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3 Great Places for Snorkeling in Tierra Verde

There are very few things as special as discovering the underwater world that surrounds the Florida coastlines. With a variety of sea life that can compete with any reef on Earth, you can expect to return to the dock with a new favorite pastime. Each of our Gulfstream Clubs has something unique to offer, and snorkeling in St Pete will not disappoint! 


Here we offer a few Gulfstream Boat Club’s favorite, easy-access snorkel spots near our Tampa and Tierra Verde Clubs, what to look for, and tips on how to make the best of your trip for snorkelers of all ages! 





Shell Key


If you're planning on finding the best places for snorkeling in St Pete, 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. With the waters only being 3 feet deep, its very family friendly for the younger snorkelers.


Fort de Soto


The Fort de Soto park is located on Mullet Key, an L-shaped barrier island on the north side of the entrance to Tampa Bay. Named for Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto, who likely landed near the Tampa Bay area, this is one of the most popular places for snorkeling in St Pete. What makes Fort De Soto some of the best snorkeling in Florida? This park is one of the only places where you can swim with families of manatees! You can also frequently spot dolphins, starfish, crabs, and even schools of mullet. Snorkelers may even find live sand dollars just below the sand in two to four feet of water off the sand bars! 


Egmont Key


If you’re looking for great snorkeling in St Pete, Egmont Key is easily the best snorkeling the gulf has to offer! This secluded island at the mouth of Tampa Bay is a short boat ride from Fort de Soto, and less than 30 minutes from our Tierra Verde Club. It’s a beautiful refuge to drop anchor, relax, and make memories with family and friends along the shore! Visitors to Egmont Key can enjoy swimming, fishing and snorkeling. Keep a watchful eye and you may see wildlife like manatees, tropical fish, sea turtles, sea birds and gopher tortoises on the island. 



Other Helpful Tips to Keep in Mind for Snorkeling in St Pete 


  • Safety should always be your most important priority. Always dive with a buddy, and always be aware of each others location.

  • Stay aware of changing currents and channels with fast moving water. 

  • Check the tides before departing and snorkel closest to high tide for the best clarity. 

  • The sun will reflect on the water surface and exaggerate the effect of sunburn. Make sure you take a rash guard and reef friendly sunscreen, and reapply often.

  • Never interfere with the marine life, this includes starfish, seashells, grass beds, rock structures, fish, crabs and more. 

  • Never touch anything, even if it seems to be a harmless rock it could possibly a living creature or a toxic piece of coral.

  • Corals are fragile animals. Be careful not to touch, kick or stand on the corals you see in the water because this may damage or even kill them.

  • Ready to do more underwater? Lobster Season is a great time to use your Membership!



Snorkeling in St Pete with Gulfstream Boat Club


Ready to set sail, but still unsure where to go? Don’t settle for just snorkeling one island. With your Gulfstream Boat Club membership, you can explore all the Tampa Bay has to offer! When you need a new place to explore, we have your coordinates! Ask our Member Services for some new ideas near our Tampa or Tierra Verde Clubs, or reserve hours at one of our Florida East Coast Clubs

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