Snorkeling Key Largo: A Guide to Top Spots in the Keys
Snorkeling Key Largo tops many must-do lists. Located only an hour’s drive from Miami, Key Largo houses the third-largest coral reef in the world, and is known for shallow reefs and some of the best wreck diving in the world. Whether new to the activity or an expert, this guide to snorkeling Key Largo covers some of the most popular spots and what to expect. Get ready to dive in.
Snorkeling Key Largo: The Underwater Worlds
Known as the “Dive Capital of the World,” Key Largo offers several spots for snorkeling and underwater exploration. Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary protects the waters surrounding the Keys. The sanctuary itself does not offer snorkeling, however most tours cover some area within these waters. While snorkeling, visitors see coral reefs and shipwrecks, and have the opportunity to see as many as 6,000 species of marine life.
Visit John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park, the first undersea park in the U.S. The park encompasses 70 nautical square miles and ranks among the most popular spots for snorkeling Key Largo. When underwater, guests see several varieties of coral reef and wildlife. Perhaps the most popular site is the Christ of the Abyss statue, a 9-foot-tall bronze replica of Il Christo Delgi Abissi, which rests in the Mediterranean Sea.
More Popular Snorkeling Spots in Key Largo
Other spots for snorkeling Key Largo offer additional experiences and sites. To see shipwrecks, visit The Elbow, a reef system home to historical wrecks and nurse sharks. North Dry Rocks and North North Dry Rocks both offer shallow waters with healthy reefs. North Dry Rocks houses Minnow Cave, home to seasonal silverside minnows.
For an easier dive, the Wreck of the Benwood features a shallow wreck between French Reef and Spiegel Grove. This spot also welcomes night divers, with an abundance of marine life and easy navigation.
Expert Dives and Lengthy Snorkel Trips
For longer swims and deeper waters, head to French Reef and USS Spiegel Grove. The French Reef is full of caves and tunnels, where visitors see fish and reef creatures that seldom leave their hiding places. The area also has an abundance of large elk horn and stag horn corals. USS Spiegel Grove – one of the newest wrecks in the area – is the second-largest ship to sink in the artificial reef. This spot also has strong currents, so it is recommended for experienced divers only.
Expert snorkelers and divers should also visit USCG Cutters Duane and Bibb. These were intentionally sunk to form an artificial reef, and both lie as deep as 130 feet. Divers need to head 60 feet below the surface and take caution against strong currents.
Another deep dive for those snorkeling Key Largo is Molasses Reef, which slopes down about 55 feet. This area is one of the most popular dive destinations in the world, and the Gulf stream provides high visibility. Due to constantly changing reef creatures, guests may see something different each time they tour Molasses Reef.
Now you know where to go, it’s time to plan. Find Key Largo and Upper Florida Keys vacation rentals.