Best Snorkeling in the Keys
Florida Keys snorkeling is a popular activity among locals and visitors alike. The reefs of the Keys enjoy the distinction of being the only tropical coral reefs in the contiguous states, as well as the third longest barrier reef in the world. One way to experience this underwater paradise is a Florida Keys snorkeling charter.
Though many other snorkeling destinations are within a swim from the beach, the only way to reach the best snorkeling in the Keys is by boat. All Florida Keys snorkeling locations have something special to offer, but the reefs of the Middle Keys are fortunately some of the healthiest and vibrant of them all. We offer Sombrero Reef snorkeling trips as well as trips to Coffins Patch and other shallow patch reefs. Each charter accommodates up to 6 people. Our private chartered trips allow you the freedom and flexibility to make the most of your experience and enjoy some of the best snorkeling in the Keys. In addition to observer snorkeling activities, we also offer active snorkeling for lobster & bullynetting for lobster in season.
Florida Keys Snorkeling: Sombrero Reef Snorkeling
Beneath the crystalline waters lie mini coral canyons and archways
For many reasons, Sombrero reef snorkeling is considered by many locals and visitors to be some of the best snorkeling in the Keys. Situated right on the edge of the barrier reef, it is marked by a 140 foot lighted tower, Sombrero Light, the tallest lighthouse in the Keys.
Beneath the crystalline waters lie mini coral canyons and archways with all ranges of depths. Exploring the varied topography is one of the highlights of snorkeling Sombrero reef. The spur and groove formation, ranging anywhere from 8 to 20 feet deep, provides an interesting underwater environment for all experience levels. A particular point of interest to many snorkelers is a swim beneath a natural coral bridge which formed where two fingers of coral meet.
On a Sombrero Reef snorkeling charter, you will see a great variety and large number of beautiful fish, coral & sponges. Parrot fish, hogfish, spiny lobsters, moray eels, green turtles, and gentle nurse sharks are just some of the interesting sea creatures you may see while snorkeling Sombrero reef. More often than not, you will see observant barracuda standing sentinel at the base of the lighthouse, less interested in you than they appear! Locals will tell you that snorkeling in the Keys doesn’t get any better than a trip to Sombrero reef.
Florida Keys Snorkeling: Coffins Patch
throughout Coffins Patch are beautiful forests of elkhorn coral
Coffins Patch, located just off Marathon and Duck Key is another favored location for Marathon snorkeling trips. The reef is actually a collection of six distinct patch reefs as opposed one patch as the name implies. Each of them showcases a predominant coral species, which makes for a one-of-kind, varied and interesting experience snorkeling in the Keys. Here again, the depth ranges from 8 to twenty feet deep, so it is ideal for all levels of swimmers and snorkelers. While on a Marathon snorkeling charter to Coffins Patch, you will see a wide variety of sea life sheltered by the natural underwater structures.
One of our favorite Marathon snorkeling spots at Coffins is Pillar Coral Patch, named for the dozens of intact pillar coral heads. Another spot we frequent at Coffins Patch is known as the Donut. It is deeper than some of the others and provides an amazing variety and amount of sponges for viewing. Another is the Stake, so named after the steel post that marks the spot. This location is somewhat shallower, and like all the reefs at Coffins Patch, it is very unique. Though they are just over 3 miles offshore, the proximity of these patch reefs to the barrier reef typically keeps the water clear and the sea life vibrant. Throughout Coffins Patch are beautiful forests of elkhorn coral, easily enjoyed in the shallow waters while snorkeling in Marathon Key.
Florida Keys Snorkeling: Marathon Patch Reefs
In addition to the well-known Coffins Patch and Sombrero Reef snorkeling spots, there are many other healthy and beautiful shallow water patch reefs close to Marathon and Duck Key, FL. Many species of fish and other sea life are abundant on the patch reefs. It’s possible to see various tropical fish, grouper, skates, rays and small sharks. All the reefs are within easy reach for an a day on the water that both parents and children alike will remember as a highlight of your Florida Keys vacation!
Florida Keys Snorkeling & Lobstering
During lobster season, one of the best local activities to enjoy is lobstering. There are two ways to catch the Florida Keys spiny lobster – one is by snorkeling & the other is bullynetting from the boat. Snorkeling for lobster basically adds a net, a tickle stick, and a measuring gauge to the standard snorkeling experience. Of course, we get you to the right holes & teach you the proper techniques, while the lobsters provide all the fun of the chase!
Bullynetting for lobster is an entirely different experience in that it takes place at night with lighting and you don’t actually get in the water. All of the fun happens on the boat while you snatch these delicious creatures from the water. It’s a unique experience that’s unlike any other fishing or lobstering done in the Florida Keys and beyond. Contact us for a bullynetting lobster charter in season.