Sea turtles, tropical fish, stingrays, clear blue waters, and hard and soft corals make the Florida Keys the perfect destination for snorkeling lovers. After all, the region is home to the world’s third-largest coral barrier reef. From John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Molasses Reef in the Upper Keys to the stunning Looe Key and Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in the Lower Keys, Florida Keys boast the most beautiful and world-class snorkeling spots.


This is not to forget the Alligator Reef in the Middle Keys, where lucky snorkelers can find various marine species, including dolphins, sea turtles, and spotted eagle rays. However, nothing beats the real action that happens underwater in the Middle Keys on the south side of Marathon at Sombrero Beach. This is where people will witness the most exciting scuba and snorkeling experiences.

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Here’s Why Sombrero Beach Offers The Safest And Most Fun Snorkeling Experience To Its Visitors

Two miles off the Overseas Highway, people can find the beautiful public Sombrero Beach with its iconic palm trees and soft white sands lining the marvelous shores. Whatever their experience level or age, anyone can visit Sombrero Beach to enjoy snorkeling opportunities. For example, beginner snorkelers can participate in training in the shallow water area of Sombrero Beach, while the more avid and experienced pros can hit the deeper waters and explore fresh new challenges.

As for safety, Sombrero Beach is known for being among the safest areas for snorkeling. This is thanks to its sea flats, bordering seagrass beds, and the rock shelf, which offer the safest shore snorkeling options where people can witness the most interesting undersea crustaceans and starfish. Thus, Sombrero Beach is a perfect destination for both vacationing families and locals.

Thanks to the shallow water, children will mostly enjoy swimming with the colored fish in Sombrero Beach. Moreover, what adds to the safety of this beach is that it is pet-friendly. However, there is no lifeguard there. Showers and restrooms are available at the beach, and there’s also a playground. There are plenty of shaded areas and free parking close to the water.

Here’s What To Know About Sombrero Reef And The Area’s Wildlife

The largest reef in the Middle Keys and the world’s third-largest barrier reef, Sombrero Reef, can be found eight miles offshore from Sombrero Beach. This coral reef dive site ranges from 2 to 30 feet deep and stretches for 30 acres. It is also home to thousands of sponges, tropical fish, vibrant corals, and various marine life. People visiting the site can also explore sea cave arches and assorted small canyons. Moreover, the Sombrero Lighthouse majestically stands right on the edge of the barrier reef on the spur-and-groove formation there.

The waters around Sombrero Beach are rich with various marine species. People visiting the area will have fun witnessing the assorted corals, plumes, sponges, and sea fans. They will also be stunned by the various Damselfish, Hogfish, Parrotfish, Wrasse, Scorpionfish, Snapper, Angelfish, Stoplight, Blue Tang, and Barracuda. The reef area is home to different other fish species. People must pay attention and be informed that lobstering and fishing are strictly forbidden in Sombrero Beach since it is a regulated Sanctuary Preservation Area.

  • Information: Sombrero Reef turns into a loggerhead sea turtle nesting site from April through October. This is when people must take the necessary steps to observe protected areas during nesting season. These areas are off-limits during that period of the year.
  • Duration: The snorkeling season reaches its most exciting time between March and September.

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Here’s What To Know About The Regulations And Facilities On Sombrero Beach

Another activity to enjoy when visiting Sombrero Beach in the Florida Keys is kayaking. People will find several amenities when spending their time on the shore in the area. Kids can play on the volleyball court or playground. They can also have lunch with barbecue pits at the picnic pavilion. Restrooms, modern changing rooms, and showers are also available on the beach where everyone can use them. Moreover, there is handicap-access and free parking on site.

  • Location: Off the Overseas Highway, from Mile Marker 50, at the end of Sombrero Beach Road, people can find Sombrero Beach.
  • Opening hours: The park at Sombrero Beach opens from 7:30 AM until dusk.
  • Recommended: For the utmost safety and to enjoy the most out of the snorkeling experience at Sombrero Beach, people are advised to book a guided excursion with local professionals. They can book a tour with Starfish Snorkeling Tours and Spirit Snorkeling of Marathon.

After experiencing the most out of Sombrero Beach in the Middle Keys, people can continue their snorkeling adventures by heading south to Big Pine Key or north to Islamorada. Closer to Marathon, Curry Hammock State Park is also an excellent option for natural exploration.

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