Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take an exotic trip overseas to experience the natural beauty found underneath the water’s surface of many U.S. sites. Armed with a snorkel, mask, and flippers, you can explore almost any place where the water is clear enough to see aquatic life. The best snorkeling destinations offer undersea marvels with pristine visibility. Explore our favorite places to snorkel in the United States:
Key Largo, FL
The Florida Keys are famous for their live coral reef and pristine waters. However, Key Largo’s pristine waters are a particularly popular attraction for snorkeling enthusiasts. Snorkel or dive the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary including Pennekamp, Christ Of The Abyss, Molasses and other spectacular coral reefs teeming with marine life. Water visibility is extraordinary here and dive masters are available for guided tours. Most noteworthy, you’ll have the opportunity to see abundant fish and beautiful underwater habitats.
Block Island, Rhode Island
This quiet and stunningly beautiful island situated between Montauk and Martha’s Vineyard has blissful beaches and water clear enough for snorkeling. Also, the warm Gulf Stream often brings tropical fish close to shore in this area. Therefore, making it perfect for possible sightings of colorful fish. Water temperatures vary by season. But most noteworthy is the summer months. Summer provides an ideal opportunity to submerge into the waters that surround this world-renowned island.
Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii
Hanauma Bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Hawaii, welcoming an average of 3,000 visitors every day. This destination is the most famous of all Hawaii’s snorkeling beaches. This particular beach is most popular because of its high fish population, calm, shallow water, and white sand. In addition, the sheltered bay on the southeast shore of Oahu is also home to a large population of coral. Also, it has long been a favorite spot for tourists and locals alike.
Santa Catalina Island, California
Santa Catalina Island is roughly 26 miles off the coast of Long Beach, California. The island offers some of the best snorkeling in the world. Rent snorkeling gear and then head out off the beach or in a kayak and find one of the abundant kelp forests to witness the wonders of Catalina’s underwater world. You can also enter the water right off Two Harbors’ calm, sandy beaches, or paddle a specially designed diving kayak to a secluded cove.
Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring is a privately owned scuba diving training center that offers snorkeling 7 days a week. The underground spring inside a dry cave has been home to many extinct animal fossils dating back to the Pleistocene Age, which are on display at The University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History. On cold winter mornings, you can see steam, like smoke, rising from the chimney opening. Thus, the early settlers gave the name Devil’s Den. With crystal clear water and year-round72-degreee water temperatures, this snorkel spot is a must-visit.
Molokini Crater, Hawaii
Located in Alalakeiki Channel, just three miles off the coast of Maui in Hawaii, Molokini is a crescent-shaped and half-submerged volcanic crater islet. Its crescent shape protects from big waves and currents, making it ideal for a relaxing snorkel experience. Visibility usually exceeds 100 feet, and the water stays clear because the crater was named a Marine Life Conservation District in 1977.
What’s your favorite snorkeling spot? We would love to hear from you! Share your favorite U.S. snorkel locations in the comment section below.