Best Snorkeling Destinations

best snorkeling destinationsMany couples and families automatically think of the beach when they start planning their next vacation. Don't just settle for sand and sun during your next fun-filled holiday on the coast. Instead, choose one of the world's best snorkeling destinations for a closer look at all that the ocean has to offer.

Unlike scuba diving, snorkeling doesn't require a lot of expensive equipment or special training. In fact, you don't even have to know how to swim to have a fun day of snorkeling. Most snorkeling destinations will sell or rent snorkels, masks, fins and floatation devices, as well as provide instructions on how to do it and point out the best areas. Don't forget to pack a water-proof camera to capture all the sights!

Australia

No list of snorkeling destinations would be complete without mentioning Australia's Great Barrier Reef. As you swim or float through the warm, salty water, you'll see sights that you never imagined were possible in this great unspoiled ocean wilderness. From brightly-colored tropical fish, starfish, coral and plants, to visiting dolphins, sea turtles and maybe even a whale, you'll experience life at sea in a way that you have only dreamed about.

U.S. Virgin Islands

When you visit the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, you'll be able to snorkel at not one, but three, tropical islands. Snorkel right off the beach on St. John, St. Thomas, or St. Croix. For a little more adventure, take a sailboat ride over to Buck Island. Considered a national monument, this unspoiled snorkeling destination is surrounded by a coral reef that is home to over 250 different species of tropical fish. If you're lucky, you may even catch sight of a family of dolphins or sea turtles.

best snorkeling destinations

Florida

If you thought a snorkeling destination with three separate islands was great, how about one that literally has hundreds? When you visit Florida, you'll be able to enjoy snorkeling in the salt water that surrounds the coastline or one of the many keys. Whether you choose Little Torch Key or Key Biscayne, you'll be amazed at the coral, tropical fish and plant life.

Take a short drive north for a completely different type of snorkeling destination. Northern Florida is host to five different state parks with crystal-clear spring fed lakes. Snorkel your way through DeLeon Springs or Fanning Springs to get an intimate look at freshwater fish and plant life.

California

When you choose a snorkeling destination in California, you'll have the luxury of spending one day in the warm Pacific waters viewing the sights, and the next in either wine country or skiing on the snowy peaks of the local mountains. The best snorkeling opportunities in California can be found off the coast of any of the eight Channel Islands that border the coast of Southern California. The most famous is Catalina Island, located near the Los Angeles port of San Pedro. Snorkel through the four sunken ships located near Lover's Cove and Casino Dive Park. You'll be amazed by the forests of kelp and the vivid orange Garibaldis that wait.

Hawaii

A trip to paradise instantly guarantees a number of exciting snorkeling destinations. While you should avoid any riptides, strong currents, or heavy surf, you can easily leave those areas to the surfers and snorkel in a sheltered cove. Choose from Turtle Reef on the Kona Coast, the Na Pali Coast on Kauai or Kapalua Bay on Maui. This Pacific play land offers endless possibilities for snorkeling and other activities. Relax and view the vast array of tropical fish and exotic plant life. If you're lucky, you might even get a chance to swim with a gentle manta ray, dolphin or sea turtle.