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Looe Key (Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary)

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Address: Looe Key Existing Management Area, Nancy Foster Florida Keys Environmental Complex, FL 33040
Phone Number:
+1 305-809-4700

Looe Key reef has been federally protected since 1981, first as a national...

Looe Key reef has been federally protected since 1981, first as a national marine sanctuary and now as an Existing Management Area* within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. This area includes a Sanctuary Preservation Area* (SPA) that is a popular snorkelling and dive destination for new and experienced divers alike. A diversity of fish congregate here - parrots and surgeonfish on the north side; barracudas and jacks on top of the reef; grunts, butterflyfish, and angelfish on the reef crest. It is located approximately 5.5 nautical miles south of Ramrod Key and about eight nautical miles southwest of Bahia Honda State Park.

*Special use regulations apply here.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Best snorkeling in the Keys

Booked the trip from Bahia Honda State Park. Snorkeled in Marathon, Key and West and here. This is the best place to snorkel. Don't waste money in Key West. Sombrero reef is also... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 weeks ago

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154 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 146: English reviews
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Booked the trip from Bahia Honda State Park. Snorkeled in Marathon, Key and West and here. This is the best place to snorkel. Don't waste money in Key West. Sombrero reef is also good. Saw a Goliath groper, sharks, lots of barracudas and lots lots of fishes

Thank beachadmirer74
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
47 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

After reading all of the amazing reviews of the snorkeling trips to Looe Key, I was disappointed when the coral and fish life was so limited. We did see several reef sharks which was the only cool thing about it. We went on the trip out of Bahia Honda park. I wouldn't recommend that unless you are very inexperienced. The... More 

2 Thank Reebs41
Boca Raton, Florida
Level Contributor
425 reviews
168 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 October 2016

This is a very cool place to snorkel and well worth the time and money to do so. This is a very neat reef, and it is filled with life. While there, we saw a black tipped reef shark, a big and beautiful stingray, and many tropical fish. The day we were there was very windy, and visibility wasn't great,... More 

1 Thank chester110105
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 October 2016 via mobile

I was so glad we managed to fit this into our trip to the keys. The snorkeling here was 20x better than Key West! (However we love it in Key West also!) They boat you about 5 1/2 miles out to sea and drop anchor at Looe Key where the depth ranges around 2 ft- 25ft and this reef is... More 

2 Thank Lydia O
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
2,341 reviews
444 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 404 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 August 2016

Most people stop diving further north along the keys, i.e. Key Largo or Islamorada, but if you have the opportunity be sure to take the time to stop here and, at the very least, snorkel. It is not deep, less than 30 feet, so it is not like diving in the open sea. It is very easy to navigate, as... More 

Thank Allen21096
Cumming, Georgia, USA
Level Contributor
202 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 June 2016 via mobile

My family thoroughly enjoyed our snorkeling trip to looe key reef. The fish were beautiful and we even were able to see two goliath grouper that were absolutely amazing. They were estimated by the dive master to be about 100 pounds for the baby and 250 pounds for the larger one. Seeing a fish larger than yourself can be quite... More 

Thank rjb1122
Level Contributor
40 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 June 2016 via mobile

Absolute BEST diving available near the mainland. I've been driving here since I was a kid (50 years) and it remains unspoiled. Warm, tropical waters usually offer 50'-70' vis. Colorful fish and reef, just about 5 miles off Big Pine Key. Bring extra tanks because you won't want to leave!

Thank MikiW57
Rutland, Vermont
Level Contributor
226 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 322 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 June 2016

We've snorkeled all over, including a number of Caribbean islands and Belize. Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary blew our expectations our of the water, and I can't believe there's anywhere better to snorkel in the U.S. We did a half-day trip with Looe Key Dive Center (who were great). They took us out to Looe Key and anchored at two... More 

5 Thank lhousesoccer
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 May 2016

We went diving in the reef, and to its credit, I saw my first Goliath Groupers there as well as the largest parrot fish I have ever seen. However, the reef is very degraded and not deep enough (25ft) to dive without lots of pressure changes killing your ears. Snorkeling? You bet. But if you dive, and especially if you... More 

1 Thank John D
Xenia, Ohio
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 May 2016 via mobile

We visited using looe key dive center. Reef varied from 3-30 ft. Healthy coral and many fish! Snorkelers follow the fingers, divers follow the grooves in between. Saw about 5 sharks from 4-7 ft long. Reef and bull sharks.

1 Thank Kristi B

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