Best snorkling in Southern Florida/Keys?? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Florida & SE US East Coast > Florida - Keys
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  #1  
Old 11-11-2013
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Best snorkling in Southern Florida/Keys??

We are planning a trip to the keys this winter, snorkeling and surfing along the way. (Likely travelling by 17' minivan.) The kids are experienced snorklers and are looking for "colorful places with clear water to see different types of fish".

Can anyone suggest some good places to go? Right now, we aren't planning to tow our dinghy behind us, so land-accessible or tour-boat-accessible would work best.

(I could probably be convinced to tow the dink if there is strong reason to do so. We could also use it to hold lashed-down surfboards enroute and leave more room in the roof-top "pod".)

Regards,
Brad
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Old 11-11-2013
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Re: Best snorkling in Southern Florida/Keys??

I visited over 20 years ago. Pretty nice snorkeling off their dive boat. I saw the biggest Barracuda I could imagine. On Key Largo.
John Pennenkamp Coral Reef State Park
Best of all it is a Florida State park so even if our "friends" in congress shut down the national parks (Everglades N.P. is one of 'em) John Pennecamp park should still be open.

Further down the Keys is:
Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys Beach, Beaches in the Keys, State Park in the Keys, Florida Keys State Park, Public Beach Florida Parks
where we camped out. Also a FL state park. Not that far from Key West.
Make your reservations now though for either of these.

Another attraction worth visiting is Sanibel Island. Not so much for snorkeling as the Gulf waters can be pretty turbid but for the shells washed up on the beach. I'd stay on the main land or Otero Island (Ft. Meyer's Beach) as hotels on Sanibel are $$$$. Your ladies will probably enjoy this place even if you don't.

Most of all have fun!
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Last edited by CalebD; 11-11-2013 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 11-12-2013
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Re: Best snorkling in Southern Florida/Keys??

Snorkeling in the winter? Bring a wet suit! Even in the Keys.
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Old 11-12-2013
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Re: Best snorkling in Southern Florida/Keys??

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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Snorkeling in the winter? Bring a wet suit! Even in the Keys.
The water temperature is expected to be warmer than it gets up here in the summer. As long as we don't stay so long that we fully acclimate to the weather in paradise, we ought to be ok.

It's the surfing side trips on the way back that I think will feel cold. I've warned the kids that if we are surfing in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, that we ought to do it on the way down. We have wetsuits.

Regards,
Brad
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Re: Best snorkling in Southern Florida/Keys??

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Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
I visited over 20 years ago. Pretty nice snorkeling off their dive boat. I saw the biggest Barracuda I could imagine. On Key Largo.
John Pennenkamp Coral Reef State Park
Best of all it is a Florida State park so even if our "friends" in congress shut down the national parks (Everglades N.P. is one of 'em) John Pennecamp park should still be open.

Further down the Keys is:
Bahia Honda State Park, Florida Keys Beach, Beaches in the Keys, State Park in the Keys, Florida Keys State Park, Public Beach Florida Parks
where we camped out. Also a FL state park. Not that far from Key West.
Make your reservations now though for either of these.

Another attraction worth visiting is Sanibel Island. Not so much for snorkeling as the Gulf waters can be pretty turbid but for the shells washed up on the beach. I'd stay on the main land or Otero Island (Ft. Meyer's Beach) as hotels on Sanibel are $$$$. Your ladies will probably enjoy this place even if you don't.

Most of all have fun!
Caleb,

You have us looking at the pictures of Bahia Honda. It's beautiful. The campground is booked until the spring, otherwise that's where we'd make camp while we explore the keys.

Regards,
Brad
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Old 11-12-2013
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Re: Best snorkling in Southern Florida/Keys??

Brad,

Lots of great stuff in Largo. You will have to take a tour boat out. The Dry Rocks and Molasses Reef come to mind off of Rodriguez.

Another great area is Sombrero Light off of Marathon. It is surprisingly good and we visit it often.

On our bucket list here before long is to go to Looe Key which is supposed to have some of the best snorkeling and diving in the keys. Bahia Honda is pretty good too.

If you don't mind parting with some coin, take the family over to the Tortugas by Ferry. You can even tent camp there if you want. Gorgeous over there and great snorkeling and diving... but the best stuff is away from the fort and you won't be able to get to it. Still, the old Fort is incredible for the kids. It is one of our favorite places.

Looks us up when you get here. I suspect we will be hanging around Marathon somewhere!!

Brian

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Kids Snorkeling off of Sombrero (that coral head goes down over 20 feet).

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Re: Best snorkling in Southern Florida/Keys??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bene505 View Post
Caleb,

You have us looking at the pictures of Bahia Honda. It's beautiful. The campground is booked until the spring, otherwise that's where we'd make camp while we explore the keys.

Regards,
Brad
Yes, it was a pretty cool place some 30 odd years ago. Man O'war jellyfish blown up on the beach.
I believe that Pennacamp S.P. also has campgrounds but alas they are probably already booked too.
There are quite a few "RV parks" along the way to Key West. I have no idea what the cost/night is though.
Brian has some good ideas there.
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