Being a peninsula, Florida has 1,350 miles (2172 km) of coastline with beautiful beaches, natural springs, rivers, lakes and bays. The Sunshine State is a paradise for those who love water sports and exploration, including swimming, kayaking, boating and snorkelling. If you are especially interested in snorkelling, Florida is a fantastic place.
It’s a popular activity in Florida and a great way to interact with the native marine life. The best time for snorkelling in Florida is between April and August. The water is slightly colder in April and May, but the crowds are much smaller than in summer. To snorkel, you need a snorkel, a mask and fins. Finding a top spot to snorkel in Florida will not be a problem, so if you’re looking for the best areas to interact with marine life and see breathtaking views, here’s where to find the best snorkelling in Florida.
- Best Snorkeling In Florida
- 20 Best Places To Snorkel In Florida
- 1- John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park – Key Largo, FL
- 2- South Coaling Dock Ruins – Dry Tortugas National Park, Key West, FL
- 3- Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring – Williston, FL
- 4- Bahia Honda State Park – Big Pine Key, FL
- 5- Harry Harris Beach And Park – Tavernier, FL
- 6- Biscayne National Park – Miami, FL
- 7- Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park – Key Biscayne, FL
- 8- Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park – Key West, FL
- 9- Crystal River Preserve State Park – Crystal River, FL
- 10- Shell Key Preserve – Tierra Verde, FL
- 11- Fort De Soto Park – Tierra Verde, FL
- 12- Henderson Beach State Park – Destin, FL
- 13- Phil Foster Park – Riviera Beach, FL
- 14- Silver Glen Springs – Fort McCoy, FL
- 15- Point of Rocks on Siesta Key – Sarasota, FL
- 16- John D. MacArthur Beach State Park – North Palm Beach, FL
- 17- Ginnie Springs – High Springs, FL
- 18- Coral Cove Park – Tequesta, FL
- 19- Navarre Beach Marine Park – Navarre, FL
- 20- St. Andrews State Park – Panama City, FL
Best Snorkeling In Florida
- Key West Florida Reef Half-Day Snorkeling Excursion – catamaran to the Great Florida Reef.
- Manatee Snorkel Tour – with In-Water Divemaster/Photographer
- Key West Dolphin Watch and Snorkel Cruise – at Key West National Wildlife Refuge.
- Half-Day Snorkel Trip on Reefs in the Florida Keys – Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
- Key Largo Snorkeling Tour – rental mask, fins and vest included.
20 Best Places To Snorkel In Florida
1- John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park – Key Largo, FL
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo is a unique experience as it’s the country’s first undersea park and spans 70 nautical square miles.
Visitors can view the colourful coral reef system, marine life such as barracuda and parrotfish, and artifacts from a 1715 Spanish shipwreck via glass-bottom boat or snorkeling tours.
Snorkel boat trips depart four times daily and last about 2.5 hours.
Visitors to the park can also participate in various activities, such as boat camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and fishing.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is open from 8 a.m. until sunset, 365 days a year.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is at 102601 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037.
Top tour: Half-Day Snorkel Trip on Reefs in the Florida Keys.
2- South Coaling Dock Ruins – Dry Tortugas National Park, Key West, FL
Dry Tortugas National Park is about 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West, consisting of seven small islands accessible only by boat or seaplane.
Fun Fact: less than 1% of Dry Tortugas National Park is dry land, so the best way to see this historic national treasure is by getting in the water.
South Coaling Dock Ruins is a popular snorkelling spot within Dry Tortugas National Park.
What once served as a fueling location for Navy ships in the 1800s has created an artificial reef home to giant grouper, tarpon, barracudas and a few sharks for people to see while snorkelling.
There are plenty of other destinations within the park to snorkel, such as Garden Key, Texas Rock Coral Reef, and Long Reef Key.
South Coaling Dock Ruins is at Dry Tortugas National Park, Key West, FL 33040
3- Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring – Williston, FL
This prehistoric spring is an underground spring inside a dry cave.
It is called “prehistoric” because explorers have found fossils dating back to the Pleistocene Age in the cave.
Upon discovering the spring, visitors noticed that some mornings fog from the dry air would rise out of the cave; they joked this was the last place you go before visiting the Devil, gaining the site the nickname “Devil’s Den.”
Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring is a great place to snorkel year-round because it is a natural spring, meaning the water is always at 72 degrees.
Only snorkellers and scuba divers are allowed inside the glowing blue waters to explore what historic items wait below the surface.
Devil’s Den is at 5390 NE 180th Ave, Williston, FL 32696.
