Best White Bank Reef Snorkeling

The 10th most popular snorkel dive spot in the Florida Keys.


  November 18, 2016

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.

Keep in mind that many White Bank snorkelers report poor visibility here, especially when it is windy.

The White Bank is located 5 miles southeast of Key Largo and 2 nautical miles northeast of Molassas Reef Light (northwest of French Reef). It is marked by 5 mooring buoys. When accessing via private boat use the Pennekamp boat ramp.

After a day snorkeling White Bank, check out Skippers Dockside for a cool drink.

While the snorkeling at White Bank Reef is possible year-round, most snorkelers usually shoot for March through September. There is usually some rolling surf at most snorkeling sites off Key Largo, 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, White Bank Reef is the 10th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 40 snorkeling dives in the Florida Keys. Several of the better snorkeling spots are nearby White Bank Reef including John Pennekamp State Park, Molasses Reef, Pickles Reef, Grecian Rocks, Carysfort Reef and Elbow Reef.

Local Contacts:  John Pennekamp State Park (305) 451-1202; Key Largo (800) 822-1088; Quicksilver/Reef Roamer Catamaran Snorkeling Tours (305) 453-0110; Sundiver custom snorkeling tours (305) 451-2220; Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (305) 292-0311.

Best Season:  Mar. - Sep.

Average Difficulty:  Moderate

Base Camp:  Key Largo Kampground (305) 451-1431

Luxury Loding:  Westin Beach Resort Key Largo; Jules Undersea Lodge (305) 451-2353

Breakfast Restaurant:  Harrietts, Travenier

GPS:  25.038172, -80.351901

Date Published:  7/21/2013

Date Updated:  11/18/2016

ID:  23626

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White Bank Reef Snorkeling Map


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