Inevitably, you and your family will spend several hours relaxing on the beach and swimming in the Gulf of Mexico during your tropical getaway to Tampa Bay. And there are countless beach activities to choose from, including sunbathing, volleyball, jogging, and, of course, snorkeling. Researching snorkeling locales in St Pete Beach can be mildly taxing because there’s no shortage of pristine beaches and clear, turquoise Gulf water. So, for those that plan on snorkeling in St Pete Beach, we’ve compiled our three favorite destinations near Caprice Resort.
Snorkeling in St Pete Beach: A Magical Underwater Escapade
Our waterfront accommodations are just a short drive (and a ferry ride) from some of the most beautiful isles in Florida. Snorkeling near St Pete Beach has never been more accessible thanks to our friends at Hubbard’s Marina, Shell Key Shuttle, and several other local businesses. Daily ferries run to two of these serene destinations (travelers can access Fort De Soto Park by car). In fact, many Tampa boat tours include several hours of self-guided snorkeling.
Fort De Soto Park
In 2005, “Dr. Beach” labeled Fort De Soto Park’s North Beach America’s Top Beach for its beauty, tranquility, and underwater habitat. While North Beach is an ultra-popular tourist destination with legions of live sand dollars along the sand bars, we recommend taking a dip at South Beach. South Beach is perhaps the best spot to discover queen conches in the region, and the sea beds are home to several sea specimens, including sponges, crabs, and mollusks. Majestic, cheerful dolphins often leap into the clear sky within 100 feet of the shoreline. If you venture further out, you’ll likely cross paths with barracudas and schools of small, colorful fish. Because Fort De Soto Park is a drivable destination, we recommend arriving early to avoid heavy traffic. If you only plan on snorkeling near Tampa for a couple of hours, this accessible park is your best bet.
Egmont Key State Park
Hands down, Egmont Key State Park offers the most breathtaking snorkeling in St Pete Beach. The folks at Hubbard’s Marina provide a scenic, $25 ferry ride for those who wish to explore this historic underwater park. Egmont Key’s southwestern shoreline is home to shallow, ancient Spanish-American War ruins, which sufficiently provides an artificial reef to a wide variety of beautiful sea creatures. This beach is a sea turtle nesting ground, so you’ll likely swim past a tortoise or two during your excursion. The grass beds near the ruins are also frequented by manatees, crabs, shrimp, snapper, snooks, harmless stingrays, and a thriving grouper population. Egmont Key snorkeling, unquestionably, provides the most opportunities for face-to-face encounters with the fish of the sea.
Shell Key Preserve
Shell Key Preserve is often overlooked by adventurers because there are only a handful of ferry rides per day to this serene, sand-dollar heaven. The Shell Key Shuttle visits the island three times per day, with rates starting at $12.50. Whereas most Egmont Key adventures provide crab, turtle, and grouper encounters, Shell Key is a peaceful, simplistic experience. Cheerful dolphins frequently leap into the sky, but the main event is the shell and sand-dollar hunting. Visitors can (and often do) collect non-living sand dollars. Colorful fish, manatees, and stingrays also call this tropical preserve their home.
Waterfront St Pete Beach Resorts
It’s a good idea to bring your own equipment if you’re planning on snorkeling in St Pete Beach as rentals often sell out. Otherwise, most locations and ferries provide sturdy rentals—but the bill can quickly add up for a large family. Caprice Resort is centrally located to the area’s best snorkeling locales as well as the top-rated things to do in St Pete Beach, including sky-high parasailing, upscale dining, and seemingly neverending beach fun. Give us a call today at 1-877-772-3224 to learn more about snorkeling in Tampa as well as our complimentary on-site amenities.