4- Bahia Honda State Park – Big Pine Key, FL
Bahia Honda State Park is on Big Pine Key near mile markers 36-38.5, between Ohio Key and Spanish Harbor Key, 12 miles (19 km) west of Marathon.
The 524-acre (212 ha) state park is a popular destination to take in the stunning views of the Florida Keys and the natural wildlife that inhabits the island.
Bahia Honda State Park is an excellent snorkelling spot for beginners.
Many exciting sea life, such as coral heads, tropical fish, queen conchs and spiny lobster, can be seen in the shallow waters just a few hundred feet from the shore.
Bahia Honda State Park is at 36850 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, FL 33043.
5- Harry Harris Beach And Park – Tavernier, FL
Harry Harris Beach and Park is a small beach area in Tavernier, between Plantation Key and Key Largo.
The park has a quiet, laid-back atmosphere that is great for those who want to avoid crowds.
It also has as a tidal pool for little ones, a boat ramp, grills, picnic tables, showers, playgrounds, a bike path and a ball park.
This is the perfect place to spend the day on land when you get tired of snorkelling.
Speaking of snorkelling, this is a popular activity outside the jetty of Harry Harris Beach And Park.
To stay safe and be seen by boaters in the area, it is best to bring a large dive flag to improve visibility.
Harry Harris Beach And Park is at 50 E Beach Rd, Tavernier, FL 33070.
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6- Biscayne National Park – Miami, FL
Biscayne National Park consists of coral reefs, islands and shoreline mangrove forests. The park is in the northern keys by Miami and accessible only by boat.
Snorkelling tours are the best way to experience the park.
Biscayne National Park Institute staff will give you background information and the area’s history while you can explore the mangroves, bay, shipwreck sites and spot dolphins, whales and turtles.
Biscayne National Park is accessible only by boat, which can be launched at 9698 SW 328th St, Homestead, FL 33033.
7- Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park – Key Biscayne, FL
The state park is in Miami-Dade County, occupying the southern portion of the island of Key Biscayne.
The park is near downtown Miami, making it a hot spot for visitors.
If you plan to snorkel here, arrive early to avoid the crowds.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is a fantastic place to snorkel because it does not require a boat to access the amazing marine life.
Simply snorkel from the white sand beaches to view incredible sites.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is at 1200 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, FL 33149.
8- Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park – Key West, FL
As you can see by our list, the Florida Keys are one of the most significant places to snorkel, and Key West is no exception.
Although you could have a great experience anywhere in the area, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is a popular destination for snorkelling.
Fort Taylor is the southernmost state park in the continental United States and has a significant historical presence.
Besides a beautiful beach great for swimming, snorkelling and boating, you will find a historical monument that houses the world’s largest cache of Civil War armaments.
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park is at 601 Howard England Way, Key West, FL 33040.
9- Crystal River Preserve State Park – Crystal River, FL
Crystal River State Park is an excellent option for snorkelling in central Florida.
West of Orlando, this state park is home to islands, inlets, and trails to explore.
The best thing about Crystal River State Park is that much of it is still untouched and you’ll get a glimpse of what Florida naturally looked like years ago.
Crystal River Preserve State Park is at 3266 N Sailboat Ave, Crystal River, FL 34428.
- Snorkel Or Dive The Amazing Rainbow River Florida
- Manatee Snorkel Tour with In-Water Divemaster/Photographer
10- Shell Key Preserve – Tierra Verde, FL
In addition to the Florida Keys, the Gulf Coast waters of Florida also offer some truly remarkable snorkelling locations, which brings us to Shell Key Preserve.
This 1,800-acre (728 ha) preserve is in Tierra Verde, just south of St. Pete Beach.
This undeveloped island is home to sensitive marine life. Throughout the preserve, you can find mangrove islands and beds of seagrass.
To keep this gem unspoiled, the island is accessible only by boat and the ferry is just $6.
If you plan to stay the night after a long day of exploring, camping is allowed as long as no trace is left behind.
Shell Key Preserve is at 2187 Oceanview Dr, Tierra Verde, FL 33715.
Top tour: Dolphin Shelling Snorkeling Cruise in Tampa
11- Fort De Soto Park – Tierra Verde, FL
Slightly south of Shell Key Preserve is Fort De Soto Park, which is part of five connected keys: Madelaine Key, St. Jean Key, St. Christopher Key, Bonne Fortune Key and Mullet Key.
These keys are connected by bridges and are easily driven to.
The beach at Fort De Soto Park offers great activities such as snorkelling, swimming, kayaking and canoeing.
You can see plenty of wildlife here.
If you want to explore even further, some adventurers take the ferry in Fort De Soto Park to Edgemont Key, which has a lighthouse and the ruins of Fort Dade.
