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Best Places to Snorkel Near Clearwater Florida

Snorkeling in Clearwater, Florida, is a popular pastime enjoyed by those native to the area and attracts thousands of tourists who visit every year. The variety of underwater wildlife that can be seen within Florida’s waters is unlike any other snorkeling experience worldwide. However, there is much discussion about where the best place to visit is to see marine life ranging from gorgeous coral to the famous dolphins.

Deciding on the best place to snorkel in and around Clearwater, Florida totally depends on the type of snorkeling you wish to take part in. If you are more experienced, somewhere like Egmont Key, with miles of wildlife-rich waters, would be an excellent opportunity to observe some unique creatures. Suppose you are looking to snorkel with family, particularly children. In that case, it may be more suitable to stick to some of the more shallow, lifeguard-protected beaches so you can have some fun with peace of mind for you and your family’s safety. There are some pretty incredible locations close to Clearwater, Florida, meaning there is little need to travel long distances to fulfill a snorkeling experience. Florida is also well known for scuba diving with Manatees.


With so many great snorkeling locations available, it can be hard to choose which is the best one for you. Research before you travel, is always an excellent way to ensure you have the best experience and look for a place with the marine life you want to see.


There are also a variety of snorkeling businesses around the coast that can help you find the best snorkeling area and increase your chances of seeing some fantastic creatures, and this is also very useful for those of you who don’t have and don’t want to buy your own snorkeling equipment as you can rent it for a fee at one of these locations.


Things you should know before Snorkel in Clearwater, Florida

The Florida Keys are a beautiful place to visit in the United States. They’re sunny, warm, and very welcoming. However, there are some things you should know before snorkeling in Clearwater, Florida. Snorkeling is phenomenal – but there are some risks that come with it.

Snorkeling is the perfect activity if you’re looking for a fun and active way to spend a day in Clearwater, Florida. There’s no shortage of spots to explore – with over 250 miles of coastline and plenty of underwater wildlife waiting to be discovered. But before jumping in the water, read this list to ensure you’re prepared for your underwater adventure!


Is there good snorkeling in Clearwater, FL?

Clearwater, FL, is a great place to snorkel. The water is clear, and there is plenty of fish to see. There are also several reefs to explore. To make the most of your snorkeling experience, be sure to bring a map of the area so you can find the best spots. You should also wear sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. If you’re new to snorkeling, there are plenty of places to rent gear and take lessons.


What is Clearwater Florida known for?

Clearwater is known for many different things, but we are interested to know about things related to snorkeling, right? 

First, the area is home to a variety of fish, including sharks, stingrays, and barracudas. There have also been many reports of manatees and dolphins in the area. Second, you should be aware of the possibility of encountering jellyfish. These creatures can deliver a painful sting, so it’s important to be prepared. Finally, remember that snorkeling is an activity that takes place in water, so you should take care to avoid any hazardous areas.

So, to sum it up, when it comes to snorkeling, Clearwater, Florida, is well known for Dolphins, Manatees, and Sharks.


Can you snorkel at Clearwater Beach, Florida?

People often ask if they can snorkel at Clearwater Beach, Florida. The answer is yes! Clearwater Beach is home to many different kinds of fish and other marine life. You can see them by renting a snorkel and mask from a local shop. Once you’re in the water, be sure to stay close to the shoreline, so you don’t get lost.


When is the best time to snorkel in Clearwater?

Clearwater is best from May to October when the water temperature is above 26°C (79°F). If you want to dive in colder waters below, on average, 24°C (75°F), you could go snorkeling in a wetsuit in April and November.

Avoid snorkeling from December through March, when the cold waters in the Gulf of Mexico make it less pleasurable. The water temperatures can be as low as 17°C (62.8°F) in January and rise to just 19.5°C (67.1°F) by March.


Where is the best beach to snorkel in Florida?

I have made a list of 5 best places to snorkel near Clearwater, and in my opinion, the best beach to snorkel near Clearwater, Florida, is Honeymoon Island. This place has been left virtually untouched by man, and the water is clear and shallow and home to a whole host of aquatic wildlife. 


Best Places to Snorkel Near Clearwater, Florida


Egmont Key

If you are someone who enjoys a more private location while snorkeling, then Egmont Key may be the place for you; offering calm and clear water filled with a large amount of aquatic wildlife, this state park isn’t one to miss if you are looking for a prime snorkeling location. The great thing about Egmont Key is that it also has a lot of history and is an excellent place for snorkeling. As a result of the Spanish- American war, Egmont Key is home to the remains of military forts, some of which are submerged in the water, increasing the area’s wildlife. With a unique combination of history and marine life, snorkeling at this location is unlike anywhere else in the world.

Some things to consider before snorkeling at Egmont Key would be that a third of the area, southwest of the ruins, is a protected shorebird refuge; this area is inaccessible to the public, so you would have to be careful you don’t stray from the main shore. Because of the Egmont key’s restrictions, getting to the part of the Western Shore that is open to the public may require a significant swim. Hiring or bringing flotation devices like a kayak or life vest would be advisable to make the otherwise tiring swim much easier and safer.

In terms of the wildlife you can expect to see at Egmont Key, sea turtles are known to nest on the shore, and various land turtles. The historic ruins provide a home for a whole range of aquatic life, as well as the thick beds of seagrass that harbors anything from sea crabs to its more well-known grouper ( a commonly found fish in this area). Overall, Egmont Key is an excellent location for snorkeling; it is rich in wildlife and has a fascinating history behind it, making it a crucial addition to any avid snorkeler’s itinerary.

