Florida is known as the “Sunshine State” for many reasons.
There’s the warm and sunny weather that most people go here for, all the fun and adventure you get to experience while exploring this state, and the people who live here, who are mostly sweet-natured and ready to lend a helping hand.
Related Best Springs In Florida
Among all fifty states of the US, Florida is perhaps one of the best vacation hotspots and snorkeling spots simply because of such reasons. Tourists from all around the country and the world flock here every summer, when the sun is hot and right and the waters are cool and crystal-clean.
Although the state has gained a notorious reputation for being retirement center, there’s still a lot of excitement to be had here. One activity that’s becoming popular in Florida is snorkeling, especially since the state boasts a bevy of underwater reservations. If you’re one to travel and explore the undersea world, here are the best snorkeling hotspots in the “Sunshine State.”
Choose from any of these hotels in downtown Florida, located right at the heart of the city:
Bahia Honda State Park
When you want a peaceful day at the beach with no strong waves to that’ll tire you out, go to Bahia Honda State Park. Here, the Bay Side beautiful beach on offer for those who simply want a nice and relaxing dip in the sea and some calm snorkeling.
This is even a great place for the young ones to learn how to swim, as the tides and currents here aren’t as strong as those in other beaches in the state. Swimming here will be like swimming in your own swimming pool, although this time, there’s a lot more space and you might see some interesting creatures along the way.
Bathtub Reef Beach
Snorkeling is a lot more fun when you get to see the amazing wildlife that lives under the sea. At the Bathtub Reef beach by the Hutchinson Island of Martin County, a beautiful underwater ecosystem is only a few strokes away from the beach.
You don’t have to go far to see the majestic creatures up close. similarly to the Bay Side beach of Bahia Honda State Park, the waters in this seaside land are also calm and safe, making it a family destination during summer. But for those adventurous explorers, the beautiful reef that’s within reach is reason enough for a dive.
If you’re more into the historic shipwrecks than underwater life, Cannon beach is the best place for you. It’s located at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and is home to various wrecks and artifacts that tell the history of the ‘Sunshine State.’
Just beyond its shores are old shipwrecks from various times, such as the battleships of World War II and the voyages of the European inquisitions that led to the discovery and establishment of America. Experiences snorkelers get to have grand adventures exploring the relics of such important moments in the country and continents histories.
Coral Cove Park
Another beach that boasts an abundance of undersea life is Coral Cove Park. But here, not only are the waters filled with amazing lifeforms, but the long stretch of sand make it a spacious shore for a number of vacationers, divers, and snorkelers alike. Fortunately, there’s always a lifeguard on call in case anything unfortunate might transpire throughout the day.
The waters here are more active than those mentioned earlier, but it’s still perfectly safe to snorkel and dive here, especially with the presence of the lifeguards and scuba divers as well. All sorts of corals reefs, algae, fishes, and other sea creature can be found here, although one should not disturb them in their natural habitat, especially the coral gardens there.
Peanut Island is known for its vast shallow waters that are considerably wider than the shoreline of the famous Riviera beach. This makes it the perfect place for snorkeling and exploring what lies beyond the crystal blue surface. In recent years, the beach itself has become quite the summer hotspot for all sorts of vacationers.
Families often go here since the waters are shallow and the tides and currents aren’t that strong. The more financially well-off members of society often dock their luxurious yachts in this place as well. While the adventurous divers and snorkellers go here simply to see the amazing wildlife that lives under the sea.
Phil Foster Park Snorkel Trail
There’s another shoreline in Florida which is actually and literally made for snorkeling, the Phil Foster Park Snorkel Trail. Here, an 800-foot man-made coral reef was constructed to encourage people to dive, snorkel, and explore the wonderful world under the sea.
Although this reef is far from the shore compared to the others in this list, swimmers of any capacity level can still enjoy this marvel. The depth only goes from 5 to 11 feet, which is not as difficult to swim in compared to other waters that professional divers have been in.
For those looking to have a private adventure all their own, going to Pigeon Key is highly recommended. You can get to this semi-private island via a car going through a seven-mile bridge or a rented speedboat from the mainland.
This is one of the few snorkeling areas in Florida that isn’t hounded by vacationing families, so if you’re by yourself or with only a few friends, you’ll get all the privacy you need at only $12 for an entrance fee. The depths here can go from 5 to 30 feet, and water shoes are a must since most of the shore is quite rocky.
Red Reef Park
Most of the time, people snorkel to be able to see all kinds of creatures that live under the sea. And if you’re one such adventurer, Red Reef Park in Boca Raton is the beach for you. Here, all sorts of fishes and other sea creatures can be seen and observed in full view, as well as a number of beautiful coral reefs, a colorful fish or tropical fish or two may also be observed.
