Key Largo Snorkeling: Best Spots To Pick From

key largo beaches

If you want to go Key Largo snorkeling, you need to get on a boat. Two locations are starting points for boat tours: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Key Largo beaches. The best snorkeling locations are around or near the barrier reef. Although it is neither free nor particularly good, the state park is the sole option for shore snorkeling in the vicinity. Snorkeling in Key Largo is significantly better than in the Key West area. However, there are often more outstanding snorkeling opportunities in the keys between Key Largo and Key West, which we refer to as the Middle Keys.

Regardless, this article will assist you in making the most of your Key Largo snorkeling. Read recommendations on picking a boat tour and learn about the area’s healthiest, greatest snorkeling reefs.

Where Is The Best Snorkeling In Key Largo?

Unfortunately, we could not snorkel as many areas in Key Largo as we would have liked due to a solid week of 15 to 20-knot winds. Bummer! As a result, we were only able to visit a few locations. The good news is that we will return! First, however, we will share what we learnt about snorkeling locations below.

Key Largo Boat Charters For Snorkeling

Numerous private charters and boat cruises transport snorkelers to the barrier reef. This is the world’s second-largest man-made reef. An artificial reef is composed of a variety of man-made elements that are strewn across the ocean floor to attract marine life. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is now the only marine sanctuary with approved artificial reefs within its bounds.

The most convenient way to reach the reefs is through a boat tour or private boat rental. Snorkelers can board a boat from the John Pennekamp snorkeling Coral Reef State Park or a variety of other spots. Near Key Largo beaches, there are numerous spots to visit and numerous species of marine life to observe.

Grecian Rocks

key largo snorkeling

Grecian Rocks, located one mile south of the Dry Rocks, is another famous Key Largo snorkeling. There is a shallow reef. However, some of it reaches depths of up to 25 feet. It’s ideal for both novice and advanced snorkelers. You can also swim directly from the boat to the reef. Snorkelers appreciate witnessing a variety of brightly coloured tropical fish and coral. Seagrass and Queen conch shells are found on the ocean floor.

The sandy areas near the reef are home to rays that burrow into the sand. Rays, major sergeant fish, parrotfish, goatfish, barracuda, blueheads, blue tang, and brain coral are the most common species of marine life.

The Elbow

key largo snorkeling

This reef is named for its angular shape. It is made up of spurs and grooves that run the length of the reef. Coral fingers are unique from one another, separated by sandy channels. The spurs are lengthy and impressive to observe.

Along with the diverse underwater life, snorkelers enjoy the remnants of a Civil War wreck. A 752-ton steamboat sank here in 1866. Additionally, the ruins of two additional wrecks may be seen. Elkhorn coral fingers are scattered around the wreck, which adds to its beauty. Additionally, the recommended level for this site is experience.

Paradise Island Charters – Snorkeling Tours in Key Largo 

key largo snorkeling

Daily, Paradise Island Charters offers two four-hour tours. Snorkeling in Key Largo locations vary according to the day and time of year. Still, they may include expeditions to Christ of the Abyss (weather permitting), various shallow reefs, the wrecks of the USS Spiegel Grove, and SS Benwood, and the ruins of the US Coast Guard cutter Duane. Tours depart at 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., but guests must check-in one hour before departure. Each excursion is limited to 15 passengers and begins at $60 for adults and $50 for youngsters ten and under.

Passengers on the boat must be at least two years old, and snorkelers must be four years old. Two locations, snorkel gear, reef-safe sunscreen, and a cooler for personal beverages and snacks, are included in the price. Rental wetsuits are available for an extra charge. Patrons are delighted about the guides and the crew’s professionalism. They love the small group size and evaluate the trip as five stars. Additionally, the company offers scuba excursions and private charters.

Christ of the Abyss 

key largo snorkeling

Christ of the Abyss is the most popular Key Largo snorkeling. It is a nine-foot-tall bronze statue of Jesus Christ tucked away among Dry Rocks’ patch reef. The lake is approximately 7.6 meters deep, yet the top of the Christ statue is only 2.4 meters below. You’ll find soft and hard corals at the site, as well as barracuda, rays, and tropical fish. However, because this is not the healthiest of reefs, the sea life is not as vibrant as other locations.

