Local Experts' 10 Best Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

The Florida Keys are home to the only living barrier reef in the United States – meaning the reefs are found in the deeper waters further from the shore. They are abundant with marine life including hogfish, butterfly fish, blue tang, snapper, swordfish, and barracuda – not to mention some gnarly species of coral. Since the reefs are so far off the coast, you’re going to have to make a day of it on one of Key West’s copious snorkeling excursions. While many opt to join the masses on a catamaran for a booze and snorkeling trip, we recommend catching a ride on smaller vessels that offer a more personalized experience.  Divers also flock to the area to explore the Vandenberg and other modern shipwrecks and Spanish galleons, some of which the famous treasure hunter, Mel Fisher, made his fortune on. Adventure Watersports and Dive Key West are just two of the many outfits that offer dive trips. Here is our list of 10Best scuba diving and snorkeling companies to help you plan your underwater venture.

Sebago Watersports
Photo courtesy of Schooner Appledore II

Sebago Watersports has it all: jet skiing, snorkeling, fishing, and kayaking – among other water adventures. The company also partners with the Schooner Appledore II, a traditional sailing vessel built by the Harvey Gamage Shipyard in South...  Read More

Danger Charters specializes in sunset cruises, including their signature Wind and Wine cruise. As the sun slips below the horizon, eight different fine wines, a selection of cheese, fresh fruits, beer, and hors d'oeuvres are served aboard the...  Read More

Kayak Kings of Key West
Photo courtesy of Amber Nolan

Kayak Kings is a new venture by a veteran kayak guide, Alec James. Trips are offered for every skill level that include a combination of snorkeling and kayaking some of Key West's remote areas and ship wrecks. AJ also customizes tours including...  Read More

One of Florida's best kept secrets are the Dry Tortugas, a series of remote islands accessible by seaplane, private boat, or the Yankee Freedom II, a high-speed catamaran that departs from Key West. The Dry Tortugas are a protected national park...  Read More

This company offers both fishing and diving charters, including trips to the pristine Marquesa Keys, a doughnut-shaped chain 25 miles west of Key West that consists of 10 uninhabited islands that are the only natural atoll in the Western...  Read More

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Dive Key West
Photo courtesy of Dive Key West

This reputable dive operator has been in the business for 40 years and is Key West's largest professional diving center. They offer scuba school with certifications in four or five days, as well as refresher courses if it has been a while....  Read More

Captain's Corner
Photo courtesy of Captain's Corner/Rob

This PADI gold 5-star diving facility offers on-site pool and classroom for basic scuba certifications and advanced technical diving. The 60-foot Sea Eagle is an aluminum dive boat that was featured in the James Bond film "License to Kill." The...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Floridays

A trip on Floridays includes an hour of snorkeling at the reef with a two-hour ride (there and back) on a gorgeous, intimate sailboat. Free beer, wine, and sodas are included on the day trips, and during their sunset sails champagne and...  Read More

Lost Reef Adventures
Photo courtesy of Lost Reef Adventures

Unlike some of the other snorkeling trips, Lost Reef gives guests two full hours of snorkeling at two different coral reefs. One day scuba dive "sample" courses, as well as more advance reef and wreck dives are offered as well. If the seas are...  Read More

Captain Seaweed
Photo courtesy of Captain Seaweed

Captain Seaweed, the owner's slightly spoiled dog, rides along on some dolphin-spotting voyages and will jump in and swim alongside these marine mammals. The owner, Donna, believes that Seaweed is convinced that these trips are "made for her"...  Read More


Meet Amber Nolan

Originally from upstate New York, this restless traveler has a knack for befriending interesting characters. You can usually find her just about anywhere that has a hammock. Amber's favorite...  More About Amber