There’s still time to book a well-deserved, long-overdue tropical vacation to sunny St Pete Beach, home to the fourth-best beach in the United States. We’re quickly approaching summer’s “off-season,” which is the cheapest time to visit the Tampa area with flights dipping down to $100 per person. One of the most refreshing ways to “beat the heat” during a midsummer escape to St Pete Beach is a daytime snorkeling adventure at a nearby park or preserve. St Pete Beach provides underwater adventurers of all ages with some of the best snorkeling in Florida!
The Best Snorkeling in Florida
The islands just south of St Pete Beach are swarming with friendly sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins, sand-covered horseshoe crabs, beautiful starfish, and so many more magical sea creatures. Don’t forget to start and finish each day of St Pete Beach snorkeling, beach activities, and shoreline shelling at Gulf Strand Resort, one of the most affordable oceanfront hotels in the Tampa area.
Egmont Key State Park
Let’s start this list with the least-frequented St Pete Beach snorkeling locale: Egmont Key State Park, located between Fort De Soto Park and Anna Maria Island. Egmont Key is only accessible by boat, but don’t fret, because of our good friends at Hubbard’s Marina provide two ferries to this jaw-dropping isle during the summertime. The island itself spans over 328 acres, so there are miles upon miles of potential snorkeling opportunities. And you’ll rarely have to share the space with another family, which is why Egmont Key offers some of the best snorkeling in Florida! The clear, teal water is home to a wide variety of aquatic creatures, including friendly octopuses, bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, crabs, shrimp, and snapper. In fact, Egmont Key is one of the largest sea turtle nesting grounds in the state.
Fort De Soto Park
Fort De Soto Park can be reached by car thanks to the Pinellas Bayway, thus making it the most popular St Pete Beach snorkeling destination. While bicyclists, sunbathers, and birdwatchers flock to this crowd-pleasing island, there’s enough acreage at Fort De Soto to spread your “wings” in the warm, turquoise waters without bumping into other families. One of the main reasons that Fort De Soto offers some of the best snorkeling in Florida is that this park is one of the only places where you can swim with families of manatees. We also frequently spot dolphins, starfish, crabs, and even schools of mullet. North Beach is the most popular area to snorkel, but you can start exploring just about anywhere.
Shell Key Preserve
Last but certainly not least, Shell Key Preserve offers some of the best snorkeling in Florida for those who’re hoping to combine an afternoon of snorkeling with kayaking, shelling, and swimming! Local boaters often visit this tropical, 1,800-acre island, but tourists haven’t quite discovered the serene beauty of this natural wonderland. And Hubbard’s Marina also provides ferries to Shell Key! Most snorkelers spot perfectly harmless devil rays, horseshoe crabs, dozens of sea turtles (during nesting season), and manatees. Shell Key is perhaps the area’s best spot for shelling as well.
Oceanfront St Pete Beach Vacation Rentals
The time to book an affordable, unforgettable summertime escape to St Pete Beach is right now! Your days will be filled with sunbathing, swimming, parasailing, and some of the best snorkeling in Florida! To browse through our oceanfront St Pete Beach vacation rentals, please visit us online at GulfStrand.com.