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Dive in and Explore the Underwater Wonders - The Best Places to Snorkel

Tropical Reefs, Freshwater Springs & Kelp Forests

Snorkeling is a great way to enjoy the beautiful creatures that live in the sea. Throughout the country there are some great spots to enjoy coral reefs, tropical and non-tropical fish and much more. Here are a few of the best snorkeling destinations in the country.

California Snorkeling

Aliso Beach Park, Laguna Beach
This is a fairly secluded spot and the very best snorkeling spots can be difficult to reach. With a  natural reef just offshore and calm conditions, snorkelers will find plenty to see. Aliso Beach Park is also a good spot to enjoy night diving. One creature to keep an eye out for are the plentiful lobsters during lobster season.

Lover's Cove, Catalina Island
Lover's Cove is the most popular snorkeling spot off of Catalina Island. Snorkelers will find a kelp forest, a rock reef and lots of sea life, including eels, octopus and even an occasional orange Garibaldi fish. The colder waters of this snorkeling spot when compared to Florida or Hawaii offer a much different variety of sea life than in the warmer tropical areas.

Florida Snorkeling

Biscayne National Park, Homestead
This National Park has some amazing features that snorkelers will enjoy. Visitors to the park can take a boat trip, enjoy swimming and of course take advantage of the beautiful snorkeling options. Biscayne National Park has shallow living reefs, which are home of many tropical fish, different types of reef vegetation and more.

Crystal River
Crystal River is best known for the West Indian Manatees that call the estuary home. This habitat is fairly rare, with an estuary fed by warm freshwater springs. The warm waters make this a great year-round destination. Visitors can enjoy learning about manatees from the guides, as well as taking the unique opportunity to swim with the friendly manatees.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo
Located in the Florida Keys, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is an underwater park. Visitors can take boat trips to different destinations throughout the park. There are areas in the park that are great for snorkeling, while others are great for scuba diving. Snorkelers can take guided snorkeling tours of the park, in which they can learn all about the reef and sea life living in the park. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is one of the great snorkeling destinations in the Florida Keys.

Pompano Beach, Florida
The good condition of the reef at Pompano Beach makes it a have for sea life. The reef is located about 100 yards off shore and for the more adventurous there are artificial reefs located farther offshore. Snorkelers will love the clear waters, and all of the different types of fish and marine life, including nurse sharks and sea turtles.

Hawaii Snorkeling

Hanauma Bay, Oahu
This bay is actually a volcanic caldera, which protects snorkelers and other visitors from the ocean waves. Hanauma Bay offers snorkelers a shallow reef with clear water, making for great visibility. Hawaii is a great destination to see some unique marine life, only found on the islands.

Papalaua Wayside Park, Maui
Snorkelers will find Papalaua Wayside Park off of the Honoapiilani Highway. This area is known for its beautiful sunsets and excellent snorkeling. The Coral Gardens part of the park has the best snorkeling. Visitors will see many amazing colorful fish, possibly including the Hawaiian triggerfish, humuhumunukunukuapuaa.

Place of Refuge, Hawaii
The Place of Refuge is one of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the entire country. It has beautiful reefs that are home to lots of Hawaiian marine life. Snorkelers can access the water from a convenient lava ledge. Visitors should keep their eyes open for dolphins, rays, and even sea turtles.

Wailea Beach, Hawaii
This is another excellent Hawaiian beach and snorkeling destination. It has calm and clear waters. Although snorkelers will have to take a hike to get down to the beach, the snorkeling is worth it. This beach is has a wonderful coral reef, which lots of colorful fish call home. Some of the sea life snorkelers might see include octopus, sea turtles and much more.
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