Key West Florida Ranked Among Top Snorkeling Destinations

Yahoo Travel recently released its ranking of top snorkeling locations in the country, and to nobody’s surprise, Key West, Florida was on the list.

You might not think that New London, CT, Kankakee, IL and Key West Florida would have all that much in common, but according to Yahoo Travel, they share at least one common trait. All three were among the top twelve snorkeling locations scattered around the United States. This may come as a surprise to people who visit Key West for its legendary nightlife, but for those in the know, the snorkeling is one of the best kept secrets of the southernmost Island.

“We have the only barrier reef in North America, meaning people have the opportunity to see fish and other ocean wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else in the country,” said Hans Stimpson via telephone call, who is a local resident for more than 25 years. For most of that time, Stimpson has been captain of a charter boat that brings people out for snorkeling trips twice a day, and he says even on the worst days, people leave amazed by what they see. “It’s like nobody expected such a tropical scene so close to home.”

Along with the reef, another popular spot – and the one cited by reporter Melinda Crow in her article for Yahoo Travel – for people to snorkel is the Dry Tortugas national park. Originally built starting in 1845 and situated 70 miles west of Key West, the fort is only accessible by seaplane or boat.

“The wrecks and patchy reef system surrounding the islands of the national park are home to a diverse array of sea life,” Crow said about the island park and why it made the list. She did add, however, that there are also fun snorkeling opportunities from the shore of several Key West beaches for those who do not have time to make the full day trip out to the fort.

Even locals who do not work on the water know that part of the magic of living in Key West is the ability to spend a few hours swimming in such a beautiful environment. “My husband and I try to get out with our kids at least once a week,” Wednesday Vogel, owner of the iconic Key West restaurant Roof Top Café with her husband Norman, said recently as they were waiting to cast off on their boat. “It’s a great way for our kids to learn firsthand about nature and ocean life, and also understand why it is important to protect it.”

Crow mentioned that another bonus about snorkeling in Key West, Florida over some of the other destinations is that the water temperature will stay in the mid 80’s all through the winter, a fact not lost on Stimpson when shown the list of other snorkeling destinations.

“I’m sure those locations have lots of other great things to offer during the wintertime,” he said, adding, “They’d have to, because I can’t think of anyone who would want to snorkel in 60 degree water.”

For more information on the Roof Top Café, please visit their website:

**Jack Terry is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer who knows that when snorkeling one barracuda is fine, two is okay and a dozen means it’s time to get out of the water.

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Name: Jack Terry
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Organization: Roof Top Cafe Key West

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