For one of the top destinations for snorkelling in America, make your way to Miami in Florida. With its warm weather, crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean and a wide variety of sites, snorkelling in Miami is a great spot for all ages and abilities. Not only that, in Florida, you’ll find the only living coral reef in the continental U.S. In fact, the Florida Reef is the third-largest coral barrier reef in the world and the reef tract starts near Miami. These coral reefs are a playground for colourful, tropical fish and marine life. The best time to go snorkelling in Miami is from late November through to May. This way you avoid hurricane season. Ready to explore Florida’s underwater world? Here are some of the best places for snorkelling in Miami.
7 of the Best Places for Snorkelling in Miami
1. Biscayne National Park
Located 40km south of Miami, Biscayne National Park is one of the best places to snorkel in Miami. The best snorkelling spot is about 15km (9 miles) off the coast just south of Miami, so you’ll need a boat to reach it but there are plenty of places that operate tours. Look out for sea turtles, dolphins, rays, tropical fish and invertebrates.
2. Half Moon Underwater Archaeological Preserve
Located just outside Bear Cut between Virginia Key and Key Biscayne, The Half Moon is a wrecked schooner-rigged steel yacht that sunk in 1930. Nowadays, it is an underwater archaeological preserve and Florida heritage site. It is a haven for a myriad of marine life and coral. Snorkelers will see damselfish, pufferfish, Southern stingrays, angelfish, sea anemones and a whole lot more.
3. Jose Cuervo Bar
No boat? No problem! If you are looking for a beach snorkelling site, head to the Jose Cuervo Bar at Miami Beach. You’ll find this sunken artificial reef approximately 150 yards southeast of the Second Street lifeguard station. Yes, this is an actual concrete margarita bar! It was sunk during the Cinco de Mayo Festival back in 2000. Expect to see lots of reef fish as well as bar stools and a mermaid. Just remember: never drink and dive.
4. Crandon Park
Crandon Park on Key Biscayne is one of the best places for snorkelling in Miami if you want to see nurse sharks. They swim around the shallow waters of the reefs. The waters here are just 6-8-feet deep and are calm so are ideal for beginners and children. There are lots to do on the beach but exploring the underwater world is very rewarding. Apart from sharks, the seagrass beds are also home to mangrove snapper, parrotfish, crabs, shrimp, sea stars and pufferfish.
5. Neptune Memorial Reef
Located 3.25 miles east of Key Biscayne in Miami, Neptune Memorial Reef is a beautiful man-made reef 40-feet under the sea. The Neptune Memorial Reef is abundant with marine life including 56 different fish species including, bluehead wrasse, sergeant majors, bar jacks, rainbow parrotfish and tomtates. You’ll also see spiny lobsters, spotted and green morays, corals and urchins.
6. Rainbow Reef
Located off of Key Biscayne, north of Emerald Reef and south of Patty’s reef, there are good snorkelling spots around the southern buoys. This is where the water is shallower and visibility is good. Here you’ll find lots of tropical fish, numerous hard corals, gorgonians and sponges, including the threatened Staghorn Coral. With its calm waters, this spot is perfect for beginners.
7. Emerald Reef
Emerald reef is one of the largest natural reefs in Miami. It is located one mile east of Key Biscayne. The conditions at this shallow patch reef are usually always good for snorkelling and you will see lots of underwater life. The large rocks are home to many interesting critters and you’ll also see lobsters too. The reef is home to numerous hard corals, gorgonians and sponges as well as fish like grunts and barracuda.