Charity De Souza is a Florida native and travel enthusiast. Traveling to over 50 countries abroad and residing in 6, she has a passion for exploring new cultures. While Central Florida is where she calls home, her favorite travel memories include skydiving in Switzerland and watching the sunset in Morocco.
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With warm, calm waters, snorkeling is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Florida. The diverse and pristine waters in Florida allow beginners and experts alike to explore diverse marine life right from the beach. Grab your mask and fin and dive into one of these must-see snorkel spots in Florida.
Take a trip down memory lane with this historical snorkeling spot in the postcard-perfect Florida Keys, where you can find remnants of the old Seven Mile Bridge. It’s a great place to enjoy an affordable beach vacation in Florida, where you can snorkel at Sombrero Beach, organize standup paddleboarding or kayaking tours, or bike along the Old Seven Mile Bridge to Pigeon Key. Only a 20-minute drive away, don’t miss the award-winning beaches at Bahia Honda State Park.
Explore through one of the best easy-access snorkeling in South Florida at Peanut Island, a man-made island full of colorful fish and exotic underwater life. A combination of blue Atlantic Ocean waters and gently swaying palm trees, the beaches that dot The Palm Beaches are some of the best in the state. You have a diverse collection of spots to enjoy, from the lively West Palm Beach, luxury-laden Palm Beach, and the pristine snorkeling in Coral Cove Park in Tequesta. Visit Delray Beach with the family, John D. MacArthur State Park for water activities, and Juno Beach for saltwater fishing.
You will find a range of colorful and exotic corals, tropical fish, crustaceans, and living sponges among the shallow seas of the not-to-be-missed Bahia Honda State Park, one of Florida’s most picturesque state parks. Outdoor adventures are endless at this sunny spot. You can hop in a kayak and paddle the waters, rent snorkel gear and dive underwater to explore its underwater treasures, or simply lounge on the soft sands. Water-loving travelers can also sign up for boat trips to the reef to get up close to the area’s most spectacular natural wonders.
Popular for good reason, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the nation’s first underwater park that stretches 70 nautical miles. You can go underwater to find an underwater statue and vibrant marine life with lobsters, eels, and tropical fish. Explore the mangrove swamps, tropical hammock forests, and seagrass beds on a kayak, canoe, paddleboard tour, or don a pair of flippers and go snorkeling past colorful coral reefs and tropical fish. The kids will delight in cruising in a glass-bottom boat and marveling at the natural wonders below.
Located on a barrier island, these limestone formations will bring you face to face with corals filled with medium-sized fish, hermit crabs, crustaceans, and red boring sponge. Siesta Key Beach ranks as one of the state’s most prestigious, nestled on a barrier island on the Gulf Coast of Mexico just a short drive from Sarasota. Soft to the touch, the sands here feel like powdered sugar, as it is made of 99 percent pure crushed quartz, considered to be the finest sand in the country.
Grab your mask and fins for a day of fun at Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park in Dania Beach where you will find underwater beauty on a rock reef parallel to the shore. This beautiful beachside park is located south of Port Everglades and is the last example of an undeveloped coastal ecosystem in Broward County. Other activities include swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, bicycling, and picnicking.
An area known for regularly spotting underwater creatures such as stingrays and sea turtles, it is worth taking the trip to John D. MacArthur Beach State Park to explore the large rock formations and worm rock reef. Nestled on an Atlantic Ocean barrier island, John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is the only state park in Palm Beach County. You can admire the diverse plants and animals in the estuary by standup paddleboard or kayak, or go on a hike on the scenic nature trails.
For a chance to see larger-sized fish and the possibility of a dolphin or adorable manatee swimming by, explore the rock-lined inlet and sheltered lagoon of Sebastian Inlet State Park. A short 30-minute drive from Vero Beach, this is also one of the most popular parks for surfing on the East Coast. Earning its stripes as a bonafide surf mecca, Sebastian Inlet is also fantastic for saltwater fishing. Catch fresh snook, redfish, and bluefish from the jetties, try your hand at riding the waves, or pick up a sun-kissed tan sunbathing on the three miles of superb beach.
One of Florida’s rare gems, Venice Beach is home to the largest fossilized shark teeth found scattered in its shallow waters, allowing snorkelers to bring home a truly unique souvenir. Venice has a lot to offer for water sports lovers, while you can also explore the historic downtown area and admire beautiful architecture, browse through the boutiques and dine in local seafood restaurants.
Geological and natural limestone formations make Coral Cove Park an ideal place to snorkel, as they attract all types of unique and interesting fish. Nearby, Juno Beach is home to the legendary Loggerhead center. The waterways here are part of the appeal, in addition to the Juno Beach Park where you can take walks along the shore.
Known for emerald green waters, Destin is also popular with snorkelers for its shallow clear waters and incredible fish that surround the area. Made of Appalachian quartz, the sugar-white sand that lines nearby Henderson Beach State Park offers 6,000 feet of scenic shoreline. Another idyllic escape in Destin is Crystal Beach. Lined with rainbow-colored beach cottages, you can sit under the shade of an umbrella and take a dip in the crystal-clear waters.
Bathtub Reef Park is an ideal snorkeling spot for children, as this “honeycomb” worm reef blocks the surf and allows snorkelers of all ages to examine the vibrant sea creatures in the lagoon. Shelling on Hutchinson Island is a pleasant activity, as you won’t find the tourist crowds here. With natural and artificial reefs, the shelling and sea glass hunting opportunities are endless.
Located on a small jetty on the bay side of the island you will find both marine life and unique underwater treasures at Fort Pickens, such as rock pilings and an old shipwreck. You can also explore one of the only forts to remain in the hands of the Union through the Civil War in Florida. It’s a captivating place to explore if you’re a history enthusiast, as you can meander past the officer’s and prisoner’s quarters, the mine chambers, and the interior gun rooms.