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Best Places to Snorkel in the United States

by Mary Melnick

Dec 30, 2020

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park © Luke Popwell | Dreamstime.com

Trends / Adventure

While traveling to exotic and tropical locales offers plenty of adventurous activities, one on your list should be snorkeling. You don’t have to travel far for incredible snorkel spots — there are plenty of U.S. sites boasting clear blue waters filled with beautiful, colorful fish.


Catalina Island, California
Located 22 miles from Los Angeles, Catalina Island offers clear, clean blue waters boasting stunning views of giant kelp forests waving just beneath the surface. Travelers can start their snorkeling adventures on the beach or take a kayak to a quiet cove.


John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Venture off the coast of Key Largo, covering 70 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean, to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first designated underwater park. The park is known for its marine sanctuaries and Molasses Reef where you can see plenty of colorful fish and unique reefs. Another notable feature is “Christ of Abyss,” a 4,000-pound statue of Jesus submerged by the Dry Rocks.


Dry Tortugas, Florida Keys
One of the southernmost points in the country, Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys is a prime snorkeling destination. Only accessible by ferry, it has the distinction of being one of the most secluded national parks in the United States. Less than 1 percent of the Dry Tortugas is actually above water, so snorkelers will have a bunch of underwater treasures to explore.


Pāpalaua Wayside Park, Hawai’i
Although the state of Hawai’i offers plenty of snorkeling hot spots, there is something about Pāpalaua Wayside Park that makes it stand out from the rest — whales! While snorkeling through the clear blue waters, expect to see sea turtles, colorful fish and maybe even a whale.


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