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Echidna09
03/26/2016, 12:05 PM
Hi,

My wife and I will be heading to Orlando, Florida next week, and I was wondering anyone knows any good snorkeling spots that are nearby. I know the beach is a bit of a drive in any direction, but was hoping there was some decent places within a reasonable distance of Orlando. I'd love to see some zoas or ricordea, or any other corals really. Fish are cool too but I don't care as much about them.

Thanks for your help.

Nick

ace_92101
03/26/2016, 07:05 PM
Nick,

Maybe some of the local reefers will check in. There're some fresh water springs in the area with very clear water and some interesting things to see. The beach is going to be a fairly good drive from Orlando. I know there is some snorkeling in West Palm/Broward/Dade, but that's going to be a long drive. Have you tried the Boneville Seabase? It looks like fun and it's close to you.

Ron Reefman
03/27/2016, 05:18 AM
Ace is right. Orlando is in the middle of the state and the only really good snorkeling that I know of is all down in the Keys (300 miles to Key Largo and 400 miles to Key West). There are good dive places just north of the Keys along Miami, but I can't say that I've ever heard of good snorkeling there. If somebody local to that cost has any ideas, I'd like to hear them as well.

If money and time aren't an issue, you could fly to Marathon or Key West and save the 5 to 6 hour drive. Florida is a very looong state. I have to drive nearly 6 hours just to get out of Florida!

streetjudge79
04/12/2016, 11:18 AM
Or you can do this, go to Discovery Cove by seaworld. You can snorkel their grand reef which is full of Indo/pacific fish as well as spotted eagle rays and cownose rays. It's amazing and right there in Orlando. It'll save you a drive and it's really worth it.

PatW
04/17/2016, 01:58 PM
The best snorkeling would be the Blue Heron Bridge. It is a state park and has showers. It only gets 20' deep. The visibility can be low. It is one of the best dives in the world for macro diving. There are sea robins, frog fish, sea horses, flying gugnards and others. It can only be dived at high tide.

streetjudge79
04/17/2016, 02:44 PM
slack tide actually PatW. When the current stops at slack tide is when it's safe to dive.

solidcore
04/17/2016, 05:25 PM
Bath tub beach near jenson beach is ok, or breakers hotel.. Florida is not that great for snorkeling, the scuba off dive boats at west palm are excellent

Ron Reefman
04/18/2016, 07:04 AM
Bath tub beach near jenson beach is ok, or breakers hotel.. Florida is not that great for snorkeling, the scuba off dive boats at west palm are excellent

Unless you are in the Keys. There the snorkeling can be fun either off the beach or off a charter snorkel boat out at various 'big' reef sites.

http://i395.photobucket.com/albums/pp37/RonReefman/sea%20fan%20P7090435R1_zpsfm0yp20w.jpg (http://s395.photobucket.com/user/RonReefman/media/sea%20fan%20P7090435R1_zpsfm0yp20w.jpg.html)

Echidna09
05/09/2016, 04:48 PM
Thanks for the replies! We ended up heading over to Anna Maria Island. I read about a reef over there and hoped to find it, but the visibility was very low and I only saw some baby filefish near a buoy. Next time we'll have to plan some time we can go down south and see the really good stuff.

Ron Reefman
05/10/2016, 04:58 AM
Thanks for the replies! We ended up heading over to Anna Maria Island. I read about a reef over there and hoped to find it, but the visibility was very low and I only saw some baby filefish near a buoy. Next time we'll have to plan some time we can go down south and see the really good stuff.

The Gulf of Mexico along SW Florida isn't great for snorkeling. Visibility is often less than most people would like and there isn't much in the way of reef to see.

Next time go for the Keys and you'll find it much better. We live on the Gulf and drive 5 hours 4 or 5 times a year to snorkel the Keys. The best part about the Gulf coast is doing beach walks... especially after a cold front in the winter or a big thunderstorm in the summer. That makes for more 'stuff' on the beach.

Bluetangclan
05/20/2016, 11:31 AM
Next time you can hit up Jupiter Beach and the blowing rocks area. Most of the time I have snorkeled there I have had 20+foot vis. Lots of rocks and macro, a few corals here and there and lots of fish. Large sharks are fairly common as are turtles and the occasional manatee passing through.

RedStangGA
05/20/2016, 01:14 PM
Or you can do this, go to Discovery Cove by seaworld. You can snorkel their grand reef which is full of Indo/pacific fish as well as spotted eagle rays and cownose rays. It's amazing and right there in Orlando. It'll save you a drive and it's really worth it.

This is actually a good idea. We've been twice and loved it. Not as good as a real reef, but good enough if it's fish you want to see.

sam.basye
05/20/2016, 11:55 PM
Manatees.. nature's blob of the ocean.

Nothing like snorkeling off Naples in low vis water and seeing a blurry blob approaching you from the corner of your one eye..

Talk about some scary sh*t. Lol

Bluetangclan
05/23/2016, 11:48 AM
Yeah you can get that effect anywhere where the water isn't crystal clear. We were snorkeling in the keys on the bay side of Key largo in a cove-like area in about 6 foot of water over the sea grass. We had a good ten foot vis but I happened to notice a large black shadow off to my right staying just in shadow distance. So me being me I nudged my gf at the time and swam sharply to the right to investigate. As things do in low vis, we went from its a shadow to holy crap its a huge gnarly toothed barracuda in an instant. GF was less than enthusiastic. I thought it was cool.

I do the same thing to my wife now when we go places. She dreads my "Hey come here and look at this" call. Woke up a 12 foot hammerhead by accident last time off of Jupiter. I thought it was nurse shark since it was hanging out under a rock ledge doing the whole "I cant see you thus you cant see me" thing, with only its head under the ledge. Swam over it and my shadow disturbed it I guess. Now we know why there was a call for people to get out of the water ten minutes earlier.