Key West is known for its crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, and unforgettable nightlife, but did you know it’s one of the top locations in the world for a snorkeling trip? If you’re ready to experience the peaceful, shallow waters of Key West the next time you’re in town, then you have to consider Key West snorkeling tours with family and friends.
There’s nothing better than slipping into another world under the water and seeing countless sea creatures and corals come to life before your eyes. Stick around to find out the top locations with the best snorkeling in Key West!
Discover The Best Spots In Key West For A Snorkel Adventure
Are you headed to Key West for some snorkeling fun? Be sure to check out our tours at Key West Boat Trips to take the guesswork out of your vacation planning. Whether you want to locate all the best reef locations or simply enjoy private charters through the crystal-clear waters of Key West, we’ve got you covered!
From morning snorkel trips to sunset cruises with your sweetheart, we have a touring experience that will surely help you make the most of your Key West snorkeling experience. Contact us in advance to book your snorkeling tour before your Key West vacation to ensure you get the experience of your dreams!
1) Visit Fort Zachary Taylor In Key West
Fort Zachary Taylor is close to a Key West snorkeling beach that offers easy access right from your vehicle. Hop out of the car and head toward the water with your snorkeling gear and spend some quality time in this flourishing underwater landscape.
There are stunning living coral reefs in Key West with abundant marine life to observe, so it’s one of the ideal locations on Key West’s coast to see tons of tropical fish and other sea creatures. Don’t worry if you don’t have any snorkeling equipment of your own because there’s always plenty to rent here!
Some of the sea life you can expect to encounter at Fort Zachary Taylor’s living coral reef here in Key West include:
- Yellowtail Snapper
- Parrot Fish
- Hard and Soft Corals
2) Discover The Beauty Of The Sand Key Lighthouse Reef
The Sand Key Lighthouse Reef is the perfect picturesque setting for Key West snorkeling and is only seven miles from Key West. This spot offers some of the best snorkeling in Key West because the water is calm and flat, making it an ideal location for first-timers to get in the water with confidence.
It’s more simple to find colorful fish and other marine life here because the depth only changes from one to 15 feet here. The historic lighthouse is what really sets this spot apart from the rest. Not only is it a stunning structure against the clear Key West waters, but it’s a great spot for some light exploration while you’re out of the water on Sand Key.
3) Swim With Sea Turtles At Cottrell Key
Cottrell Key gets its name from a ship that dropped anchor in this spot in the 19th century. Now, this snorkeling spot is only accessible from a boat tour. However, once you arrive at the secluded location, you’ll find out why it’s so popular!
This peaceful Key West location is prime for snorkeling because of the wide variety of sea life, including sea turtles, goliath groupers, nurse sharks, and dolphins that hang out in the waters here. Snorkelers will love seeing the famous orange sponge and massive coral reefs that make this snorkeling spot a vibrant must-see.
4) Spend The Day At Dry Tortugas National Park And Fort Jefferson
Dry Tortugas National Park with historic Fort Jefferson is another out-of-the-way Key West snorkel spot located 70 miles outside of the Florida Keys. As one of Key West’s more elusive tourist spots, you likely won’t have to contend with a large crowd of people as there are only a few ways to reach the national park.
You’ll have to find a private boat tour or hop on the Yankee Freedom III Ferry to catch a ride to this spot. Snorkelers of all skill levels can enjoy the vibrant Florida reef and wildlife that call these waters home. You can bring your own snorkel equipment or rent some on the island when you arrive.
There are picnic spots to enjoy the weather with your family, and even a campground so you can stay overnight if you wish..
5) Bahia Honda State Park
Key West’s Bahia Honda State Park is another great place to dive into the water and discover the colorful undersea world that awaits. Located in the Lower Keys, Bahia Honda State Park is over 500 acres with protected wildlife. This serene location is perfect for Key West snorkeling because you can choose to stay in shallow water, around five feet deep, or indulge in a deeper swim of up to 70 feet near the ocean floor.
If spending time in deep water doesn’t sound appealing to you, you can still have an enjoyable time here at this hot spot. Just use your gear for snorkeling from the shore to capture the sights of some of the critters closer to the beach.
6) Explore The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is over 25 miles wide and is one of the largest spots for snorkeling near Key West. You’ll discover vibrant coral reefs with an abundance of tropical fish and sea life and even massive shipwrecks from long-lost sailors.
If you find yourself swimming close enough to Key Largo, you just might find some of the world’s first underwater sculptures in Key West. Because of the expansive size of the park and all the wonderful things, there are to see, this spot is one of the top locations for boat tours and other tourist outings.
7) Visit A Living Coral Barrier Reef In Key West
At Higgs Beach in Key West, you can visit a stunning living coral barrier reef and all the sea critters that call it home. Some of the creatures you will see lingering in the reef include sea fingers, brain coral, soft corals, sea whips, and sea fans. This is an excellent location for first-time snorkelers that don’t want to contend with deeper waters as it stays fairly shallow here.
Stay close to the pier, and you’ll see other vibrant life like angelfish, parrotfish, and even butterfly fish. Because of the ease with which you can swim here, it’s a great family-friendly place to try snorkeling with the kids or adults who may be afraid to try in deeper waters.
Because the waters here are so close to the National Marine Sanctuary, you’re sure to see an abundance of marine life darting about the corals instead of hiding from boats and other predatory creatures.
Get The Most Out Of Your Key West Trip With A Snorkeling Tour
No matter which destination you choose to snorkel here around Key West, the professionals here at Key West Boat Trips can help you make lasting memories without the hassle of planning a day yourself.
Sit back, relax, and let our guides and professionals take you to the snorkeling spots you want to see the most, even some you may have never heard of around Key West! Whether you want to enjoy an in-depth Key West reef snorkel or simply want to do some lighter shore snorkeling with the kids, our guides are here to help. Head to our site to book your Key West snorkeling trips!