Would you like to go snorkeling in Clearwater Florida? Well many people have conflicting views about this place. Some say there is nothing worth your time there, while others say it is their favorite destination. However, Clearwater Beach is good for family snorkeling because it has shallow and clear waters. This I feel makes it a family oriented snorkeling destination.
The waters of the Atlantic Ocean in these parts are usually calm and warm. Located less than 30 minutes drive west of Tampa, you should visit this place any summer, fall or spring and have yourselves some fun snorkeling as a family.
Just forget the naysayers. Get your snorkeling gear ready. Are your full-face snorkeling masks ready? And your snorkeling bag? It is time to go to Florida and have the fun of your life. There are some awesome scuba diving spots too, so you had better take your scuba tanks along.
Snorkel in Clearwater Florida
Honeymoon Island can be easily reached by taking Dunedin Causeway, which is a few miles north of Clearwater. The causeway has scenic views of St. Joseph Sound and has free parking all along.
It gives the feeling of Remote Island in the Gulf middle. It has a snorkel area close to the beach, which is ideal for families. Even though this place attracts large crowds, you can still find nature, solitude and beauty in it.
It is a natural beach with very extensive area full of wildlife. Besides, there are first-rate public facilities here and so you should have yourselves a jolly good time.
Honeymoon Island is a 385-acre park with three beaches and 2.5 miles of hiking trails. Thus, remember to bring your hiking water shoes with you if you would love to hit the trails.
However, first, the three beaches are:
Main Beach is one of the best places to go snorkeling on Honeymoon Island. It is big and it has deep, fine-grained white sand found at the best of Gulf’s beaches. It has well serviced restrooms, big parking lots and a café. This is also one of the fat-tire bikes.
Many people say there is not much to see when you go snorkeling here, but that is not entirely true. Apart from having a go at the water, you may also want to relax and just laze on the beach. Thankfully, this is not too hard. Just bring your beach shelter.
Pet Beach – hike with dogs
On this beach, dogs on 6-foot leashes are usually welcomed. It faces hurricane pass, which is a good place for fishing but a dangerous location for swimming. Do make sure to wear your water shoes here so that you can protect your feet.
This beach is just a sand spit, which extends into the Gulf of Mexico. It is narrow and studded with rocks and seashells. The further you walk along the beach the more attractive the scenery becomes.
The beach is a stretch of three miles to the end. When you get to the end of the beach, you will be rewarded with a sight of incredible sand dunes, salt marshes and flat tide pools stretching out in every direction.
Honeymoon Island also has wildlife and hiking trails. A peninsula that extends into St. Joseph Sound is filled with wildlife and pinelands. The two trails with a distance of 2.5 miles curve through the area, which is home to ospreys and their nests.
With fat-tire bikes, you will also be able to have a great time riding on the island. You can hire these bikes for a small fee. When you hike, be ready to see armadillo and gopher tortoises.
On Honeymoon Island, the waters are clear, perfect for snorkeling. On the beach, there are food stands, shower stalls and many more facilities.
Caladesi Island – Snorkel with dolphins
It is an isolated beach, which is located off the coast of Clearwater beach and Dunedin. It was named the number one beach in America by Dr. Beach in 2008. Most people who visit Caladesi Island arrive via the Caladesi Island ferry or by boat.
Another better way to reach the island is to use stand up paddleboard or rent a kayak. This will enable you to explore the waterways that are full of wildlife.
The island attracts all sorts of birdlife, which include the ever-magnificent frigate birds, ospreys and pink roseate. You can spot live shells, stingrays and horseshoe crabs in the clear water. You are also likely to see dolphins.
People who have been in the Caladesi Island State Park say it is perfect for families with children. The waters are usually warm, calm and perfect for swimming.
If you are looking for a place that does not have crowds, where you can have a great time with your family, Caladesi Island is perfect for you.
