One of the best ways to experience Florida is to get out onto and into the warm waters. If you’re not quite ready to go for the full SCUBA diving experience, there are plenty of spots suitable for all levels of snorkeling acumen, from beginner to advanced. Here, we take a look at two snorkeling destinations in the Sunshine State to whet your appetite.
Palm Beach County
On the east coast of the Sunshine State you’ll find a few cool places to don your snorkels and dive into the underwater world without having to go too far away from civilization in Palm Beach County.
First, try snorkeling under the Blue Heron Bridge at Phil Foster Park on the Intracoastal Waterway, touted as some of the best shore diving — and snorkeling — in the world. The water clarity here makes it easy to spot fish and marine life who find refuge under and around the bridge, opening up a whole new world to snorkelers.
On the other side of the road, but still a part of Phil Foster Park, the Underwater Snorkel Trail is another terrific spot to explore. Along the trail, you’ll find submerged structures to peek into and around in search for marine life, as well as some cool shark sculptures that add a bit of manmade art to the underwater world.
This part of Florida is also the largest nesting ground in North America for loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles, so the chances of spotting them are terrific, too.
A few hours south of Palm Beach is Key Largo at the tip of the Florida Keys, where you’ll find John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and its fabulous snorkeling. The park is the United States’ first undersea preserve, created in 1960; the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary followed soon after when it was established in 1975.
With the words coral reef in its name, you know you can’t go wrong when it comes to snorkeling at John Pennekamp. Snorkeling tours will take you straight out to the reefs for uninterrupted time on the water during which you’ll easily see the living reefs and their inhabitants, such as fish, coral and other marine life who call the natural infrastructures home. If you’d rather stay dry but still peek into the park’s underwater world, opt for a glass bottom boat tour instead.
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