Most visitors to Miami don’t have snorkeling at the top of their activity list, but the ones that do are in for a pleasant surprise. Just offshore South Beach’s sandy white beaches lies the third largest barrier reef in the world; The Florida Straights. The 220 mile reef is North America’s only barrier reef and is protected by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s National Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary Program. Snorkeling in Miami is a great way to explore coral reefs and marine life not otherwise seen in the continental United States.
Snorkeling in Miami does not even require heading out on a boat like many locations worldwide often do. If you would like to get in some snorkeling while your friends and family have a day at the same beach, head out to South Pointe Park and Government Cut. The Jose Cuervo reef, reaches a depth of about 15 feet and is a great location to see local marine life and snorkel at the artificial reef. The reef was created in 2000 by Jose Cuervo to promote beach snorkeling near South Beach.
Biscayne National Park
Snorkeling in Miami would not be complete without a visit to Biscayne National Park. Here you will be able to snorkel reefs such as Emerald Reef and Half Moon. Half Moon is an underwater Archaeological Preserve which features a 360-ton ship that sunk offshore, providing great wreck snorkeling for anyone who is interested in maritime style snorkeling. Located at Key Biscayne in Crandon Park, Eco Adventures offers a very unique sea kayak and snorkel experience. Accompanied by a guide, you will kayak along the Bear Cut Preserve and snorkel through the mangroves and reef in the area.
Located in the Miami Beach Marina, snorkeling via the Tarpoon Lagoon Diving Center can also offer a unique experience while snorkeling in Miami. After boarding their snorkel boat, you will check out some of the best reefs that South Florida has to offer. These spots include but are not limited to Rainbow Reef, Emerad Reef, and the aforementioned Half Moon Underwater Archaeological Preserve. The tours last roughly around four hours and run Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and cost $60 a person. This a great value for any snorkeler no matter their experience.
As with snorkeling anywhere, it’s important to remember that conditions will often influence your snorkeling experience, but snorkeling in Miami provides incredible snorkeling memories without even leaving the continental United States.