Egmont Key Snorkeling
Egmont Key is a wildlife refuge and a state park, which offers a quiet and undeveloped alternative to Florida’s beach scenes, which are at times very crowded.
It is an island located off west central Florida in the Gulf of Mexico and just outside the mouth of Tampa Bay. The submerged ruins of the fort provide a refuge for sea life, which would be a sandy, featureless sea bottom around Egmont key.
To tell you the truth, Egmont Key is a picturesque place, as you will no doubt find when you get there. Palm trees dancing in the wind, fine white sand, lots of sun… you will love this place.
There are two things you can do when snorkeling at Egmont Key. One of the options is to take the ferry out of the state park and take your snorkeling kit with you.
This enables one to explore the island water independently. You have to bring your own provisions for food and water, as there are no restaurants available at the park.
Shore snorkeling is easy enough from the eastern beach of Egmont Key. However, there is a small problem reaching the ruins off the southwestern part of the island.
The distance from the ruins to the nearest part of the western shore, which is open to visitors is 300 yards. You would have to take a long challenging swim in open water. To make the trip to the ruins easier, it is good to plan and bring an inflatable raft, snorkel vest or a sea kayak.
Egmont Key is a nesting ground for turtles and while in the water, snorkelers may run into sea turtles. Land based gopher turtles also populate the island. Just note that any turtle on the land is more likely not a sea turtle.
City Beaches in Florida
Florida has a variety of beaches where families can go for snorkeling. These beaches include:
Panama City Beach Snorkeling
This is a resort city in Bay Florida. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world because of its unique sugar white sand beaches to the northwest of Florida. Panama City Beach is also a good snorkeling destination due to the abundance of clear water.
The conditions of the sea change every day and many snorkelers report seeing yellow and blue tangs, blue head wrasses and sergeant majors. With visibility of up to 20 feet, a lot of smaller hermit crabs, fish and other wildlife come close to the shore.
Your kids will have a great time here. Once you are done with snorkeling, you can explore the nature trails, or go bird watching.
Get your favorite snorkeling mask on and hit the water. You will love it!
Jupiter Beach Snorkeling
It is a tropical destination and kid-friendly along the largest stretch of secluded coastline. For families seeking non-stop fun in the sun, Jupiter is among the best beaches one can visit.
The water is warm, at about 78 degrees Fahrenheit and that is why your kids will love snorkeling here. With the mangroves and the sand dunes, you will be forgiven for thinking you are on some tropical island, thanks to the idyllic setting.
The Oceanfront Resort in the area offer family amenities such as basketball courts and tennis to beach cruisers and a game room.
Clearwater Beach – Snorkeling in Clearwater Florida
Clearwater Beach is located in the Florida West Coast and it is about 35 minutes from Tampa. It is a kid-friendly destination with powder-soft sand, serene surf, white sands that stay cool on your feet, and many family attractions are in close proximity.
Restaurants and shops adorn the friendly waterfront of the pedestrians. It has free night sunset festivals, which bring musicians, artisans and street performers. The Oceanfront Sandpearl Resort has a lagoon-style swimming pool, cabana and it offers many activities for the children.
Cocoa Beach Snorkeling
Now, Cocoa Beach is not really recommended for beginner snorkelers because the currents do whip about at high speeds. There is no reef system here, so there cannot be all that much to see.
However, the beach itself is awesome and not as populated as many other beaches in this area. Thus, if you are looking for some solitary sun soaking time under a swaying palm tree, this is the place to go.
If you are an advanced snorkeler though, wear that snorkeling vest and go to the Sebastian Inlet where you will see a variety of fish including Gar.
If you are a surfer or you do stand up paddling, you may want to try your luck here. The waves move and that is just about all that you need to enjoy the water, right?
These are just some of the places where you can go for snorkeling in Clearwater Florida. Some have dive shops where you can rent gear for snorkeling, some are only good for advanced snorkelers but the good thing is that there are many more beach and water adventures that you can take part in.