Caladesi Island

Caladesi Island is another excellent location for snorkeling. With three miles of beaches and clear shallow waters, this island makes for a great day out and provides an excellent snorkeling opportunity. Caladesi Island is another state park that has on-duty lifeguards from the memorial to labor day; with lifeguard protection, Caladesi is great for families as you have peace of mind for your safety. Situated to the north of Clearwater, you may have to pay to access the island either by private boat or ferry. Alternatively, the state park can also be accessed by walking 2.2 miles from clearwater beach south. Make sure to plan how you will be traveling to the island before your visit and if you would rather walk the journey, then pack yourself some water and snacks as the journey can be overwhelming, particularly on a hot day.

Although you will have to travel a significant amount, it is definitely worth it as the island contains a range of family-friendly amenities visiting Caladesi a great day out. Facilities on the island include picnic areas, a nature trail ( 3 miles), a concession stand, and award-winning beaches. In terms of snorkeling, the island’s waters are usually a comfortable temperature, perfect for long snorkeling sessions, the water is clear and shallow and home to a whole host of aquatic wildlife, including fish, coral, and maybe even dolphins, so make sure you get one of the best snorkel masks so you can enjoy the wildlife to its fullest.

Overall this location is exceptionally family-friendly, offering a unique and interesting snorkeling experience that, although more travel may be necessary for you to get there, is definitely worth the journey. Caladesi Island is much more than just an ideal snorkeling location as it has more facilities than some of the other options on this list. Unlike many snorkeling hotspots in Florida that can become extremely busy, especially in the hotter months, this location remains relatively quiet, meaning there is a level of privacy allowed. 

To enjoy your snorkeling session without thousands of other beach visitors disturbing the ocean life.

Honeymoon Island

Situated to the north of Clearwater, Honeymoon Island isn’t your typical snorkeling location; with a large white sand beach, this small island is home to some fantastic wildlife, including some gorgeous creatures native to the Florida area. Like many other state parks, there are facilities available on the beach, and there are a beach shop, food retailers, and showers, ensuring that all of your needs are met during your visit, and you can focus on taking in this spectacular environment.

Honeymoon island prides itself on its authenticity and is one of the few non-industrialized locations within the state; if you are someone looking for a secluded part of Florida that has been left virtually untouched by man, then Honeymoon Island may be the place for you. With such a natural atmosphere around this location, you can bet the snorkeling experience available here will be up to par; the clear, shallow waters along the coastline make snorkeling easy, and your chances of seeing some fantastic wildlife much more likely.

You can expect to see a wide range of creatures, including – turtles, and a range of fish species, and if you get the opportunity to venture out further, you may be lucky enough to spot some of Florida’s famous dolphins.

There is a cost to enter the island, but it is definitely worth it at under ten dollars per vehicle; seeing such a naturally beautiful environment within a short distance of the busy city is a surreal experience. In terms of snorkeling, the waters are suitable for all ages to have a go at this highly popular recreational activity. Even the shallow waters are rich in wildlife, and all of the family have a good chance of seeing something interesting in the waters. Snorkel equipment hire facilities are available on-site, so you don’t have to worry about bringing or purchasing your own equipment.

One of the main snorkeling attractions at Honeymoon Island would have to be the large reef in the northern area; its thick and deep crevices are extremely rich with wildlife. The large clusters of coral are home to a range of aquatic animals, some of which are rarely spotted in any other area. If you observe unique fish and other underwater wildlife, then Honeymoon island is definitely worth a visit.

Panama City Beach 

The Panama City Beach area has a range of snorkeling opportunities; depending on your skill level, you could either visit the beach yourself and snorkel in some of these locations’ most wildlife-rich areas or pay for a specialized tour. Whichever you choose, your chances of seeing some tremendous aquatic life are very high if you decide to visit. Situated a few miles out of Florida, it would be ideal if you could reserve some time to spend the day in this location to get the most out of your journey. Unlike some locations on this list, Panama city beach is a very snorkeling-oriented area. Many snorkeling hire businesses are available where you can hire and buy equipment and take off on snorkeling tours hosted by experts in the field.

One of the best places for snorkeling near Panama City beach would have to be Shell island. With seven miles of untouched beaches and ocean, the natural life present has been allowed to flourish both on land and sea with little to no interference by man. To get to shell island, it would be advisable to arrange transport before your visit, and there is a daily shuttle that goes to and from the island regularly throughout the day.

Once you arrive, you will see the island is split into different areas, with a smaller shallow area perfect for children or beginners in snorkeling. If you are more experienced, there is the opportunity to venture further past the shallow area and towards the vast waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where you will more than likely see a whole host of tropical fish, stingrays, crabs, and other marine life, if you wish to venture into the deeper areas it is essential to consider your safety so either ensure you stick to the lifeguard protected zones or go on one of the many official tours that are available.

This not only shows your support for the small businesses in the area but ensures you can be safe while observing some of the most beautiful creatures to be seen in the Clearwater, Florida, area. The fact that this location strives to remain as natural as possible when it comes to snorkeling really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; seeing the aquatic wildlife within their natural habitat is quite a unique experience and offers respite from the industrialized world we are all used to.



Overall, snorkeling near Clearwater, Florida, is an experience not to be missed. Florida is famed for the aquatic wildlife found in its waters, and the activity is one that whole families of all ages can enjoy.  With various locations offering different aspects of snorkeling and different wildlife, it would be advisable to do some research before your visit.

There are some essential things to consider, such as who you are with, as small children would be better suited and safer in an area that has both shallow and deeper glasses of water, the kind of creatures you wish to see as each location is home to a variety of different wildlife and your experience level can impact whether you choose to snorkel alone or pay for a tour that can take you further out and increase your chances of seeing some unique creatures.

No matter how you decide to do it, snorkeling in Florida is a great experience and provides a rare opportunity to observe the aquatic world’s natural creatures and be home to some of the best, family-friendly beaches in America.