Although many couples head to Mexico or the Caribbean for fabulous snorkeling, you may not have to go far. There are lots of places throughout the United States to have fun with goggles! Take a peek at these 20 locations for great snorkeling in the US.
FAQ About United States Snorkeling
Why go snorkeling in the United States?
Seeing fish and observing sea life in its natural habitat can be really relaxing and enjoyable. Of course, there are also beautiful coral and rock formations under the water, too.
Where is the best snorkeling in the US?
Although some of these destinations may not rival swimming with sea turtles in Mexico (there are many that do!), hopefully, this list of places for snorkeling in the USA can help you find a place close to home.
Warmer climates provide ultimate viewing. Although heading to different locations provides a glimpse into other ocean environments.
Where to snorkel in the US?
Our list contains lots of places to go have fun under the water. 20, in fact! So, if you’ve been asking, “Where can I go snorkeling in the US?” just take a peek below.
20 Places for Great Snorkeling in the US
Acadia National Park, Maine
Head off the rocky coast in Maine to see flora and fauna that you won’t see anywhere else! The tides and currents are strong — you will have to wear a wetsuit. However, Acadia National Park is still a place full of diverse underwater ecosystems.
Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin
Of course, it’s seasonal in Wisconsin, but Lake Michigan has some beautiful spots worth exploring! You can do a shipwreck snorkeling trip there that dates back to the 1800s.
Block Island, Rhode Island
Located between Montauk and Martha’s Vineyard, these blissful beaches have crystal clear water that is beautiful for snorkeling.
Cinnamon Bay, St. John
It’s pretty shallow in Cinnamon Bay. You can walk off the shore and into the reef without too much effort or even a boat.
Croix, US Virgin Islands
Croix is one of the best places to go snorkeling in the US as there is a barrier reef that circles the island.
Crystal River, Florida
Get so close you can touch manatees when you snorkel with them in Crystal River, Florida.
Culebra, Puerto Rico
In Puerto Rico you’ll find coral reefs that are full of life. You also may even be able to see sea turtles or stingrays along your trip.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
The reefs near this national park are thousands of years old. Plus, you’ll find dozens of different coral species there.
Hatteras Island, North Carolina
The water on Hatteras Island is calm and shallow. This makes it great for new snorkelers who want to explore shipwrecks or check out the fish.
Homestead Crater, Utah
Inside the crater, you can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience and jump into the crystal-clear mineral water. This experience is mostly centered around scuba.
Explore the Haigh Quarry, also known as the Caribbean of the Midwest, to see an assortment of boats, farm equipment, and more below. You can also scuba dive there.
Key Largo, Florida
Take a guided snorkeling tour and explore the clear waters of Key Largo at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
Key West, Florida
The reef system surrounding the national park and the wrecks make for a beautiful way to snorkel and explore the diverse sea life that calls home this national park.
Kona Coast, Hawaii
See manta rays up close with this Manta Ray Night Dive and Snorkel in Kona. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is a great way to explore the Hawaii waters and get to swim with manta rays. It’s the type of adventure that’s typically thought of when looking for great snorkeling in the US.
La Jolla Cove, California
While you’ll need to pack a wetsuit, this snorkel will give you a unique up-close look at sharks, fish, and a beautiful turquoise cove.
Ocean Beach Park, Connecticut
If you head to this park, you’ll find a nonprofit ocean adventure program that offers snorkeling tours of Ocean Beach.
In Portsmouth, you can take a three-hour snorkeling lesson. It’s a great way to explore and learn the basics of freediving.
Yes, this sounds like such an odd answer to the question, “Where can you snorkel in the US?” However, Shedd Aquarium was designed to simulate a reef in the Caribbean. It’s the perfect way to snorkel on land.
Thunder Bay, Lake Huron
This marine sanctuary has more than 100 historical shipwrecks to explore, all in Lake Huron.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Closer to home, Virginia Beach is the perfect place to go for summer snorkeling. Plus, the water reaches the 80-degree range in the summer months.
Want to explore? Save it!
Photos: Phaisalphotos, Mael Balland, Rachel Claire, Rodrigo Pederzini, Carolina Garcia, Shifaaz Shamoon
SherianneWow, snorkeling near Acadia National Park has never occurred to me and I have never heard
of Homestead Crater. I have wanted to swim with the manatees in Crystal River for years. I finally had it on my
calendar but had to cancel my trip last year. Soon, very soon. – great list!
Linda (LD Holland)We love to go snorkelling whenever we can. In fact, we often pack our snorkel gear … just in case! We normally are wimpy and search for places with warm water. So I was interested in the places on your list that were further north. I guess that means packing a wetsuit too! Thanks for some new places to try.
NataschaWow – I have never thought of the US as a place for good snorkeling, but of course there a many good places. I can imagine that Florida has good snorkeling but a lot of the places you mentioned seem rather cold? But I would give it a try for sure.
ReneeWhat a great idea to highlight spots closer to home to support local travel. I would have guessed places like Florida and California, but really you’ve proven almost every other state has some options. It’s funny to see Thunder Bay and Lake Huron, as we have the same place in Ontario Canada.
AgnesI had no idea that there are so many unique places for snorkeling in the US. As Acadia National Park is on my bucket list, I add also snorkeling to my itinerary during my visit to this park. I hope to visit also Dry Tortugas National Park this year, so I pack my mask for a trip for sure! Great guide!
LisaThis is a great list and resource. Hawaii and the Virgin Islands would be top of my choices. Both are tropical places and the snorkelling would be so interesting here.
Puloma BhattacharyaGreat post on different snorkeling sites across US.The underwater pics are mind blowing! Seeing marine life up close is an adventurous.
Trisha VelarminoI’m in for snorkeling, a way to escape the world and explore the underwater world (at least in a low-key way!) A shipwreck snorkeling trip would be educational and fun so in this list, I’d probably go for the in Wisconsin and Lake Hurron. This is a great list. I didn’t really associate snorkeling activity with US, but this post is an enlightenment!