Miami Snorkeling

Getting Out to the Colorful Reefs...

Our Coral Reefs Are Waiting and Ready to Welcome You Back!

The Latest Status and Coronavirus Measures for Snorkel Boat Tours

Our Marinas, Parks and the Florida Keys have reopened after the earlier Covid-19 closures and Miami Snorkeling Tours have resumed operations with enhanced health and social distancing measures as prescribed by the CDC as well as the local and county regulations and ask that all patrons adhere to the rules to prevent further spread of Covid-19.

  • Biscayne National ParK grounds are OPEN from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Visitor Center is CLOSED, the Small-Group and Private Snorkeling Tours ARE running!
  • The Florida Keys have reopened! Most snorkeling operators are running tours. Many have increased availabity of Private tours.
  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is OPEN from 8:00 am to sunset and snorkeling tours have resumed with limited capacity. Bookings are offered 3-7 days in advance of trips.

These are some of the enhanced measures you are likely to see being implemented, they vary by operator and whether you are in Miami or in the Keys since guidelines may differ amongst counties, please consult each operator for particular precautions, specially regarding rental equipment and booking/reservation process:

  • Facial coverings are required to be worn from the time you are waiting to check-in until you off-board the vessel after the completion of the activity. This is in accordance to Miami-Dade County regulations. Facial coverings are not required for the short time of preparing enter the water to snorkel.
  • Best to bring your own snorkel gear. Renting masks and snorkels for snorkeling programs in Dade County is suspended. In the Keys, rental equipment is sterilized with a concentrated sanitizing solution.
  • A brightly colored swim vest must be worn and will be provided but you are encouraged to bring your own if you have one. At this time, you will be instructed NOT to inflate the borrowed vest since this is done through the mouthpiece. If you require additional flotation you can request a pool noodle. Vests and pool noodles will be sanitized after each use.
  • Social distancing guidelines on piers and boats must be followed.

For more info check out the individual operator's guidelines, Miami Dade County Reopening Rules For Boaters and Marina Rules.

Snorkeling beautiful reef at Snapper Ledge

We are blessed with the third largest coral reef in the world, (after Australia's and Belize's Barrier Reefs).

It extends southwards fom Miami for some 170 miles into the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

This wonderful ecosystem paired with our wonderful weather year-round, makes Snorkeling and Scuba Diving some of the most popular things to do in Miami that can be enjoyed any month of the year.

So how do we get to the colorful reefs? Can we swim from the beach? Unfortunately, the coral reefs are about 3 to 8 miles offshore, although relatively speaking close to the coastline, it is not close enough so you can swim to them. A snorkel trip to the nearby reefs in Miami must be done by boat.

Snorkeling from the Reef Roamer Catamaran

Luckily, options for snorkel trips abound as do the number of fantastic sites along the reef.

A Snorkel Boat Tour To The Offshore Reefs

Normally, the snorkeling tours go to the protected inner reefs and stick to sites with depths ranging from as shallow as 5 feet to 15 feet.

The boat ride to the reef takes between 30 to 45 minutes depending on the snorkel site and allow about one hour in the water. Some operators also offer "extended" tours and visit a couple of different snorkel sites. On average, you should allow a minimum of 3 hours for a one-site snorkel tour.

Each snorkel tour begins with a briefing conducted by the crew who will make sure everyone has his/her proper snorkel equipment and provide with snorkeling tips such as clearing your mask, swimming with your fins, as well as instructions for entering and exiting the water.

Briefing at beginning of snorkeling tour

As this is a protected area, the crew will also remind you that you are not allowed to touch or take anything from the water, and much less stand on the reef, which believe it or not, we have seen many do, please don't be one of them!

They will also cover some aspects of the reef and the marine life you are likely to encounter.

Snorkel Tips and How To Choose a Snorkel Boat Tour Operator?

Snorkel Gear

Some operators provide all the necessary gear, some charge an additional rental fee, so if you are not bringing your own be sure to check what's included in the price.

Besides mask, fins and snorkel, safety vests are provided (and required in the water) by the snorkel tour operators.

Personally, I have always thought it is worth buying your own mask and snorkel, and now in the times of Covid-19, it becomes even more important to have your own equipment. Beyond the health issues, there are some real advantages to having your own since you are getting something that fits well and that you can become familiar and comfortable with. You can buy a set from Walmart or Target or online through Amazon.com from cheaper than you can rent two times.

Snorkel Boats and Scuba Boats

Some operators conduct snorkel and dive charters together, if at all possible, if you are a snorkeler, try to go on a "snorkel only" boat, if you are a diver, you should get on a "divers only" boat. Most boats that cater to both groups, end up with waters that are either too shallow for divers or too deep for snorkelers.

Snorkeling with Children

If you are snorkeling with small children that might get tired, stop by the Walmart or Publix and get one of those floating sausages to use for support and rest. It's a well invested couple of dollars!

Snorkeling with kids: get a floating sausage for support

Most shops and operators are well-assorted and will have children masks, fins and vests available but be sure to ask in advance if you are not bringing your own.

Reviews

Snorkel and Dive operators open, close and change ownership and management with regularity in the Florida Keys. It is a good idea to check the latest reviews rather than the overall rating from fellow travelers when considering your choice of snorkel tour.

We provide you with links on the table below so you can check people's experience with a particular outfit.

What to Bring?