There’s even an artificial reef constructed to give various wildlife an ecosystem of their own. And the waters here are quite shallow, so you’ll have an easier time swimming about than in other similar parks and beaches.
Here are hotels in Florida that have swimming pools and restaurants too:
Manatees are gentle and adorable sea creatures that aren’t as common as fishes and dolphins. And if you want to see this mammal up close and personal, dive into Crystal River! This area is where these lovely animals congregate every year from November up until April.
However, if you do decide to swim here, make sure you don’t have any sharp diving gear on you, especially if you want to go up close the Manatees. They’re generally gentle creatures that swim with you when you dive into the river, but if you sharp objects with you, they might get hurt.
Destin Inlet Jetty
Many beaches in Florida might boost their crystal blue waters, but it’s the emerald waters of Destin Inlet Jetty that continuously draws divers into their shores. Despite its colors, the sea here is just as clear as any other in the state, possibly even more so.
And since it’s mostly shallow waters, all kinds of divers and snorkelers, from the beginners to the professionals, can have a go at exploring the undersea life that lives here, many of which, you’ll see plenty due to the incredibly clean sea that’s well-maintained by the surrounding communities. Don’t miss out and swim here when you can!
This particular site got its name from the early settlers of the state. Since the sinkhole is so deep and the water that sprouts from it is so hot, they believed that this was the opening to hell itself. Nowadays, however, people now know that it’s only about 60 feet in depth and it’s one of the best places to snorkel and go cave-diving.
Although you’re only allowed to go as deep as 50 feet, there are still so many things to see in this den, from the interesting underwater ecosystems to the exotic lifeforms that you might encounter.
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
One of the most beautiful beaches in the state, or possibly even the whole country, John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is a haven for families, divers, and snorkelers alike. The former will love the white sandy beach and vast amounts of seaside land to have picnics and play sports on.
While the latter is bound to enjoy the fascinating rock formations one can see underneath the blue waters. Other main stars of this beach are the stingrays and sea turtles. The latter often lay their eggs on the shore and swim about in the sea while they wait for their little ones to hatch.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
The name alone already suggests a great undersea adventure. and it doesn’t disappoint. For many years now, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park has been a go-to destination for various divers and snorkelers. The former will have a ball diving deeper and deeper into the sea and possibly catching the statues that lay underneath.
While the latter, on the other hand, are bound to see all sorts of tropical fish and coral reefs. In fact, the crystal clear waters might already show you all these things even before you hit the sea in the first place.
Want to visit an old shipwreck? Hean on over to Pensacola beach and dive into its majestic waters. Here, you get to explore an old ship that’s been there for decades, possibly even centuries. Most of the wreckage is still present, but in time, most of the ship’s features have drifted apart and are now in different parts of the sea.
Meanwhile, surrounding the shipwreck are all sorts of interesting wildlife, from the stingrays and manatees to the jellyfish and octopuses. If you’re lucky, you might get to see and swim with them up close. But don’t get too close as they’re still untamed creatures!
Over by the Siesta Key, on a large barrier island, you can swim to the turquoise waters of Point-of-Rocks. Although you have to be extremely careful as the rocks here are plenty and oftentimes by sharp, you won’t regret having to swim around them to see the majestic limestone formations full of colorful coral gardens and underwater flora.
And within this ecosystem live all sorts of interesting creatures, from the funny little hermit crabs, baby whale sharks, and colorful starfish. As well as the rarely seen red boring sponges, and no, they won’t look like Spongebob Squarepants!
Sebastian Inlet State Park
At Melbourne Beach, Florida, divers and snorkelers have better chances seeing all sorts of large colorful fish during their watery adventures in Sebastian Inlet State Park. Here, some of the biggest sea creatures can swim close to the shore, allowing those brave enough to explore the rock-lined sea to see them up close and personal.
Usual visitors include the rubbery dolphins and the gentle manatees. These often tame creatures might even allow you to swim with them, provided that you don’t disturb them or attempt to catch and hurt them while you’re underwater. If you’re lucky, or according to some, unlucky, you might even see a great white shark here!
Venice beach isn’t all about fitness junkies and bodybuilders, it’s actually a hotspot for snorkeling as well! The waters here are relatively shallow, allowing even the most inexperienced snorkelers to try and see what the big fuss is about. Apart from the strong waves, divers and snorkelers alike will enjoy the crystal clear waters that let them see all sorts of undersea ecosystems and coral reefs.
Another treasure to be discovered here are the countless shark teeth splattered all over the area. These large fossilized artifacts make for unique souvenirs and great materials for scientific studies and research!
Florida is way more than bustling cities and a retirement center for the aged. It also houses some of the best snorkeling places in the country. Have a seaside adventure the next time you drop by the “Sunshine State!”