12 Best Beaches for Snorkeling in Florida

Woman snorkeling near coral reef
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The Sunshine State is famous for its white-sand beaches and nice year-round weather, but life under the water's surface is just as exciting. Nicknamed the Emerald Coast, the western coastline bordering the Gulf of Mexico has waters varying shades of green and unmistakable, picturesque views. From the Emerald Coast to the turquoise waters of the Palm Beaches and beyond, Florida's more than 1,000 miles of coastline have some of the best snorkeling around.

This crystal clear ocean is one of the best places for snorkeling because of its incredible visibility of the reefs and underwater inhabitants. Sea turtles and dolphins are only two of the incredible species you may discover on your journey through this uncharted territory. Destined to find out something remarkable, schedule a tour with one of the area's many tour groups or venture out with your family the next time you visit Florida. Whether you want to bask in the soothing water, find sharks' teeth, or come face to face with tropical fish and stingrays, these are 12 of the best places to do it.

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Dry Tortugas National Park

USA, Florida, Dry Tortugas National Park, Fort Jefferson
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West of Key West, Florida

Discover the massive fortress centering the 100-square mile Dry Tortugas National Park. The seven small islands offer exploration of the uncultivated, tranquil waters and a noteworthy maritime construction. As the name suggests, this snorkeling destination often provides an opportunity to be close to sea turtles. Besides the sea turtles, corals, starfish, and various tropical fish, viewing the world under the sea is a whole new experience.

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Bathtub Reef Beach

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Stuart, Florida

Located At the northern tip of Hutchison Island in Martin County, Bathtub Reef Beach is a family-friendly, scenic place for exploring. The beach gets its name from the water's bathtub-calm conditions created by the reef system just off the shore. The reef hosts over 500 varieties of marine life, including endangered sea turtles, and is produced by Sabellariid sea worms. This fragile ecosystem works to construct the complex limestone and sand grains formations.

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Cannon Beach

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Key Largo, Florida

Cannon Beach at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a must-see for lovers of Florida history and shipwrecks. It's one of the most fun ways to view artifacts of centuries-old submerged shipwrecks. In Cannon Beach's calm and shallow waters, this is a popular spot for families to swim with small children.

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Phil Foster Park

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Riviera Beach, Florida

Wildlife abounds under the water's surface at Phil Foster Park in Palm Beach County, with a snorkeling trail 200 feet off Phil Foster Beach. This site attracts underwater photographers, divers, and snorkelers alike. Spanning two acres and teeming with tropical fish and marine animals, visitors can witness more than 300 species of wildlife.

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Red Reef Park

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Boca Raton, Florida

Situated off scenic A1A between Gumbo Limbo Nature Center and South Beach Park, Red Reef Beach boasts an artificial reef where snorkelers can see a variety of tropical fish. The reef is shallow, so plan to snorkel when the tide is high. The Nature Center helps protect the area's marine life, including watching the sea turtles walk and hatchling release.

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Venice Beach

Venice Beach, California
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Venice, Florida

Nicknamed the "Shark Tooth Capital of the World," the turquoise waters of Venice Beach are a paradise for shark-tooth hunters. Snorkel for those treasures along the shore around the reef situated a quarter-mile off the coast. Lifeguards, free parking, food concessions, and other amenities make Venice an ideal spot to spend a day at the beach.

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St. Andrews State Park Jetty

Walking at Sunset on the Shore of St. Andrews State Park, Panama City Beach, Florida
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Panama City Beach, Florida

Snorkel northwest Florida's St. Andrews State Park to see why the Panhandle is called the Emerald Coast. A rock jetty forms a lagoon protected from the Gulf of Mexico that's easy to snorkel and flanked by a white-sand beach. It's a perfect way for beginners and families with children to escape the heat.

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Coral Cove Park

Coral Cove
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Tequesta, Florida

Its rugged beauty and impressive rock formations make Coral Cove Park a popular beach destination in southeast Florida. On a calm day, you could mistake the waters of this beach for the Caribbean. Its clarity and countless species of marine animals, including rays, tropical fish, and seahorses, will lead you to discover something exciting each dip in the waters.

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Regina Sugar Barge

Anna Maria Island Coastline
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Bradenton Beach, Florida

The Regina Sugar Barge wreck on Anna Maria Island has a lot to explore for snorkelers of any skill level. The so-called "Sugar Barge" gets its name from its original voyage, which was to carry molasses from Cuba. So close to shore, the 1940 barge wreckage lives only 150 feet from the beach.

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Peanut Island Park

Florida Keys Key West
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Riviera Beach, Florida

An island getaway and snorkeling trip in one: that's Peanut Island in Riviera Beach. There's no land access to the island, so a boat ride or water taxi is required. It's well worth the effort to see the clear, blue-green waters of this popular snorkeling and paddling spot and the tropical fish and other animals that inhabit them.

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Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park, Dania Beach

The Florida Keys
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Nurse sharks, spiny lobsters, and an array of tropical fish are just some of the species snorkelers can spot at Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park in Dania Beach. The 2.5-mile stretch of beach offers easy snorkeling and diving from shore. This undeveloped ecosystem is the perfect place to explore Florida's national treasures south of Port Everglades.

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Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key
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Big Pine Key, Florida

Rent snorkeling gear from Bahia Honda State Park or take advantage of the group excursions available. This breezy, year-round shore is great for adventures on and off the coastline. Nature lovers can discover why this historic and recreational paradise is the spot for ocean finds or sit back and enjoy the incredible sunsets.

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