If you’re visiting the Florida Keys, you’re probably getting out on the water at least one day (if not – change your itinerary! The Keys are known for their extensive marine life, including beautiful coral heads, tropical fish, stingrays, sharks, turtles, and more! There is so much to see in the water, and it can be hard to choose (or know) where to go.
If you’re visiting with a boat, here are the 3 stops I recommend if you’re staying in the upper Keys. If you don’t have a boat, there are a ton of snorkel tours available. Visit Diving & Snorkeling – Islamorada (islamoradatimes.com) for some great companies that provide snorkeling tours.
- Alligator Reef Lighthouse
Just southeast of Upper Matecumbe Key, Alligator Reef is one of the most popular snorkel spots in the Keys (and for good reason)! The water is an unbelievable shade of blue, and there is enough under the surface to keep you busy for hours. Snorkeling under the Lighthouse is an unbeatable experience!
- Cheeca Rocks / Hens and Chickens
Cheeca Rocks and Hens and Chickens are two different spots, but they are close to each other and offer similar experiences. Both are just inland from Alligator Reef, about 1 mile off shore. The water is a little greener here – but don’t let that deter you! Both of these spots offer a unique experience, including different types of sea fans and plumes, and lots of colorful fish!
- John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Located in Key Largo, John Pennekamp was established in 1963 and was the first undersea state park in the US! Today, it is one of the most popular spots in the Keys for tourists. The state park offers private and public snorkel trips, glass bottom boat tours, dive trips, camping, and more. One of the most famous snorkel spots in Pennekamp is the nine foot tall Christ of the Abyss Statue, which stands in about 25 feet of water – a must see!
There are so many other locations to dive and snorkel in the Upper Florida Keys so C’mon down and get out on the water and enjoy all the water activities available in the beautiful Florida Keys.
Article by Lana Sitler www.adventuresbylana.com(coming soon) Instagram @adventuresbylana
Feature photo by NOAA.