Last Updated August 26, 2022
Known for its picturesque beaches and beautiful sunny skies, Florida is one of the top tourist destinations across the globe with so many things to do. Interestingly, the state also holds plenty of adventurous options under the sea! Whether it is the iconic shipwrecks or the third biggest barrier reef across the globe, the sprawling sea waters hold a beautiful promise for snorkeling enthusiasts. So, where can you find some of the best snorkeling in Florida? Let’s explore some of the saltwater areas that you can snorkel as well as some of the freshwater springs that are great for snorkeling around the State!
** Saltwater / Ocean Snorkeling Spots in Florida **
1. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park – Key Largo, Florida Keys
If you’re more into the romantic history of the country and are looking to explore its unique shipwrecks, the John Pennekamp State Park might just be your best option. The first underwater state park, it spans 70 nautical square miles and includes mangroves, tropical hammocks, and coral reefs. What’s more, the water is so perfectly calm and even your youngest toddlers will have a great time here.
While visiting the state park, you can expect boats to be your primary transport. The park has provisions for daily boat trips that usually depart from the main marine point. Visitors can ride these boats to catch a glance of the reefs in proximity. They will also find a popular snorkeling spot in the park called Cannon Beach. This beach is widely loved by snorkellers far and wide for its sheer beauty and unbelievable underwater treasures.
2. Bahia Honda State Park (Florida keys)
Bahia Honda State Park is one of the best offshore snorkeling spots in the country. Covering an area of 500 acres, this park is one of the top destinations in this part of the middle to lower Keys. The park is packed with plenty of adventures, you can try beachcombing, snorkeling, and a range of other underwater sports here. If you want to experience the offshore snorkeling at the reef out at Looe Key, you will need your own boat or you can book a tour with the park and they will take you out on their boat for a truly memorable snorkeling experience!
3. Sombrero Beach – Marathon, Florida Keys
Often touted to be the rarest secret of Florida, Sombrero Beach may be best defined as a playground for local island goers. While other beaches around the area are known for the bars, the stunning sunsets, and the unbelievable underwater adventures, this one is rather popular for its swap-free zones, soft and warm sand, and of course the pristine clear waters.
The still beach waters make it a perfect spot for newbie snorkelers. It’s a quiet and tucked away beach that seems very much like you are in a local neighborhood (which you are). But you can easily follow the signs here from the highway. A bonus is that you can bring your dog on a leash here, a rarity in the keys!
5. Phil Foster Park – West Palm Beach
Located in the South-Eastern parts of Florida, this is yet another top snorkeling destination that doesn’t require you to travel via boat. As you visit this park, you will find a complete snorkeling trail lined with boulders and reefs. The best part: the spot also offers some of the best views of marine life and exotic sea fish. Whether it is starfish or octopus, this destination, houses them all. The water here is fairly shallow with an average depth of 10 feet and the highest possible depth of 20 feet.
The spot is surrounded by two beaches full of fish and the natural marine habitat. On the Western part, you will find the Blue Heron Bridge and there’s a small bridge to the east too. The tides here are likely to affect your visibility and overall access to some specific spots. That is why it is important to have a meticulously prepared plan before heading for a snorkeling trip here. You can either opt for a solo or a guided trip from the Blue Heron Bridge. You will also find scuba diving and snorkeling gear for rent here.
6. Red Reef Park – Boca Raton
A hidden gem, Boca is popular among residents and tourists alike. The defining element of this spot is the exquisite range of natural corals that are visible within 4 to 6 ft of the water. These rocks are frequented by exotic sea creatures like tangs, barracudas, and even sergeants. Thanks to these wonderful treasures, this spot stands out as one of the best beaches for shore snorkeling. The park is also beautifully decorated with hammocks, picnic tables, and a wide boardwalk.
7. Siesta Key Point of Rocks (Crescent Beach) – Sarasota
If you are looking to spot manatees, Siesta Key point is one of your top destinations. Studded by the rock formations from limestone, this destination is an absolute gem. In addition to manatees, you may also spot dolphins and some tropical fish. The water is shallow and absolutely calm during the mornings, allowing snorkellers ample visibility of the beautiful sea life. And being located on Siesta Key, home to some of the top beaches in the US, you can enjoy multiple beaches during your trip and the fun of Siesta Key Village on this popular island!
9. Peanut Island and Lagoon – West Palm Beach off Rivera Beach
Snorkellers with an avid interest in manatees, eels, and tropical fish will absolutely love the Peanut Island. In addition to the mentioned varieties of fish, you will also find barracuda and stonefish here. There is no bridge to this island, but it’s quite easily accessible via a boat shuttle or if you have your own boat or kayak. There is gear for rent as well from the boat shuttle location. Snorkeling in the lagoon is perfect for families and children due to the calm shallow waters. They also have sunset and full moon paddle tours as well around the island!
