The snorkeling in USA is well known worldwide. There are numerous USA snorkeling spots that are worth checking out. Select one of the regions below to get additional information.
Off Key Largo, the snorkeling at John Pennekamp State Park is known for its dramatic underwater scenery and diverse marine life. When snorkeling, you will see corals along with up to 400 types of tropical fish. The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is an underwater park starting on the eastern coast of Key Largo and far offshore for 5 miles to the main reef. There are a couple novice snorkeling dives accessed from the park beaches, but the real action is the numerous boat accessed snorkeling dives about 20 minutes offshore.
On Key West, there is good snorkeling to be found at the Key West Marine Park. The marine park is maintained by the Reef Relief non-profit organization based in Key West. You may encounter yellow butterflyfish, nurse sharks, grunts, hogfish, damselfish, wrasse, porcupine fish, trunkfish, parrotfish and the occasional spotted eagle ray. The 40 acre Key West Marine Park has a hard-bottom coral community extending 600 feet offshore on the south side of Key West from Higgs Beach to South Beach. It is a designated swimming-only zone marked by buoys.
On the south side of Marathon Key, the snorkeling off Sombrero Beach is popular with local families. Within the designated swimming area, there are calm sea grass beds among the sand flats that are habitat for starfish, lobster and crabs. Plus, from April to October, the beach area is known for its hawksbill turtles. However, the water clarity is usually pretty poor unless it is super calm and windless for several days in a row. Even with clarity, there is usually not much to see. The best bet is to try snorkeling along the rocks at both ends of the beach during high tide, and you'll want to try March through September.
South of Islamorada, the snorkeling at Alligator Reef is very popular for diverse marine life and purple sea fans. The Alligator Reef Sanctuary Protection Area is marked by a 136 foot lighthouse and has several mooring buoys. While the snorkeling at Alligator Reef is possible year-round, most snorkelers usually shoot for March through September. In the 8 to 50 foot deep water, you can expect to see snapper, surgeonfish, parrotfish and baracudas among hard and soft corals.
Southeast of Pensacola, the snorkeling at Pensacola Beach Gulf Snorkel Reef offers the chance to explore a large offshore artificial reef. The Pensacola Beach Gulf Snorkel Reef (aka Park East Snorkel Reef) was installed by the Escambia County Marine Resources Division about 500 feet offshore in 2011. This close to shore reef is located about 1.4 miles to the east of the Portofino Resort. During an artificial reef snorkeling dive off Pensacola, you may encounter a large quantity of marine life. To find the artificial reef, there are orange-tipped, range finding poles placed into the sand at the eaternmost tip of Park East, and just snorkel straight out.
Southeast of Pensacola and southwest of Fort Walton Beach, the snorkeling at Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary offers three man-made reefs to explore. Two reefs are located on the sound-side and there is another reef on the gulfcoast side of Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary. The reefs are constructed from piling towers of circular discs.
Southeast of Key Largo, the snorkeling at White Bank Dry Rocks reef is popular for its two coral reefs separated by a narrow channel. While snorkeling White banks, you can expect to see parrotfish, damselfish, angelfish, butterflyfish and plenty of snorkeling tour boats. The northern section is known for it's denser coral formation in 18 foot deep water, while other sections have plentiful sea fans and sea plumes. While the snorkeling at White Bank Reef is possible year-round, most snorkelers usually shoot for March through September.
In the upper Florida Keys, the snorkeling off Key Largo is known for its several reefs of elkhorn and brain coral such as Molasses Reef. These reef are covered in sea fans that provide habitat for sergeant majors, blue tangs and angelfish. The Molasses Reef Sanctuary Preservation Area is a classic spur-and-grove reef system in 5 to 40 foot deep water. It is located within the boundary of John Pennekamp Marine State Park.
West of Key West, the snorkeling at Dry Tortugas is popular with tourists coming from Key West by ferry and seaplane. The main landing point in the Dry Tortugas archipelago is Garden Key, which is the site of old Fort Jefferson. Within the expansive sand flats surrounding the islands, there are old coral reefs, rocks and artificial reefs that provide habitat to colonies of typical reef fish. There are plenty of sea fans, sea rods and christmas tree worms along with some small brain corals. Most snorkelers only experience the snorkeling dive sites surrounding Garden Key, but there is also some interesting snorkeling off nearby Bird Key and also Loggerhead Key. While originally known for isolated coral head formations, much of the coral growth has been impacted by storms and climate change.
Offshore of Lower Matecumbe Key, the snorkeling at Indian Key is known for its coral formations and diverse marine life. The island is an old coral reef. The waters and rocky shores of Indian Key Sanctuary Protection Area are only accessible by kayaking or dive boats. There is good snorkeling off the south and east sides of the island. The waters are quite shallow and rocky, so be careful - high tide might be a good time to snorkel here.