Molasses Reef

key largo snorkeling

Molasses Reef is one of the world’s most visited reefs, located 9.5 kilometers off the shore of snorkeling key largo. This location boasts excellent visibility and thriving marine life. Expect to witness enormous brain corals, as well as a diverse array of fish, turtles, and rays. The only disadvantage of this location is that it is relatively remote and weather-dependent. Therefore, snorkeling is only enjoyable in calm conditions. Therefore, verify the weather forecast before departing.

City of Washington Shipwreck

key largo snorkeling

If you’re seeking a shipwreck to Key Largo snorkeling, make your way to the City of Washington wreck. This cargo ship sank in 1917, and the wreckage, which is in rather excellent condition, lies in a depth of 5-9 meters (16-30 feet). While Snorkeling in Key Largo, you’ll observe vibrant coral reefs, shoals of tropical fish, and barracudas and eels. If you are fortunate, you may also see nurse sharks and turtles.

John Pennekamp Snorkeling Coral Reef State Park

key largo snorkeling

This massive underwater park is the most popular snorkeling destination in Key Largo, and it’s stunning for reasons other than its underwater life. There are several lovely beaches to visit and numerous walking trails through mangroves and lush flora. This is the only snorkeling location in the snorkeling key largo, but don’t expect to see many corals here. There will be fish, seagrass, and a shipwreck to explore, but this location lacks the diversity and abundance of marine life found on offshore reefs.


  1. The Visitor Centre has information on the local ecosystem and a 113,562-litre saltwater aquarium.
  2. On-site amenities include parking, restrooms, showers, campsites, and picnic spots.

Snapper Ledge

key largo snorkeling

If you’ve never seen a yellowtail snapper before, this is the spot for you. There is a ledge that provides the ideal habitat for swarms of these fish. Indeed, there are so many that you can’t see through the school at times. Water depths range between 12 and 35 feet (3.6 and 10.6 meters), which is good for a variety of larger species.

At Snapper Ledge, you should be able to witness a variety of marine species on any given day. Nurse sharks and moray eels frequent the area. In addition, this area is home to goatfish, hog snappers, crabs, lobster, rays, and even octopuses. If you’re visiting Key Largo snorkeling, it should be near the top of your list.

Key Largo Climate

Generally, Key Largo offers a pleasant and suitable climate for snorkeling. Annual temperatures range between 70°F to 84°F on average. Summer is the hottest time of year. In June, July, August, and September, maximum temperatures may approach 90°F. These months’ low temperatures hover around 75°F. The winter months are slightly cooler but still pleasant. Temperatures average between 60°F and 75°F during these months.

Between June and October, the water is at its hottest. This may be critical for us snorkelers, particularly if you prefer to swim in more comfortable conditions. During these five months, water temperatures will average around 82°F. During the winter months, the average water temperature is around 75°F. This may be the case during January, February, and March. May to October is the rainy season. September is frequently the wettest month, although January appears to be the driest.


If a visitor wishes to view coral reefs and a variety of aquatic life, it is recommended that they take a boat excursion. Beyond the marine fauna, there is so much to see, including shipwrecks. Additionally, there is the Christ of the Abyss statue. Each of these places deserves a visit.

The barrier contains some of Florida’s healthiest coral. The coral is brighter at smaller, less-trafficked sites, although the coral is excellent in most of these locations. The marine life includes sea turtles and sharks, as well as various tropical fish species. Yellowtail snapper, parrotfish, blue tangs, sergeant majors, and blueheads are all common sightings.

The majority of the locations are near one another. They are accessible via private charter or on a boat departing from John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Depending on the amount of sightseeing desired, a private charter may make the most sense. Key Largo snorkeling is a famous site in Florida for a variety of reasons. The ocean water is crystal clear and warm all year. The visibility is excellent, and the progress toward constructing the world’s second-largest artificial barrier reef is obvious. Additionally, there is a great deal to see.

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