In 2021, St Pete Beach, Fl landed on TripAdvisor’s Top Beaches in the US list. Needless to say, this resort city is perfect for boaters and beachgoers, and especially for snorkelers and divers. Under these crystal clear waters is an amazing world full of incredible marine wildlife. In this post, we’ll share the snorkeling hotspots around St Pete Beach:
- Shell Key Preserve
- Egmont Key State Park
- Fort De Soto Park
1. Shell Key Preserve
Shell Key Preserve (1,828 acres) is the largest barrier island in this area. It holds the largest sand dollar population in all of Florida. Keep in mind there are no facilities on this preserve, but some boats have super-clean and convenient restrooms and showers aboard.
To get here, you’ll need a boat. If you plan on operating your own boat, pay attention to the local tide charts, and be vigilant when navigating through the shallow waters on the east side.
Scallops, sea urchins, whelks, manta rays, manatees, horseshoe crabs, and starfish will wave hello at you during your snorkeling trip here.
Address: 2187 Oceanview Dr, Tierra Verde, FL 33715
2. Egmont Key State Park
If you’re as interested in history as you are in an adventure, come to Egmont Key State Park, where you’ll be able to know the story of Fort Dade, a strategic point during the Third Seminole War, the Civil War, and the Spanish American War.
Sea turtles frequent Egmont Key State Park’s beach area and a plethora of friendly bottle-nosed dolphins surround Egmont Key. And, they’re NOT shy! This is one of the best spots in Florida to swim, snorkel, and scuba dive with dolphins.
Always follow Leave No Trace; this is such a special place that should be treasured. Egmont Key State Park is only accessible by boat, so make sure to find the perfect boat for your upcoming snorkeling trip.
Address: Fort Dade, Egmont Key, St. Petersburg, FL 33715 (about a mile southwest of the Historic Fort De Soto)
3. Fort De Soto Park
Featured on Trip Advisor as an amazing beach park in 2009; Fort De Soto Park consists of five offshore islands and keys— St. Christopher Key, St. Jean Key, Madelaine Key, Bonne Fortune Key, and the “main” island, Mullet Key.
It is a major snorkeling location (2.7 million annual visitors) so plan on seeing others here. The marine wildlife here is just as lively! Bottlenose dolphins, octopi, snapper, shrimp, manta rays, fighting conch, seahorses, and other tropical fish are all here.
Address: 3055 Pinellas Bayway S, St. Petersburg, FL 33715
Want more things to do on Florida’s waters?
There’s always something to do on the water! Find your next adventure by browsing through Boat Guides & Resources.
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