Sarasota Snorkeling is like taking an adventure to another world, another planet, below the surface of the water. It can be so breathtaking that people spend hours just looking at the fish and coral invisible to the human eye until they look down below the surface. There is scuba diving for those who like to go deep down but some people like to simply float on the surface and check out what’s underneath everything. While all that is needed is a swim mask, fins and a snorkel, there is actually a lot more to the enticement of the experience than meets the eye. Find out more about who offers guided snorkeling tours, where to get some gear and how to get the best look at Sarasota’s underwater offerings.
Popular Spots for Sarasota Snorkeling
One of the most popular spots to snorkel Sarasota is off the south-western tip of Crescent Beach on Siesta Key. Located south of Siesta Key Public Beach, the Point of Rocks is a walk south down Crescent Beach to the beautiful waters. The largest rock formation on Florida’s Gulf Coast, it is a famous spot to snorkel. People love to come for coral formations and marine life, though it should never be touched to keep it safe. Point of Rocks is even a starting point for a map to buried pirate treasure. Gain access through Public Beach Access and the parking lot of Crescent Beach and go early as spots fill quickly.
Anna Maria Island is one not to miss. Specifically, Bradenton Beach. The USS Regina sank there in 1940. This sugar barge wreckage is over 200 feet and is the 10th Shipwreck Underwater Archaeological Preserve. Near the Sea Kat Dive Shop, stop and ask about how to snorkel the wreck.
Nokomis beach on South Casey Key brings snorkelers around to view fish around the rocks to the north side of the Venice Jetty. Conditions can impact water visibility. Gulf waters can be clear and blue but it all depends on storms, tide, and other factors.
Snorkeling Safety Tips:
Watch out for areas that are heavily trafficked by water craft including boats, jet skis or other paddlers. Wear bright colors while snorkeling around Sarasota beaches and use dive flags in the area where snorkeling. Snorkel in a group and not alone and let people know where you are snorkeling and when you’ll be returning. Other tips include wearing a wetsuit and sunblock to prevent burns, and drinking lots of water to avoid dehydration. Plan on being in the water for shorter periods with breaks to hydrate and rest to avoid cramps. Snorkel away from coral that might poke or sting as some are poisonous.
Many places in Sarasota offer rental equipment and snorkeling equipment for purchase. The best thing to do is research where to go and what is needed for snorkeling in Sarasota. Proper gear should fit well and not leak water or have other defects. Make sure none of the equipment is faulty. Quality matters. Look for masks made of soft silicone and fins with flexibility. Renting gear from a dive resort or pro shop is usually a good first step. Check all straps, tug on them, and look for cracks or frayed edges. Get properly fitted fins to avoid breakage or issues with fit in the water.
Suncoast Marine Life
Point of Rocks has lots of plants, algae, coral and shells. This invites fish, crabs, and even small sharks to the area. Snapper and nurse sharks are some local fish. Dolphins and manatees may be seen as well. Look for tropical reef fish to be hanging around Siesta Key. Turtles, tuna, grouper, and other marine animals will be around, especially the shipwreck where marine animals love to hang out.
Nibbles and Bites
Gulf Drive Cafe is a restaurant and casual eatery on Anna Maria Island. This provides a great place to get a nibble before or after snorkeling in the waters offshore. All along the beaches are bars and grills, smoothie shops, and diners to catch a bite. Look near the beach entrances and boardwalks for places to grab a bite along the way to and back from Siesta Key snorkeling.
Expect to encounter surface water temps from 74 degrees too close to 90 in summer. The water is clear with just about 100’ or more underwater visibility underwater. Visitors return in spite of the storms to catch some glimpses of the most beautiful underwater sea life on the Gulf Coast.