Are you looking for the best places to snorkel in the US? It is no surprise that there are beautiful snorkeling locations in Hawaii, but did you know that the United State’s island state isn’t the only magnificent place to try snorkeling?
If you want to get a new experience under the water, but you’re not yet ready to become a world traveler, don’t worry! There are loads of places in the U.S. that you can get that experience.
Best Places to Snorkel in the US
This article will aim to introduce the best places to snorkel in the US. Each of these locations has a special something that makes it worth the trip, and they’re all unlike any other location that you can find around the world. Let’s get started!
1. Crystal River, Florida
Florida is known for being home to a lot of different types of wild and marine life, and Crystal River is an especially amazing spot because of the creatures that they are home to.
The great manatee can be found in Crystal River National Wildlife Refugee. In fact, it is home to the highest concentration of manatees in the state, and that is why this is one of the best sites to snorkel in the US.
The manatee is a known gentle giant, and you are able to snorkel right alongside them when you snorkel at Crystal River. In addition to seeing these big herbivores, you can also experience the various freshwater springs that bubble out into Crystal River. All in all, you will have an amazing and memorable experience!
2. Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
It shouldn’t be any surprise that some Hawaii locations are going to make this list of the best places to snorkel in the US. The first location that we think is truly spectacular is Lahaina.
At Kapalua Beach in Lahaina, you can easily snorkel and swim in the same location. Rather than needing to rent a boat to get to the best snorkeling spots, you can simply get in the water and head out to the reef that runs parallel to the shore. Here, you’ll be able to witness sea turtles, rainbow fish, and eels.
If you want to see even bigger wildlife, there are combination tours that allow you to go snorkeling and whale watching for humpback whales on the same journey! In deeper waters, seeing these big creatures is a very big possibility.
3. Catalina Island, California
California is also home to a number of great snorkeling locations, and Catalina Island is probably one of the top ones. This island is located 22 miles from Los Angeles, and it is known for its crystal clear water.
The beautiful waters of this area make it a superb snorkeling location, and there are giant kelp forests for you to explore just below the surface.
Many snorkelers that come to Catalina Island decide to rent a kayak, paddle to a cove nearby, and then do their snorkeling. You can, of course, also go snorkeling directly from the beach or by renting a boat to take you out a bit farther.
4. Hatteras Island, North Carolina
While seemingly tropical locations like California, Florida, and of course, Hawaii seem like the only places to snorkel in the US, that is far from true! North Carolina is home to a snorkeling location that is great for parents who want to give their children a chance to experience the wonder of snorkeling.
At Hatteras Island, there is very calm and shallow water for you to explore, and that is why it is such a great location for kids to snorkel at. In particular, snorkeling at Pamlico Sound is a great choice. There are lots of fish here for kids to look at, and it’s even possible to explore some shipwrecks that are common in the Outer Banks region!
If you want to make a complete adventure of the day, consider heading out on an all-inclusive tour for snorkeling, swimming, and clamming—three of the most popular activities at Hatteras Island!
5. The Florida Keys
The Florida Keys—a huge collection of islands—are full of marvelous and memorable snorkeling locations. In fact, many snorkelers will make an entire vacation of visiting some of the best sports to snorkel along the keys, and there is no shortage of places to choose from.
At Key Largo, we recommend seeing White Banks Dry Rocks Reef, which is home to over 600 different species of fish and an amazing view of what is fondly known as “Molasses Reef.”
In Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park is the best spot for beginners or those who are looking for a relaxing day of snorkeling. The water varies from about five to 15 feet deep in this popular location, and you’ll be able to see a variety of colorful reef and fish very easily.
6. Gulf Islands National Seashore
The Gulf Islands National Seashore covers the entire area from Florida over to Mississippi. As you explore this entire region, you’ll find great swimming, boating, and other outdoor adventure activities readily available.
And, of course, one of those adventures is snorkeling! To get the best snorkeling experience in this region, you should visit Perdido Key or Pensacola beach, which are areas where the temperatures and easy access to reefs make them ideal locations for snorkeling. You will likely need to rent a boat, but it is well worth the effort!
The US: A Snorkeling Haven
The U.S.A is full of a huge variety of different environments. Thanks to areas like California, Florida, and Hawaii, it is also full of amazing snorkeling locations. While the best places to snorkel in the US are usually in these regions, there is also great snorkeling to be experienced in North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and more!
For those who want to take a completely snorkeling-focused vacation, however, we recommend visiting either the Florida Keys or one of the Hawaiian islands. In both of these locations, you can easily find enough snorkeling locations to fill up an entire vacation schedule! Plus, every location that you visit will be burned into your memory forever.
Regardless of which coast you visit, there is a chance that you will be able to find snorkeling spots, so don’t be afraid to ask around and see what you can discover from the locals at every beach town!