Southeast of Plantation Key near Islamorada, the snorkeling at Davis Reef is well known for its marine life and the Happy Budda statue. During a Davis Reef snorkeling dive, you may encounter parrotfish, angelfish, grunts, yellowtail snapper, turtles and nurse sharks in the waters ranging from 15 to 30 feet deep. The 12 inch tall bronze budda statue at the southern end of this north-south coral ledge reef. While snorkeling, be aware of potential surging water conditions.
The Davis Reef Sanctuary Protection Area is located 4 miles southeast of Plantation Key and 4 miles south of Travernier Key. It is marked by several buoys. To reach the reef in a private boat, use the Harry Harris Park boat ramp.
Tip - After snorkeling at Davis Reef, check out the Morada Bay Beach Café on Islamorada.
While the snorkeling at Davis Reef is possible year-round, most snorkelers usually shoot for March through September. There is usually some rolling surf at most snorkeling sites off Islamorada, while you can expect the flatest surf conditions from June through August.
When using a dive boat charter to reach the dive site, make sure to reconfirm the reservation the afternoon prior. Most dive boats select the site the afternoon prior or even the morning of the dive. Also, most dive boats have a minimum passenger requirement in order to leave dock meaning they may cancel at the last minute, so when reverifying the afternoon prior ask how many reservations they have. To reach the snorkeling in the Florida Keys by air, there are several options. The most popular option is to fly into Miami International Airport (MIA), which is served by all major US and international airlines. Also nearby, a potentially lower cost option is to fly into Ft Lauderdale airport (FLL). From either of these airports, you can rent a car to drive south on the Florida Turnpike a couple hours to reach the Florida Keys (watch out for automated cash-less toll highways along the way). Alternately, you can fly into Key West International Airport (EYW) which is served by several airlines including United/Silver Airways, Delta, USAir and Southwest. If you don’t mind coming into Key West, there is also the regular Key West Express ferry service (4 hours) that runs from Ft Myers.
Overall, Davis Reef is the 16th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 40 snorkeling dives in the Florida Keys.