10. Coral Cove Park – Tequesta
If a natural appeal is what you are fond of, Coral Cove Park won’t disappoint you. Known for its spectacular rock formations, this is one of the top destinations to snorkel near the Jupiter area. With its sprawling waters and picturesque views, this spot truly gives you the Caribbean vibe. Snorkelers will appreciate the calm waters and you may even be lucky enough to spot sea horses and stingrays.
11. Biscayne National Park
You can never truly enjoy the marine life of Florida without visiting the Biscayne National Park. This is one of the ideal destinations for snorkelers who want to explore near Miami. Visit this destination for offshore expeditions with a range of coral reefs, shipwrecks, and everything in between. Here, you will also have the option of choosing between government-run and privately organized snorkeling trips.
12. John D. MacArthur Beach State Park – North Palm Beach
Located in North Palm Beach, this is yet another top snorkeling spot. Thanks to its strategic location, the reefs are fully accessible from the shores. The best part: you won’t need to rent a boat to witness the underwater habitat. Almost three to four miles of pure shoreline adds to the beauty of this beach.
16. Dr. Von D. Mizzell-Eula Johnson State Park – Dania Beach
This is one of those snorkeling points that has a little bit of everything for everyone. If you’re looking to relax and wind down, go for a picnic or hang out in the BBQ zone. You can also walk along the trails lined by mangrove forests. Adventure seekers, on the other hand, can either try snorkeling or kayaking. The aquatic life here is pretty awesome. You can spot lobsters, sharks, and tropical fish. The beach covers almost two and a half miles and offers easy snorkeling options right across the shores. You may also enjoy diving along this part of the coast off shore too!
17. Indian Key State Park – Florida Keys (boat needed)
Snorkeling in the Florida Keys is some of the best you can find! Essentially, Indian Key is an island that can be quickly accessed via kayak/canoes, both of which can be easily rented from nearby Robbie’s Marina if you don’t have your own. As with most other Florida Key islands, this is a prehistoric coral reef-lined with sharp shores and ancient rocks that also double up as a home for exotic marine creatures.
** Freshwater / Springs Snorkeling Spots in Florida **
4. Devil’s Den – Williston
Nestled in Florida’s Dry Caves, this underground spring was created from the meager remains of extinct species during the Pleistocene Age. Several archaeologists have also discovered remains of human bones that are approximately from 7,000 BC. The spring is widely popular among scuba divers. However, you will also notice newbie snorkellers frequent the spot. The underwater discoveries date back to prehistoric times and newbie snorkeling enthusiasts will have an absolutely great time here snorkeling in the crystal clear water!
8. Blue Grotto Dive Resort – Williston
Blue Grotto is the largest clear water cavern in Florida which is great for newbie and expert snorkelers alike. The cave is lined with beautiful rock formations that are further shrouded by a silt layer. As with most of the spots listed here, the waters offer plenty of visibility, so even if you are a scuba driver, you can find your way back with minimal assistance. The Blue Grotto gives you the memorable experience of snorkeling in a cave rather than the open ocean, with is a unique experience.
13. Rainbow River State Park – Dunnellon
The biggest takeaway of the Rainbow River is its super clear water. Yes! When you gaze at the water from your boat, you can see the entire boat including the sand lined bottom. The spot is popular for water activities, including tubing! Snorkellers too can spend their time swimming through the calm crystal blue spring-water and admiring the unique aquatic life. Rainbow River is also known for its massive otters who enjoy playing in the area too.
14. Ginnie Springs – High Springs
Easily navigable and spectacularly beautiful, Ginnie Springs is a privately owned snorkeling spot. This is a popular spring to go snorkeling in Florida where you can enjoy the Santa Fe River and the unique species of turtles and freshwater fish. In addition to snorkeling, you may even enjoy camping here.
15. Silver Glen Springs – Salt Springs
Located just off the western part of Lake George and about 50 miles west of Daytona Beach, this spring is known for its clear waters of varying depths. The highest depth here is 25 ft, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling. Among sea creatures, you will find bass and varied species of turtles. Like several other springs of Florida, the water will have a consistently stable temperature of 72 degrees.
Have You Visited Any of These Top Snorkel Spots in Florida?
Whether you enjoy snorkeling in the ocean or if you prefer snorkeling in some of the crisp and refreshing natural springs around Florida, you are sure to have a great time snorkeling in Florida at any of these top snorkeling locations around the state. While there may be other snorkeling spots in Florida, these are some of the top that we have either visited ourselves or have been highly recommended by others who have been there.
Have you visited any of these top snorkeling spots in Florida? Or do you have another recommendation that we didn’t mention? Feel free to share with us in the comments and tell us what you loved about it!