The clear, shallow waters that surround the pristine sandy beaches along Florida’s Gulf Coast are home to a wide variety of sea creatures ranging from nesting turtles to harmless rays. Snorkeling in St Pete Beach is arguably the most popular daytime activity in the region because it’s inexpensive, kid-friendly, and absolutely breathtaking! There are three remarkable snorkeling locales within minutes of our St Pete Beach condo rentals here at Gulf Winds Resort: Shell Key Preserve, Fort De Soto Park, and Egmont Key State Park. We highly recommend visiting all three sites this summer during your well-deserved getaway to sunny St Pete Beach as each preserve is home to a unique array of sea creatures.
3 St Pete Beach Snorkeling Hot Spots
It’s never been easier to spend a full day snorkeling in St Pete Beach as several local businesses provide tours and ferry shuttles to the area’s most beautiful beaches and islands. We’ve hand-selected three of our favorite snorkeling hot spots, all of which are a short drive or boat ride from our affordable, oceanfront St Pete Beach condos. Let’s start with Fort De Soto Park – the only drivable destination on this list.
The pearly white sand along the western edge of Fort De Soto Park is one of the many reasons that this jaw-dropping destination was named the best beach in America by TripAdvisor. Nesting loggerhead sea turtles frequent the sand and shallow waters at this beautiful, historic park, which is located just 9.5 miles south of Gulf Winds Resort. Many travelers utilize this 1,136-acre park for bicycling, sunbathing, and shelling, but the most popular attraction here is the teal waters that surround this island. Queen conches and sand dollars litter the ocean floor, and schools of mullet often swarm past snorkelers as they forage for food. You’ll also have the opportunity to swim near friendly manatees, hermit crabs, and sea urchins!
It’s hard to top the serene beauty of Shell Key Preserve, home to the largest sand dollar population in Florida. If you’re planning on snorkeling in St Pete Beach, start with a short voyage to Shell Key where you’ll discover a sea floor that’s covered in rare whelks, scallops, sea urchins, and many more colorful creatures. There are also thriving ray, horseshoe crab, and starfish populations along the turquoise shorelines. The brief, inexpensive Shell Key Shuttle comes with complimentary snorkeling gear and shell bags!
Hubbard’s Marina offers scenic, 30-minute ferry rides from Fort De Soto Park to Egmont Key State Park where you’ll likely spot dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles in the teal ocean water. Egmont Key State Park does charge a fee for those who wish to snorkel in this tropical island, but it’s well worth the price of admission. One of the many highlights at Egmont Key is the Spanish-American War ruins at Fort Dade. Abundant sea life swarms around these sunken dilapidated structures. Bottlenose dolphins, nesting sea turtles, crabs, sand dollars, and shrimp are just a few of the many aquatic lifeforms that call these tranquil waters home. And remember, snorkeling in St Pete Beach is always just a short drive or ferry ride away from Gulf Winds Resort! To learn more about our oceanfront St Pete Beach vacation rentals, please give us a call today at 1-888-689-0833.