8 Best Snorkeling Spots in Miami

Best Snorkeling Spots in Miami

With beautiful beaches and vibrant marine life, there’s no other snorkeling destination quite like Miami, Florida.

What makes Miami so great for snorkeling?

Well, for starters, Florida has the only living coral reef in the continental US: The Florida Reef. This 360 linear mile stretch of delicate corals contains a myriad of colorful marine life – over 40 different species of fish and creatures such as lobsters, sea turtles, stingrays, and even nurse sharks!

The Florida Reef spans north along the Atlantic Coast from Key West to Martin County, putting Miami at the heart of the reef.

The other great thing about Miami? It’s part of one of the only true tropical climates in America, with consistently warm and mild weather. This means you’ll be able to comfortably visit beaches and enjoy snorkeling year-round.

When in Miami, you’ll have some of the most popular snorkeling spots at your disposal, and even more options just a short day trip away.

Wondering where to go snorkeling in Miami?

Whether you’re an amateur swimmer or experienced diver, Miami offers some pretty incredible snorkeling spots that anyone can enjoy. You’ll definitely want to add this fun, easy, and affordable activity to your vacation itinerary.

Pack your beach bags and gather your gear, because we’ve rounded up the best snorkeling spots to visit in (or around) Miami.

Location: 70 miles west of Key West

Price: $15 Entrance Fee

Rentals: Yes 

When in Miami, visiting the Dry Tortugas National Park is a must-do.

Don’t let the name mislead you; this National park is anything but dry. Less than 1% of this park is actually on dry ground and the best way to explore it is by getting in the water.

Snorkeling is just one of the many water activities you can enjoy at Dry Tortugas National Park. It’s an exceptional spot for snorkeling because its remote location offers an abundance of marine life that you likely won’t get to see in more populated areas.

In addition to vibrant sea life and creatures, you’ll also get to explore cool shipwrecks and other cultural artifacts hidden underneath the surface.

To get there, you’ll need to take a quick ferry or seaplane ride (which is all part of the fun in our opinion!).

Half Moon Wreck

Location: Off of Key Biscayne near Miami

Price: Free

Rentals: No

If you’re a fan of exploring shipwrecks, then be sure to check out the Half Moon Wreck off the coast of Key Biscayne. This 47 feet yacht that sank in 1930 lies in very shallow water – making it ideal for snorkeling.

While you’re there, expect to see puffer fish, lobsters, and stingrays.

Although public access to this shipwreck is free and welcomed, you’ll need to bring your own snorkeling equipment with you on this adventure.

Location: 3 miles east of Key Biscayne, Miami

Price: Free Admission

Rentals: Yes

For a truly unique snorkeling experience in Miami, you’ll want to visit the Neptune Memorial Reef.

Calling itself an “undersea tribute to life”, the Neptune Memorial Reef is a man-made reef inspired by the Lost City of Atlantis. It’s one of the first ever underwater cremation sites and a final resting place for many ocean-loving souls.

You’re sure to be awestruck by the looming columns, intricate roadways, and large lion statues during your snorkeling experience. And of course, this artificial reef attracts all sorts of tropical fish and colorful sea life.

Located about 3 miles off the coast of Miami, the Neptune Memorial Reef is accessible by boat and offers many rental and booking options.

Location: 9700 SW 328th Street, Sir Lancelot Jones Way, Homestead, FL 33033

Price: Free Admission 

Rentals: Yes

Another exceptional snorkeling destination in Miami is the Biscayne National Park.

Here, you’ll be able to experience the beauty of the Great Florida Reef and see a plethora of vibrant marine life, colorful coral reefs, and even more shipwrecks.

The Biscayne National Park is home to sea turtles, puffer fish, angel fish, eels, blue tangs, fluorescent colored hard & soft corals, and so much more. It’s like a city of its own down there!

This snorkeling paradise is just a 30 minute boat ride from the Miami coast.

Location: 102601 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL 33037

Price:$8 Entrance Fee (per vehicle)

Rentals: Yes 

When in Miami, it’s worth visiting the first underwater park in the US, the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Along with swimming, camping, trails, and guided boat tours, this location is also a great place for snorkeling.

Its got beaches with calm, clear waters for the beginner snorkelers, such as Cannon Beach and Far Beach. These are perfect for shore snorkeling.

But to see its beautiful coral reef (as promised in the name) that’s teeming with marine life, you’ll need to take a boat to get there.

Out in the water, you’ll have a chance to see the underwater Christ of Abyss Statue. If you have one, grab an underwater camera for some instagrammable shots of the 9-foot-tall bronze statue.

Consider the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park a one-stop-shop for water activities in Miami, but especially snorkeling.

