7 of the Best Places for Snorkeling in Miami

With its warm weather, crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean and a wide variety of sites, Miami in Florida has great snorkelling spots for people of all ages and abilities. Not only that, in Florida, you’ll find the only living coral reef in the continental United States. In fact, the Florida Reef is the third-largest coral barrier reef in the world and the reef tract starts near Miami. The Florida Reef is a haven for vivid, tropical fish and wonderful marine life. The best time to go snorkelling in Miami is from late November through to May so that you avoid hurricane season. Ready to explore this mesmerising underwater world? Here are some of the best places for snorkeling in Miami.

7 of the Best Places for Snorkeling in Miami

1. The wreck trek

An artificial reef programme means that there are dozens of wrecks on the seafloor close to Miami. Miami’s “Wreck Trek” is a cluster of sites that can be dived in a single tank – two if you want to see more. Sites include an 85-foot steel tug, two M60 tanks, the 110-foot Billy’s Barge, Ben’s Antenna Reef and dozens of 100-foot plus freighters. Corals and sponges now cover the wrecks and schools of fish use them as their aquatic playground.

2. Biscayne National Park

Situated 40km south of Miami, Biscayne National Park is one of the best places to snorkel in Miami. However, it is super popular, so to beat the crowds, rent a boat or book a tour and head about 15km (9 miles) off the coast just south of Miami. This is one of the best places in Miami for snorkeling and you’ll see sea turtles, dolphins, rays, tropical fish and invertebrates.

3. Crandon Park

Want to snorkel with nurse sharks? Crandon Park, situated on Key Biscayne, is one of the best places to do so. The nurse sharks swim around the shallow waters of the reefs – the waters here are just 6-8-feet deep. Apart from sharks, snorkelling along the seagrass beds you’ll also spot mangrove snappers, parrotfish, crabs, shrimp, sea stars and pufferfish.

4. Emerald Reef

Located one mile east of Key Biscayne, Emerald reef is one of the largest natural reefs in Miami, and the conditions at this shallow patch reef are almost always perfect for snorkelling. In terms of marine life, the large rocks here are home to lobsters, grunts and barracuda, and the reef is home to beautiful hard corals, gorgonians and sponges.

5. Neptune Memorial Reef

Neptune Memorial Reef is located 3.25 miles east of Key Biscayne and is the world’s largest man-made reef at a depth of 40 feet. You’ll see an abundance of marine life here including 56 different fish species, for instance, bluehead wrasse, sergeant majors, bar jacks, rainbow parrotfish and tomtates. Spiny lobsters, spotted and green morays, corals and urchins also live in this reef.

best places snorkeling Miami

6. Jose Cuervo Dive Bar

Located approximately 150 yards southeast of the Second Street lifeguard station on Miami Beach you’ll find an underwater margarita bar. The Jose Cuervo Bar was sunk during the Cinco de Mayo Festival back in 2000. There’s no need for a boat to reach this site, you just put your fins on and snorkel out from the beach. As you do. you’ll see lots of reef fish as well as bar stools and a mermaid.

7. Half Moon Underwater Archaeological Preserve

The Half Moon Underwater Archaeological Preserve is one of the most fascinating shipwrecks off the coast of the United States. Originally called the Germania, the Germans built it as a racing yacht in 1908. It traded hands countless times before the British took ownership and, in 1914, renamed it the Half Moon. It became a floating bar during Prohibition eventually sinking off the coast of Miami in 1930. Divers discovered the ship in 1987 and identified it in 1990. Today, it is one of Florida’s Seven Underwater Archaeological Preserves. Keep your eyes peeled for damselfish, pufferfish, Southern stingrays, angelfish, sea anemones and a whole lot more.

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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