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Best Snorkeling region in the keys

New York City, New...
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Best Snorkeling region in the keys

HI,

Could somebody advise which is the best Snorkeling region amongst all the keys.

thanks

mnaps

Los Angeles
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4,670 posts
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1. Re: Best Snorkeling region in the keys

As is very common in postings here, the word "best" doesn't describe what you're looking for.

Do you mean the best for beginners or experts? The best variety of sea life? The clearest waters? The easiest to get to?

I've been out everywhere from Key Largo all the way out to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas and all the places have cool things. And on some days any one of these places might be the best or the worst. The time of year will also dramatically change how many fish you see.

While the reef off the Upper Keys is generally considered to have the best visibility, on a good day you can find similar conditions elsewhere. And I've spent hours and hours snorkeling just off the beach in front of my hotel on Tavernier, searching for tiny creatures, like sea horses an inch long in the seagrass.

What are you looking for in your snorkeling trip?

Pjk
New Jersey
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for Key West
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2. Re: Best Snorkeling region in the keys

Let me add to the plethora of replies.....

In Key West there are many locations where you will be taken to snorkel by the various companies. But the conditions will vary by day, sometime by the hour based on the wind and tide and the presence of storms in the area. On bad days they will take you out but you will not see much. But on good days the vizibility will be very good and you will be able to see any number of colorful fish.

But the added benefit of going out of Key West is the trip itself. You can choose a nice sailboat

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Or a larger catamaran

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And part of the fun, in addition to any time you spend in the water, is the sail out

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And even the sail back, maybe with a drink...

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The best snorkeling is more than just the best snorkeling.

Pjk

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Best Snorkeling region in the keys

Thank you Pjk and Orion for your suggestions.

I am a beginner and not a very good swimmer.Best would ideally mean clear blue waters, with not much diving and able to see lot of fishes.

We had both good and bad times when we snorkelled in Peurto Rico.We saw some fishes along the inner coastline and then we tried to kayak 2 miles inside the ocean,but the sea was very choppy and we kinda struggled to stay afloat.Do not want that experience again.. :)

We are planning early March8-15 and from Pjk's suggestions I feel it would be best to hire your own boat and have him steer us to a snorkelling region.

My apologies if I was vague, the question was amongst all the keys which one is a better bet.Where would we be better off hiring the boat.

Would the destination experts suggest any boat companies.

Or should we make the trip to Dry Tortugas.

Thanks

mnaps

Marathon, Florida
Destination Expert
for Marathon, Islamorada
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4. Re: Best Snorkeling region in the keys

If looking outside of Key West - a couple of the popular reefs off Marathon offer great snorkeling. Coffins Patch is my personal favorite and Sombrero Reef is a good day too. Both easy to get too with lots of sea life and corals.

Key Largo Florida
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5. Re: Best Snorkeling region in the keys

All the times ive been on the ocean from Miami to Marathon the clarity of the water is at most times real clear with bottom being visible to 60 feet easily. And all the times ive been out from Key West the bottom isnt visible at all, even in 20 feet of water. Not sure if the cruise ships stir it up and make it that way.

Central PA
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6. Re: Best Snorkeling region in the keys

Key Largo and Looe Key

Pjk
New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Key West
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35,513 posts
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7. Re: Best Snorkeling region in the keys

I've done three trips to Looe Key and conditions were great each time, even going to two separate spots on two of the trips.

Pjk

Los Angeles
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54 reviews
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8. Re: Best Snorkeling region in the keys

mnaps, thanks for getting back to us with specifics! you'd be surprised at the numbers of people who don't follow up on their first posts.

In March the water is starting to warm up, which means the numbers of fish will also increase. There will almost always be the most fish out at the reef. but since you're a beginner I'd suggest going out into the back country off of Key West. Danger has great 1/2 day and full day sailboat trips that also have kayaking around a mangrove island as well as another stop for snorkeling, They usually go in shallow water places. The 3 times I've been out with them we've snorkeled in the "sponge gardens" where you can still see the cruise ships docked at Mallory Square. You can use an inflatable vest and if you don't stir up the bottom with your fins the visibility is usually good.

The water is only about 8-10 feet deep and there are no currents that might dash you up onto the reef, like you can get out at several places on the ocean. I believe they may even go to Cotrell Key, which had terrific snorkeling the 2 days I was there last May.

In general I'd say that the weather will dictate what the best Key or spot is for snorkeling. If there's any wind I usually look for something else to do, as I don't enjoy bumpy sea and boat rides either.

The Dry Tortugas should have plenty of fish out there in March and you don't have to swim all the way out to the coral heads to see them. You can walk into the water by the pilings and snorkel around there. The water gets deep quickly, but there's plenty of fish of all sizes right there, next to the shore, and the area is usually somewhat calmer, with no waves.

I think, if it's in your budget, that hiring a small boat and letting them take you where you would feel most comfortable would be the thing to do.

I've heard great things about Capt. Victoria:

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g34345-d14…

New York City, New...
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9. Re: Best Snorkeling region in the keys

Guys,

Thanks much for all your responses.

I am inclined towards Looe key reef and also checking John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

As we have ample time in Key West, we are looking to do snorkeling again, I ll check Danger sail trips..

I dont think Dry Tortugas is for us, as its requires an entire day and we are not much into history of the fort. Must say, its pricey too..

I will update here the ones I finalize..

thanks again

mnaps

Central PA
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10. Re: Best Snorkeling region in the keys

Sounds like a good plan, I don't think you'll be disappointed.