Fort De Soto is at 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde, FL 33715.
12- Henderson Beach State Park – Destin, FL
Henderson Beach State Park is a natural and protected strip of the Emerald Coast.
This breathtaking state park offers white dunes, clear, warm gulf waters and is one of the best places to snorkel in the panhandle of Florida.
The state park offers 60 campsites connected to the beach via boardwalk if you need a palace to stay.
Other popular activities besides snorkelling are wildlife viewing, biking, hiking and fishing.
Henderson Beach State Park is at 17000 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Destin, FL 32541.
13- Phil Foster Park – Riviera Beach, FL
If you are looking for some east coast snorkelling locations, look no further than Phil Foster Park.
This beach is a great option in Riviera Beach near West Palm Beach.
Phil Foster State Park is a perfect beginner to intermediate-level snorkelling destination because the water is relatively shallow, just six to 10 feet deep.
The park features a snorkelling trail, which offers an artificial reef that hosts a variety of tropical fish, starfish, octopus and more.
Phil Foster Park is at 900 Blue Heron Blvd, Riviera Beach, FL 33404.
14- Silver Glen Springs – Fort McCoy, FL
Silver Glen Springs is another Central Florida gem in Ocala National Forest.
The area is dedicated to visitors enjoying the outdoors and preserving precious resources within the park.
The crystal clear spring waters are the perfect place to swim and snorkel, but stay within the marked swimming boundaries to avoid damage to sensitive underwater habitats.
Silver Glen Springs is at 5301 N, FL-19, Fort McCoy, FL 32134.
15- Point of Rocks on Siesta Key – Sarasota, FL
This area on Siesta Key is called Point of Rocks because limestone rocks live below the surface and on land jetting into the water.
These rocks are what make the snorkelling so great here.
You will find interesting plants, algae, coral, and shells growing on the rocks.
Point of Rocks offers generally shallow waters with good visibility, which allow you to see fish, crabs, small sharks, and dolphins nearby!
Point of Rocks is at 7132 Point of Rocks Cir, Sarasota, FL 34242.
16- John D. MacArthur Beach State Park – North Palm Beach, FL
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is just 2.7 miles ( km) from Phil Foster Park but is much more secluded.
This barrier island has many endangered native tropical species. In addition to snorkelling, visitors can swim, picnic, fish and surf on this lush tropical island.
The park is open from 8 am until sundown 365 days a year. There is a $5 fee per vehicle to enter the park.
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is at 10900 Jack Nicklaus Dr, North Palm Beach, FL 33408.
17- Ginnie Springs – High Springs, FL
Ginnie Springs is the perfect spot to add to your snorkelling list if you enjoy the crystal clear, 72-degree water offered in a natural spring.
The privately-owned park is situated along the Santa Fe River.
Swimmers and snorkelers report seeing many species of freshwater fish and turtles within the springs. While snorkelling, you can also find caverns with sand and limestone bottoms.
Ginnie Springs is at 7300 Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, FL 32643.
18- Coral Cove Park – Tequesta, FL
Coral Cove Park is a waterfront park and beach near Jupiter, Florida in Tequesta.
Although the park is small and quiet, it has great amenities such as picnic areas with grills, a playground, restroom facilities and outdoor showers.
Snorkellers can view limestone formations, coral reefs, and abundant marine life living within the stunning blue waters.
This is an excellent place for beginners since it is secluded and small.
Coral Cove Park is at 19450 County Hwy 707, Tequesta, FL 33469.
Navarre Beach Marine Park is on Santa Rosa Island in Navarre, Florida, the perfect place for snorkelling.
Visitors can view three different coral reefs: East Sound Side Reef, West Sound Side Reef and Gulf Side Reef.
Among these reefs live sea urchins and octopi!
The marine park has excellent facilities, such as relaxing campgrounds to spend a night or the whole weekend.
A close-by sea turtle conservation centre allows visitors to see the rescued and rehabilitated sea life.
Navarre Beach Marine Park is at 8739 Gulf Blvd, Navarre, FL 32566.
20- St. Andrews State Park – Panama City, FL
St. Andrews State Park is between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay.
The park offers pristine beaches or rock jetties to view coastal plant species and plenty of marine life.
On land, visitors can see numerous bird and butterfly species, as the park is a popular migratory stop for these creatures.
The park is open from 8 am until sundown, 365 days a year. A fee of $8 per vehicle will be charged for entry to the park. Visitors can also take boats to Shell Island, another popular beach destination.
St. Andrews State Park is at 4607 State Park Ln, Panama City, FL 32408.
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