Swimming on soothing water and marveling at amazing sea creatures, ahh, there’s nothing like snorkeling. The United States has no shortage of the best places to snorkel, especially since more than 70 percent of the world is ocean.
Most spots cater to beginners, so they won’t have a valid reason why they can’t explore the creatures that thrive underwater. From mingling with dolphins to admiring colorful schools of different species of fish, these 10 snorkeling destinations promise to give sea lovers the experiences of a lifetime.
10 Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, Georgia
Swimming with sharks? In an aquarium? Yes, and great is the word to describe this once-in-a-lifetime experience! The Georgia Aquarium allows intrepid souls to get up close and personal with the wonders of the sea, like whale sharks and manta rays.
The activity takes place in the presence of three professional marine biologists, so snorkelers, even beginners, need not worry about their safety. Family members, friends and other guests look through a display window.
This is a great destination for anyone who can’t access the beach or wants to snorkel during the off-peak season, such as winter.
9 La Jolla, California
Part of San Diego is known for its amazing marine life, and there’s no better way to marvel at the sea creatures than snorkeling in La Jolla Cove. There are plenty of charming sea lions to be seen on shore, but diving below the surface allows snorkelers to catch a glimpse of various species of fish. They include shovel nose guitar fish, octopus, sea turtles, leopard sharks, and dolphins.
La Jolla Cove is best visited between June and September for the best snorkeling experience.
8 Anacapa Island, California
Hands down another interesting snorkeling destination in the United States. Although it is famous for its surfing, there are also great diving and snorkelling sites with clear waters for excellent visibility.
Snorkeling adventures happen before tourists get wet. They see common dolphins and other sea creatures as they cross the Santa Barbara channel. Although the island is remote, there are plenty of starfish, orange Garibaldi, perch, and spiny sea urchins in the tide pools.
7 Navarre Beach, Florida
Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico and Santa Rosa Reef off Navarre Beach have artificial reefs offshore. These coastal reefs make it easier for snorkelers of all experience levels to see marine life by traveling just a few feet offshore. Amongst the incredible sea where they can be seen are turtles, stingrays, butterflyfish and humpback whales.
The visibility of the reef is between 5 and 20 feet depending on the weather, but the flag warning system makes it easy for people to know when it is safe to snorkel in the area.
6 Cinnamon Bay, Virgin Islands
Cinnamon Bay is famous for its white sandy beaches, towering palm trees, and ultimate snorkeling sites. Cinnamon Bay has the best snorkeling sites offshore along the bay. They have amazing coral structures and colorful Caribbean fish like giant barracuda, scorpion fish and four-eyed butterfly fish.
The eastern side of the reef beach is a large plateau full of marine life and the wreckage of a crashed plane. Swimmers snorkelers advanced on the far side of the rock with deeper waters and stronger winds.
5 Dry Tortugas, Florida Keys
The Dry Tortugas are spectacular with colorful reefs, tropical fish, and the South Coal Dock Ruins, where snorkelers can explore.
The coral reef for snorkeling is about 75m to the west of the moat, which is directly accessible from the white sandy beach. There is a huge collection of beautiful corals, seaweeds, and various marine life such as starfish and king crabs.
The shallow waters are 1.5 to 3 meters deep and have patches of healthy reef accessible to novice and advanced snorkelers.
4 Block Island, Rhode Island
Block Island’s Surf Beach is the ideal snorkeling spot with rock formations and breakwaters where small crabs, starfish and clams can be seen. The shallow waters of the beach make it a beautiful place for children to explore and have fun.
The access points to the beach are The Surf Hotel and a path in the town center that leads directly to the beach. Snorkelers without equipment can rent them from the nearby Surf Hotel.
3 Bahia Honda State Park, Florida
Beginners looking for an incredible snorkeling spot to learn the basics will love Bahia Honda State Park. It may not be the best choice for experienced snorkelers since there is not much coral to see, but it gives beginners an idea of how exciting snorkeling can be. From the shore, tourists can see a few fish and immature sea grass.
Those looking for a more adventurous experience can take a boat trip to Looe Key Reef. It is known for being home to larger species such as tarpon, Colossal Groupers, rays, and sharks.
2 Santa Catalina Island, California
Two Bays, Santa Catalina Island, has clear waters with visibility of 40 to 100 feet and water temperatures between 55 and 72 degrees, making it a top snorkeling spot in the United States.
You can access the waters from the calm sandy beaches or kayak your way to a sheltered bay to experience the excellent water of Santa Catalina. Snorkeling lessons, rentals, and guided tours are available at Two Harbors Diving and Recreation Center.
1 Kona, Hawaii
Kona has many volcanic bays, home to magnificent corals, small fish, and abundant marine life, such as reef manta rays, reef manta rays, dolphins, and turtles. One of the most memorable experiences in Kona is going on a magical manta ray night snorkel in Manta Village.
The mantas in this bay are available all year round as they do not migrate. Snorkelers hold onto the rafts as they peer underwater to see the gentle giants feast on plankton. The snorkeling trips at Keauhou Bay take place at dusk and last approximately 1.5 hours.