Southwest of Pensacola off Santa Rosa Island, the snorkeling in the Fort Pickens area of the Gulf Islands National Seashore is popular. While snorkeling the Fort Pickens jetties, you may encounter bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles and stingrays along the rocky bottom . The best time for snorkeling at Fort Pickens jetties is during slack tide two hours prior to high tide for low currents and higher visibility.
The best snorkeling at Fort Pickens is at the west end of Santa Rosa Island near the jetties on the bay side west of the fishing pier. There is a fee to enter the park. To reach the snorkeling off the panhandle of Florida by air, you will need to fly into either Destin Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) or Northwest Florida Beaches Airport (ECP) north of Panama City.
Overall, Fort Pickens Jetties is the 7th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 11 snorkeling dives in Florida Panhandle.