Red Reef Park

Location: 1400 N Ocean Blvd, Boca Raton, FL 33432

Price: $25 Daily Parking Fee 

Rentals: No 

The Red Reef Park is another top notch choice for snorkeling in Miami.

Red Reef Park is located on Boca Beach, which is about an hour drive north from Miami. It’s worth the drive though, since you’ll enjoy a beautiful, clean, family-friendly beach once you get there.

The man-made reefs are easily accessible from the beach – swimmers of any experience level will be able to get there for an immersive snorkeling experience.

Just a few of the sea creatures you’ll come across are sea turtles, urchins, eels, barracudas… there’s too many to list! You’ll also be swimming through a colorful display of corals and sea vegetation.

Be prepared with your own snorkeling gear though, since rentals are currently not offered at this location. However, there are plenty of nearby shops that are stocked with snorkeling essentials available for purchase.

Location: Off the coast of Fort Lauderdale Beach

Rentals: No

For a fantastical snorkeling experience in Miami, you need to add the 1000 Mermaids Artificial Reef to your bucket list.

Explore a one-of-a-kind underwater art gallery that’s both beautiful and restorative. The artificial reefs in the form of mermaid statues (created by body casting real people!) are meant to enhance the marine and fish habitat, while also providing the opportunity to educate visitors on coral restoration.

The project by Ocean Rescue Alliance is still in the works and there’s plenty of mermaids left to add, but it’ll surely be a magical sight to see when it’s completed and full of thriving marine life.

A 100 mermaids site was recently deployed off of Hollywood Beach, Florida.

Stay in the know by visiting their website at  https://1000mermaids.com or follow their Instagram page, @1000mermaids.

Location: 7300 Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, FL 32643

Price: $15-$20 Daily Admission (per adult) 

Rentals: Yes

Head to Ginnie Springs for a snorkeling experience unlike any other.

Explore this underwater park with activities the whole family can enjoy – including swimming, diving, and snorkeling. The warm 72 degree spring water ensures you’ll stay comfortable no matter what time of year you’re visiting.

Dive into the crystal clear waters of any one of the seven different springs. Snorkel along the Santa Fe River, where you’re sure to see freshwater inhabitants such as bass, turtles, catfish, and more. It’s definitely a change of scenery from the typical snorkeling at sea.

Ginnie Springs is located in Gainesville, Florida, which is about a 4 and a half hour drive from Miami. You might need to make it an overnight or weekend trip, but with plenty of charming inns around the area, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Ready, Set, Snorkel

Whether you’re a novice or an expert, there’s something for everyone when it comes to snorkeling in Miami.

No matter what your experience level is, it’s always a good idea to refresh on some basics. Be sure to review our guide to snorkeling before heading out to your adventures in Miami.

Did we miss any other snorkeling spots in Miami worth mentioning? Please share any with us in the comment section below!

FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Where is the best beach to snorkel in Florida?

You might’ve heard Florida is a great place to visit for snorkeling. But where’s the best beach to go and where should you stay? Definitely consider Miami and check out our guide to snorkeling there. It’s central to some of the best snorkeling spots along the Florida coast:

  • Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Half Moon Ship Wreck
  • Neptune Memorial Reef
  • Biscayne National Park
  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
  • Red Reef Park
  • 1000 Mermaids Artificial Reef
What time of year is best for snorkeling in Florida?

Although you can snorkel in Florida year round, the best months for snorkeling are April through August. You’ll enjoy warm weather and clearer waters during these months.

Review our top snorkeling spots in Miami.

Is it better to snorkel in the morning or afternoon in Florida?

Snorkeling is most enjoyable when you’re able to see the many fish and creatures that live in the ocean, and for that you need clear conditions.

For your best chance at calm waters and better visibility, you’ll want to go snorkeling in the morning.

Where can I snorkel with sea turtles in Florida?

Is swimming with sea turtles on your bucket list? Miami, Florida is a great place to check it off!

The Florida Reef is teeming with marine life, including sea turtles. Though you’re not guaranteed to see one, the chances are pretty high. Here are a few places that offer snorkeling along the Florida Reef:

  • Biscayne National Park
  • Dry Tortugas National Park

If you want to stay on a beach and see sea turtles, check out the Red Reef Park that’s just a short drive from Miami.

What should you not do while snorkeling?

When snorkeling, it’s most important that you use proper snorkeling gear and know how to use it correctly.

But you’ll also want to avoid a few snorkeling “don’t”s for the best and safest experience.

  • Don’t touch corals or other sea life
  • Don’t use harmful sunscreen (check out some ocean-friendly options here!)
  • Don’t snorkel alone

For more helpful snorkeling information and tips, visit our complete guide to snorkeling.

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