Best Snorkeling in the Florida Keys

by CaliCase Team on March 21, 2023

Best Snorkeling in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are a chain of islands located off the southern coast of Florida, stretching about 120 miles (193 kilometers) from Key Largo in the north to Key West in the south. The islands are connected by a series of bridges and causeways, including the famous Seven Mile Bridge.

From snorkeling and scuba diving to fishing and boating, the possibilities for adventure are endless. And while the southernmost city of Key West may be the crown jewel of the Keys, there are many other breathtaking destinations waiting to be explored, read our Best Snorkeling Spots in Miami or our full article about Snorkeling in Florida. So, let's dive in and discover three of the best snorkeling keys in the Florida Keys.


Florida's John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

The Florida Keys: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo

Source: Florida's John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, Florida, is a snorkeler's paradise. This park is home to the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States, which makes it an exceptional and breathtaking destination for snorkeling enthusiasts. But what makes John Pennekamp such an excellent snorkeling destination?

First, the coral reefs are a crucial habitat for a wide range of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even sharks. This makes for an exciting snorkeling experience, as you can never predict what you might encounter underwater. Moreover, the waters around John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park are renowned for their clarity, allowing for excellent visibility when snorkeling. This means that you can easily spot marine life from the surface, making for a truly immersive experience.

But that's not all. In addition to the marine life, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is also home to the world-famous "Christ of the Abyss" statue. This bronze statue of Jesus Christ stands 8.5 feet tall and weighs 4,000 pounds. It is located in about 25 feet of water and is a popular spot for snorkelers and divers alike.

Below is a video from Sprill Elite Youtube Channel snorkeling at John Pennekam Coral Reef.


Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park

Located about 70 miles west of Key West, this park is only accessible by boat or seaplane, but the journey is well worth it. Here's why Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the best snorkeling destinations in the Florida Keys.

First, let's talk about the beaches. Dry Tortugas is home to several beautiful beaches, including Loggerhead Key Beach and Garden Key Beach. These beaches offer crystal-clear waters and stunning views of the surrounding islands. In addition to snorkeling, you can also swim, sunbathe, and explore the historic Fort Jefferson, which dates back to the 1800s.

Now, let's get to snorkeling. The waters around Dry Tortugas are teeming with marine life, including colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, and even the occasional shark. One of the most popular snorkeling spots in the park is the Windjammer Wreck, where you can explore the remains of an old shipwreck and spot a variety of fish and other sea creatures.

Another popular spot is the coral reefs around the park, which are home to a wide variety of marine life. You can see everything from schools of colorful fish to giant brain coral and even the occasional moray eel. The best time to snorkel in Dry Tortugas is during the warmer months of the year, from April to October. During this time, the water is warmer and clearer, and the marine life is more active.

But snorkeling in Dry Tortugas is not just about marine life. The park's location also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding islands and the Gulf of Mexico. From the water, you can see the historic Fort Jefferson, the beautiful beaches, and the stunning blue-green waters that stretch as far as the eye can see.

We found a video of That Adventure Life Youtube Channel snorkeling at Dry Tortugas National Park.



Bahia Honda State Park 

Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park is one of the most picturesque and stunning natural destinations in the Florida Keys. Located in the Lower Keys, this state park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, offering a wide range of activities such as swimming, kayaking, fishing, and camping. However, one of the main attractions of Bahia Honda State Park is its world-renowned snorkeling sites. Here are a few reasons why Bahia Honda State Park is one of the best snorkeling destinations in the Florida Keys:

  • The beaches: Bahia Honda State Park is home to three main beaches: Calusa Beach, Sandspur Beach, and Loggerhead Beach. Each beach has its own unique features and is perfect for snorkeling. Calusa Beach is located on the western side of the park, and is perfect for families with small children due to its shallow waters. Sandspur Beach, on the other hand, is the most popular beach in the park, offering stunning views of the ocean and the historic Bahia Honda Rail Bridge. Loggerhead Beach is located on the eastern side of the park and is known for its secluded and quiet location.
  • Marine life: snorkeling in Bahia Honda State Park is a unique experience because of the diverse marine life that can be found in the waters surrounding the park. Visitors can see a variety of tropical fish, sea turtles, rays, and even nurse sharks. The park's clear waters and shallow reefs make it an ideal spot for novice snorkelers, as well as experienced divers looking for an underwater adventure.

Below is a video snorkeling at Bahia Honda State Park by UnderWater Exploring Youtube Channel.



Best Time to Snorkel in the Florida Keys

The best time to go snorkeling in the Florida Keys is during the summer months, between May and September. The water is warm and calm during this time, making it easier to snorkel and see marine life. However, if you're looking for a quieter experience, the fall and winter months are a good time to visit, as the crowds are thinner and the water is still warm enough to snorkel comfortably.



In conclusion, the Florida Keys are a snorkeler's paradise, offering a range of stunning destinations to explore. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Bahia Honda State Park in the Lower Keys are just a few of the best places to experience the thrill of snorkeling in the Florida Keys. From crystal-clear waters and colorful coral reefs to diverse marine life, each location offers a unique snorkeling experience that is not to be missed. Whether you're a seasoned snorkeler or a beginner, the Florida Keys offer something for everyone. So, pack your snorkeling gear and get ready to explore the breathtaking underwater world of the Florida Keys.