reefs at the Destin Jetties. You can find many different species of fish, many types of corals, and other marine life. Including barracuda, octopus, nurse sharks, and stingrays on the reefs.

Sombrero Beach in Marathon

200 36th St Ocean Marathon, FL 33050
Phone: 305-743-6598
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Sombrero Beach is a public beach that is two miles from the Overseas Highway. The water is shallow and this makes it a good place to learn how to snorkel.

The beach has seagrass beds, sand flats, and the best snorkeling is found in the reef flats on the seaward side of these sandbars. 

Sombrero Reef is the 3rd largest barrier reef in the world and is located just eight miles offshore. This beautiful reef contains 30 acres of coral and is home to thousands of fish. The reef ranges in depth from 2-30 feet, making it perfect for divers of all levels.

The site has a lot of small canyons and sea cave arches to explore. The Sombrero Reef has a spur-and-groove formation right on the edge of the barrier reef where the Sombrero Lighthouse stands.

Devil’s Den

5390 NE 180th Ave, Williston, FL 32696
Phone: 352-528-3344
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Devil’s Den is a hidden gem located in northern Florida. This is a rare opportunity for a one-of-a-kind experience in Florida. With crystal clear water and year-round 72-degree water temperatures, this will be an unforgettable trip. 

What makes it a unique snorkeling spots in Florida, is it is a prehistoric dry cave with an underwater freshwater spring. As you swim through, discover millions of years old stalactites and fossil beds. 

See some of the fossils found here on display at the University of Florida’s Natural History Museum.

Looking for a night dive? They offer that too. Rental equipment for diving and snorkeling is available.

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