  • Sun protection
  • Bathing suit
  • Towel
  • Dry change of clothes
  • Drinking water
  • Waterproof camera
  • Your own Snorkel gear if you have it

Snorkeling Tour Operators around Miami

A starting point for a snorkel outing could be one of our popular State or National Parks which are worth a visit on their own right: Biscayne National Park and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park are top choices.

Snorkeling at Biscayne National Park

Over 95% of Biscayne National Park is in the waters of Biscayne Bay, so naturally, snorkeling at the Park is quite popular. It is just amazing that so much color and life can exist so close to a mega city like Miami, the park is only a half-hour away from the hustle and bustle, practically next-door.

Beautiful Coral Reefs at Biscayne National Park

Snorkeling in Biscayne National Park is spectacular with crystal clear waters, colorful and healthy coral reefs brimming with marine life, and shipwrecks that lie in relatively shallow water.

The Park's Concessioner provides year-round daily snorkel tours to the reefs. The boats leave from the jetty at the visitor center.

Snorkeling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Pennekamp is one of our favorite parks to chill for a day. It is about one hour south of Miami in Key largo, practically at the entrance of the Florida Keys. Not only is the snorkeling and scuba diving fantastic, the park has much to offer to nature and outdoor lovers. There is canoeing, kayaking, glass-bottom cruises, excellent facilities and a fantastic visitor center including a massive 30,000 gallon saltwater aquarium.

Colorful corals and fish at John Pennekamp Park

The park's main concession shop runs Snorkel boat tours several times per day. The facilities, boats, and rental equipment are top notch.

There are also three small beaches at the park where you can certainly snorkel from shore, but the snorkeling is dull when compared to the reefs. For first timers, it is a great option to have to try out your snorkel gear, fit your mask and practice a bit before jumping from the boat.

Snorkeling at the nearby Florida Keys

Other popular options are a short drive away in the Florida Keys. Key Largo, the closest to Miami, is dubbed the "Diving Capital of the World" and that goes also for snorkeling. As soon as you drive over the bridge, there will be snorkel and dive charters galore beckoning with snorkel trips departing throughout the day.

Snorkeling Shops in Key Largo

Here's a table of snorkeling tour boats around Miami and we have tried to sort out the basic considerations, is it a snorkel-only boat? is gear included or extra? are tours guided? and other info particular to the operator. Although not at all comprehensive (we're still working on it) it can get you started!

Miami Snorkeling
Boat Tours To The Coral Reefs

Operator Description Times * Cost Rating/
Reviews**

* Times subject to seasonal changes, please check with operator
** Ratings and Reviews provided by TripAdvisor visitors

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

102601 Overseas Highway, Mile Marker 102.5 Oceanside, Key Largo
+1 305-451-6300

2 1/2-hour and extended 4-hour tours available. Wheelchair accesible. Guided, Group and Private charters also offered.
Snorkel gear not included, rentals as follows: mask $2, fins $2, snorkel $5 (you keep)

9:00 am
10:30 am
12:00 pm
1:30 pm
3:00 pm
4:30pm

Under 18 $24.95
Adult $29.95
2-location $38.95
Plus Park Entrance

4.5-star rating
Reviews

Biscayne National Park

9700 SW 328th Street, Homestead FL 33033
+1 305-230-7275

Reef, Wreck or Bay Snorkeling depending on the weather, 20 passenger powerboat, Ages 8+

9:30 am
1:40 pm

$59, Shipwreck Snorkel on select days $69

4-star rating
Reviews

Keys Diver Snorkel & Scuba

99696 Overseas Highway, Mile Marker 100 Bayside, Key Largo
+1 305-451-1177

Snorkel Boat Tour includes snorkel gear. Offers snorkeler-only tours.
Regularly scheduled tours to Christ Statue.

9:00 am, 10:00 am,
12:15 pm,
2:00 pm,
5:15 pm (summer only)

$29.95 - $39.95

4.5-star rating
Reviews

Sundiver Snorkeling Tours

102840 Overseas Hwy, Mile Marker 102 Bayside, Key Largo
+1 305-451 2220

Snorkel-only boats offer over a dozen sites with reefs that average only 6-12 feet in depth. Includes snorkel gear except snorkel (buy at shop $10). It has a well-assorted shop with everything from snorkel gear, swimwear, sandals, t-shirts, hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, towels, souvenirs...

9:00 am
12 noon, 3:00 pm

Children under 12 $35, Riders $30
Adults $45
Private Charters available

4-star rating
Reviews

Sail Fish Scuba

103100 Overseas Highway, Mile Marker 103 Bayside, Key Largo
+1 305-453-3446

These are guided snorkel tours, i.e. a guide for each 6 snorkelers gets in the water to lead you around. First time? FREE classroom lesson before your tour. Includes snorkel gear, in-water photo guide and disc of the days photos.

8:30 am
1:00 pm (except Sundays)
Closed on Mondays

$89 2-location snorkel trip

5-star rating
Reviews

Are There Any Good Spots To Snorkel From The Beach Around Miami

While not spectacular, and as long as you are not expecting colorful corals and tropical fish in abundance which you find at the reefs, there is still plenty to see while snorkeling from the beaches in Miami.

Here are some of our favorite spots to snorkel from shore around Miami.

The Florida Keys Have Reopened! Get In The Water!

Book with confidence! Free cancellation: Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund

Booking.com

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