The Florida Keys, especially Key Largo, are a popular destination for those seeking an adventure in the sea. The Keys are surrounded by crystal-clear, warm waters that are ideal for snorkeling due to the abundance of marine life there.
Key West and Key Largo are two of the most well-known snorkeling destinations due to the vast array of beautiful coral reefs and vibrant ocean life they host, such as sea turtles, tropical fish, and coral.
There are boat tours that will take you out to the best spots or you can explore on your own. So what should you know about snorkeling in the Florida Keys, especially if you aim to go snorkeling in Key Largo or Key West?
Snorkeling In Key West
Located at the southernmost tip of the United States, the island is renowned for its lively culture, historic sites, and beautiful beaches. Tourists in Key West can choose from a variety of snorkeling tours to fit all skill levels, despite the island being smaller than Key Largo. Since it contains the sole surviving coral reef system in North America, Key West National Marine Sanctuary is a popular snorkeling destination for visitors to the island.
Key West Marine Sanctuary’s reefs are well-known for the vivid hues they reflect and the abundance of ocean life they support. Divers and snorkelers exploring the reefs often come across schools of fish, sea turtles, and even dolphins. The majority of snorkeling tours in this area include a guided tour of the reefs and provide snorkeling equipment for those who don’t already have it.
Those interested in a more in-depth exploration of the reefs can do so via scuba diving, which is also available around the island, in addition to snorkeling. Waters near the island are well-known for their high visibility, making them ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling.
The Western Dry Rocks are known for their beautiful coral formations, and the Vandenberg, a former military vessel, was sunk on purpose to create an artificial reef. Some other popular snorkeling locations around Key West include:
- Cottrell Key
- Fort Zachary Taylor
- Dry Tortugas Park
- Higgs Beach
- Sand Key Lighthouse Reef
Snorkeling In Key Largo
In Key Largo, further up the Keys, snorkeling is even better. Key Largo snorkeling is some of the best in the area and has something for all skill levels. Snorkelers and scuba divers should make a trip to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, a popular area of Key Largo for any tourist. The park features more of the lone surviving coral reef in the United States’ continental region, in addition to many other attractions that Key Largo has to offer water enthusiasts.
Key Largo is home to a number of fantastic snorkeling spots:
- John Pennekamp State Park
- Sea Gardens
- Molasses Reef
- Christ of the Abyss
- Grecian Rocks
- White Banks
Snorkeling In John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
With its towering coral formations and teeming sea life, Molasses Reef is a top snorkeling destination in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park around Key Largo. Divers can observe many different kinds of fish, from the brightly colored parrotfish and angelfish to the more unusual rays and turtles.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park offers guided snorkeling tours, which typically include all equipment. Some of the best Key Largo scuba diving is also available at the park during the summer months.
Snorkeling In The Atlantic Ocean
Key Largo snorkeling excursions also typically head out to the Atlantic Ocean and the living coral barrier reef complex, including the undersea park that protects this sanctuary around Key Largo. Key Largo’s Atlantic coastline provides excellent opportunities for snorkeling in a variety of different environments.
The Key Largo region of the Atlantic coral barrier reefs may not be as teeming with sea life as their Gulf of Mexico counterparts, but they are still home to many species, including stingrays and nurse sharks.
Key Largo snorkeling trips in the Atlantic typically visit French Reef or Pickles Reef, where guests can swim among the reef’s coral formations and learn about the marine life that calls these areas home.
Boat Tours Around Key Largo
There are many boat tours and private tours in the Keys, including Key Largo, for those who don’t want to get wet on a snorkeling tour but still want to see the underwater world.
Travelers can get an up-close look at the sea life that calls the National Marine Sanctuary around Key Largo or John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park home by signing up for one of these tours.
Tourists who aren’t comfortable scuba diving can still experience the reef by taking a boat tour of the underwater park.
The Best Guided Snorkeling Tours
The waters around the Keys are perfect for snorkeling trips and tour companies offer a number of different snorkeling excursions. Snorkeling tours have become the go-to option for tourists interested in exploring the coral reefs and marine life of the Florida Keys because of their dedication to providing a fun, safe, and educational experience.
1) Reef & Ritas Snorkeling Tour
Reef & Ritas excursion is a favorite among snorkelers. On this tour, you’ll visit the National Marine Sanctuary, home to colorful coral reefs and a plethora of marine creatures. All snorkeling equipment is provided for guests, and an experienced guide shows them the ropes to make sure everyone has a good time. After an exciting day of snorkeling, guests can unwind with a margarita or beer on the boat.
2) Snorkeling In The Dark
Some tour company provides a night snorkeling trip for those interested in exploring the reefs after dark. To see the reef’s nocturnal inhabitants, guests will be transported to a different side of the reef during this tour. The reef and its inhabitants are brought to life by the boat’s underwater lights. For those who are confident in their ability to snorkel at night, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
3) Island Adventure And Eco Tour
Snorkeling, kayaking, and exploring the uninhabited islands around Key West are all part of the Island Adventure and Eco Tour, another popular option. In the Florida Keys, guests are taken to secluded beaches, reefs, and mangroves where they can swim, snorkel, and kayak. Tour-goers will get to see dolphins in their natural habitat at the Dolphin Playground.
4) Snorkel Safari
Snorkel Safari for those interested in seeing more of the ocean life that frequents the waters near the Keys. This tour visits some snorkeling locations where guests can observe a wide variety of marine life, including fish, turtles, and more. Because of the boat’s glass bottom, passengers can observe the reef and its inhabitants from a whole new angle.
5) Sandbar Hopping Adventure Around Key West
Sandbar Hopping Adventure is one of the most offbeat excursions available. During this tour, guests can snorkel in the calm, clear waters of a secluded sandbar. The sandbar is a great place to relax and take in the scenery because of its picturesque surroundings.
Visitors to the Florida Keys can choose from several exciting and informative snorkeling tours offered by Key West Boat Trips. There’s something for everyone, whether you want to kayak and snorkel on a deserted island, explore the stunning coral reefs, or see wild dolphins in their natural habitat.
Key West Boat Trips ensures that their guests have a memorable experience by prioritizing their guests’ safety, education, and enjoyment.
Just Jump In!
As we can see, the Florida Keys are home to some of the finest snorkeling in the entire world. The Florida Keys, especially Key West and Key Largo, are popular destinations for snorkelers, and they each have their own distinct offerings.
The Florida Keys have something for everyone, from the thriving coral reefs of Key West’s and Key Largo’s National Marine Sanctuary to the towering coral formations of Key Largo’s Molasses Reef.
Don’t delay, book your snorkeling excursion today!