Discovering Florida’s Underwater World: Top Destinations For Scuba Diving And Snorkeling

Florida, known for its warm climate and beautiful beaches, is also home to some of the most stunning underwater environments in the world. Scuba divers and snorkelers flock to this southern state to explore the vibrant coral reefs, diverse marine life, and historic shipwrecks. Here are some of Florida’s top destinations for scuba diving and snorkeling.

Key Largo

Key Largo, in the Florida Keys, is the self-proclaimed "Diving Capital of the World." With its close proximity to the Gulf Stream and the Florida Current, the waters here are warm and clear, providing ideal conditions for diving and snorkeling. The John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a popular spot for exploring the coral reefs, which are home to a variety of marine life such as sea turtles, stingrays, and colorful fish. For those interested in wreck diving, the USS Spiegel Grove, a retired Navy ship, was intentionally sunk off the coast of Key Largo to create an artificial reef and is now a popular dive site in the area.

West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida, but it also has some great dive sites. The area is home to a variety of artificial reefs, as well as natural reef formations. Peanut Island, located just off the coast of West Palm Beach, is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving because of its clear waters and abundance of marine life. Divers can also explore the MV Castor, a freighter intentionally sunk in 1986 to create an artificial reef.


Jupiter, located north of West Palm Beach, is another popular destination for diving and snorkeling. The area is home to some of the state’s most pristine coral reefs, as well as a variety of marine life, including sea turtles, eels, and octopuses. The "Jupiter Wreck Trek" is a popular diving route that takes divers past several shipwrecks, including the USS Rankin, a destroyer escort that was sunk in 1986.


Destin, located on Florida’s Panhandle, may not be as well-known for its diving and snorkeling as some of the other destinations on this list, but it boasts some of the clearest waters in the state. With visibility of up to 100 feet, divers can explore a variety of natural and artificial reefs, as well as several sunken ships. The underwater museum of art is also a unique feature of the area, where several sculptures have been installed as part of an artificial reef system.

Crystal River

Crystal River, located on the west coast of Florida, is a popular spot for snorkeling with manatees. From mid-November to mid-March, hundreds of manatees migrate to the warm waters of the Crystal River, providing a unique opportunity for visitors to swim alongside these gentle giants. Snorkelers can observe the manatees in their natural habitat, but are cautioned not to touch or disturb them.

Tips for Diving and Snorkeling in Florida

Before venturing out to explore Florida’s underwater world, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  • Always check the weather conditions before diving or snorkeling.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid contact with marine life.
  • Stay hydrated and protected from the sun.
  • Follow all rules and regulations, including those for fishing and diving equipment.

With its warm waters, coral reefs, and abundance of marine life, Florida offers some of the best diving and snorkeling opportunities in the world. Whether you’re a certified diver or a beginner snorkeler, there’s something for every underwater enthusiast in Florida’s coastal waters.

Scroll to Top