View Full Version : Shallow Diving & Snorkeling in Key Largo
June 6th, 2012, 05:02 PM
We are planning on going down to Key Largo Wed June 20th and coming back Sat June 23rd.
Because we are taking down a grandson (snorkeling only) and a friend's son (newly certified Junior Diver) we need to either find some good beach dives, or a dive operator who will accommodate snorkelers & shallow scuba dives at the same time at a reasonable price.
Basically it would be one adult diving with the Jr diver and one adult snorkeling with the grandson, with the adults "switching out" if it is a two dive trip.
Keeping the above in mind, I would appreciate recommendations for good shore dive sites and/or dive operators.
June 6th, 2012, 05:45 PM
I found four when I was doing research before going there. Harry Harrison Park on Key Largo and Founders Park on Plantation Key are the closest. Sombrero Beach on Vaca Key close to 7 mile bridge and Bahia Honda state park on the other side of 7 mile bridge.
June 6th, 2012, 06:42 PM
You'll find plenty of ops that offer snorkel tours in Pennekamp park. Highly recommend it. Last time I did it was with a non diving girlfriend. I was part of a scuba group on the same boat.
I don't know if they still run scuba/ snorkel trips, but I'd sure look into it. Maybe google.
If you go off the shore at the places mentioned, don't forget your flag. It'll be a good swim to get to the good stuff, with lots of boaters. Besides, it's the law.
As I think about, give the non divers something to remember. Get in touch with Pennekamp park and find a snorkel trip.
pennekamp snorkeling tours - Google Search (http://www.google.com/search?q=pennekamp+snorkeling+tours&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari)
June 6th, 2012, 10:44 PM
Virtually ALL diving is off a boat in the keys. The spots mentioned above are snorkel sites--I have snorkeled Harry Harris and Bahia Honda and both are pretty good. Most boat dives are shallow, in the 25-30 ft range--so just let the dive op know what you need. The wrecks are mostly deep with current. One of the exceptions is the wreck of the Benwood in 20-50 ft., it is always full of fish and is one of my favorite dives...............
June 7th, 2012, 04:50 PM
I've been looking for the same. My dad is coming down with a couple of my nephews so I'd like to get them out on a snorkel trip while I do some diving. I did find a place in Key West that offers it, but I have to call them. My one concern is what if you get there and 15 people are snorkeling and you're the only diver? do they send a DM in the water as your buddy?
June 7th, 2012, 08:50 PM
Pretty much all dive operators in Key Largo run shallow reef trips that accommodate both divers and snorkelers. Off the top of my head, Ocean Divers, Horizon, Rainbow reef etc do that. Morning trips tend to be to deeper locations, afternoon - shallow (for some operators, others like Ocean Divers have two boats, with one going to shallow reef in the morning too).
So, take your pick.
June 7th, 2012, 09:49 PM
There really isn't much good beach diving that I've found. NetDoc indicated that you can dive in the Pennekamp beach but the bottom of the lagoon is deep with muck and sediment.
There are a lot of great dive ops in Key Largo: I usually go out with Conch Republic, but have also been out with Silent World. However, given the somewhat unusual configuration of you group, this op might be the ticket for you. Their boats are 6 packs, so you can basically have a boat for just your group and maybe another snorkeler/diver or two. Just specify you want to go to sites that can be dove and snorkeled and they can accommodate you. Quiescence Diving Services , Inc., One of Key Largo's Finest Diving Operations (http://www.keylargodiving.com/) Quiescence Diving Services , Inc., One of Key Largo's Finest Diving Operations (http://www.keylargodiving.com/)
June 8th, 2012, 01:17 AM
Do you need to go to the keys? Why not Lauderdale by the Sea or Hollywood Beach?
June 8th, 2012, 09:30 AM
Thanks for the info.
I do Hollywood, but I can't do it here since my dad has a condo rented in Key west. He's driving down from Jersey and coming to my place Friday evening and then we're heading for Key West on Saturday morning. We're planning to stop for a snorkel trip in Largo on the way down and/or I'd like to do a dive/snorkel trip in Key West on that Monday.
June 8th, 2012, 09:42 AM
To the op, thanks for the thread. I recently returned from my first trip to the keys and was thinking of planning a trip similar to yours for next year.
June 9th, 2012, 12:29 PM
not Key Largo, but I found this in Key West.
June 11th, 2012, 07:51 PM
To clarify a bit: our motel is in Homestead, so Largo is really the best situated of the Keys for us. Any other dive suggestions really aren't what I'm looking for (further down on the Keys, Lauderdale, etc.)
Again, one of the participants is a snorkeler, and he's only 8 yrs old. So that limits how long a boat ride and and how deep we'll be going.
June 12th, 2012, 08:02 AM
You should consider Lauderdale by the Sea for great beach diving. The reefs are close to the beach and shallow.
June 12th, 2012, 12:52 PM
I just got back from diving in the Keys. One of the days my dive buddy and I went out with Horizon Divers. We dove the Spiegel with them in the morning and then did reef dives in the afternoon. The afternoon trip contained both divers and snorkelers. The reefs we went to were only about 25 feet or so max. So, we dove and the snorkelers snorkeled around on the surface for both reefs. I think the boat ride was only about 20-30 mins. You may look into something such as that. Horizon was a good outfit to dive with. We also went with Conch Republic our other days, which is another great dive outfit. Although I'm not exactly sure if they do snorkel trips.
June 12th, 2012, 03:34 PM
Try Dive Key Largo, Florida Keys with Rainbow Reef Dive Center;scuba diving:diving, Florida keys, florida diving (http://www.rainbowreef.us/) don't know if they do snorkeling, but they offer shallows reefs for all their dives.
June 12th, 2012, 05:08 PM
Since you are staying in Homestead, I recommend Key Largo for it's extensive shallow reef system. Most reefs here are 30ft or shallower so they are great for divers and snorkelers. I recommend in addition to the above mentioned Rainbow Reef, considering Horizon Divers (http://horizondivers.com) or Ocean Divers (http://oceandivers.com/). All have large stable vessels and more than one boat, so they have shallow reef diving/snorkeling trips everyday. They will require that an adult snorkel with the 8 yr old, so decide who will skip dive 1 and who will skip dive 2 to snorkel. (PS Family's do that here all the time). One of the often recommended by Scubaboarders is Conch Republic Divers (http://conchrepublicdivers.com/), just a few miles south in Tavernier. Feel free to send Capt. Gary (http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/members/capt+gary.html) a PM with any questions.
Sounds like you've got a large group. If you are 6 or fewer, I would recommend a six pack boat like Key Largo Dive Center (http://keylargodivecenter.com), smaller but all yours with a dive plan that meets all of your needs without feeling like you are imposing on other divers.
There are many good dive ops to choose from. I recommend calling up a few to chat and figure out which one best matches your expectations.
Feel free to contact me if you need assistance in planning or once you are here in Key Largo.
June 12th, 2012, 06:55 PM
Here's an op that does snorkeling and diving, I've never used them.
Florida Keys Scuba Diving with Pirate Island Divers (http://www.pirateislanddivers.com/dive-trips.htm)
June 13th, 2012, 06:44 AM
One thing that you'll get here are a lot of recommendations to various dive shops based on divers experiences. As you can tell from the responses there are a lot of good options for you and your family. Elena provided you with some good advice on ensuring the snorkeling safety of your 8 yr old.
As Elena indicated do call around to some of the shops and ask questions about their trips, boats, and dives. You should get a good feel from those conversations which shop would be good for you and your family. If I can answer any questions, even if you don't dive with us, please don't hesitate to contact me. It's your vacation and you should have a blast.