Top 5 Reefs for Snorkeling in the Florida Keys

Top 5 Reefs for Snorkeling in the Florida Keys

Being close to the water is one of the many luxuries of life on a luxury yacht. For snorkeling enthusiasts, owning a boat offers the chance to explore new, beautifully preserved, and often deserted dive sites in the furthest corners of the world. The Florida Keys is a boating haven and boasts several excellent snorkeling reefs to visit.  

If you are dipping your toe in the water for the first time or have spent years seeking out hidden underwater reefs, there is a destination for every snorkeler in The Florida Keys. 

YATCO’s Must See Florida Keys’ Snorkeling Places

#1 John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park 

The first undersea park in the country, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo is one of the most popular places to snorkel in the region.

  • With over 70 square nautical miles of coral reefs, mangrove swamps, and seagrass beds to explore, this state park is incredibly diverse.
  • Personal or group water tours are available, which is a great option for those who wish to have a guided experience of the park.
  • While snorkeling, you may see lobsters, butterfly fish, barracudas, and jellyfish

With over 70 square nautical miles of coral reefs, mangrove swamps, and seagrass beds to explore, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is incredibly diverse. 

#2 Dry Tortugas National Park 

Just 70 miles from Key West, the remote Dry Tortugas National Park feels worlds away from the US.

  • This open-water 100-square mile park is home to the impressive Fort Jefferson and several connected islands only accessible via boat or seaplane.
  • Located in the southwest corner of the Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas features an abundance of vibrant marine life, as well as interesting snorkeling sites around the historic fort and among shipwrecks
Top 5 Reefs for Snorkeling in the Florida Keys

#3 Looe Key 

A destination for more seasoned snorkelers, Looe Key is a deep reef five miles from the shore.

  • It is famous for being home to larger fish – such as giant parrotfish, barracudas, colossal grouper, and reef sharks – and due to its location at the edge of the barrier reef, snorkelers can expect a variety of conditions.
  • Looe Key also has over 50 species of coral that date back over 7,000 years.
  • It is a nationally protected park and one of the most popular destinations in the middle of the Florida Keys. 

#4 Fort Zachary Taylor 

Moments from one of Key West’s best beaches, snorkelers will discover parrot fish, schools of yellowtail snapper, lobster, and various corals at Fort Zachary Taylor.

  • The unique rock formations in the area attract many varieties of tropical fish and keep the water noticeably clear.
  • The reefs here are found between beds of large seagrass and the sandy shore, which is not typical of coral reefs.
  • Visitors must swim quite far into the water to visit this reef, so this option is best for more experienced snorkelers.
  • Alternatively, you can jump of your boat or yacht to explore the reef

Moments from one of Key West’s best beaches, snorkelers will discover parrot fish, schools of yellowtail snapper, lobster, and various corals at Fort Zachary Taylor. 

Top 5 Reefs for Snorkeling in the Florida Keys

#5 Sombrero Reef 

The largest reef in the Florida Keys, Sombrero Reef is named after the nearby Sombrero Lighthouse.

  • The reef is an excellent destination as it caters to all levels of snorkeling ability.
  • Visitors will discover colorful fish, sea sponges, turtles, and much more throughout the year.
  • The depth of the reef ranges from 2 to 30 feet.
  • Sombrero Reef is a great option for visiting on board your own boat, rather than taking a guided snorkeling tour.  

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