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A day/1-night Snorkeling trip to Key West from Miami

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Seattle, Washington
posts: 4
A day/1-night Snorkeling trip to Key West from Miami

Hi All,

We are a group of 6 people flying out from the West Coast to Miami for the Labor Day weekend. One of the things we were considering was to drive to Key West for a Snorkeling trip. I have heard a great deal about the coral reefs around Key West and frankly, given our geographical location, we can safely assume that regular trips to Florida are not on the agenda. My question is whether the following itinerary makes sense :

1. Leave Miami early morning (to beat any long weekend traffic to Key West)

2. Reach Key West around 11AM and set out on a snorkeling trip.

3. Hang around after a late lunch.

4. Spend the night in Key West or drive back to Miami

More specifically, I was wondering if there are other things in Key West that can keep us occupied during the evening (as I don't see a point wasting a vacation evening driving). Also, any tips/advice with regards to Snorkeling tour operators are also much appreciated.

Thanks,

Yash

9 replies to this topic
New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Key West
posts: 25,499
reviews: 38
1. Re: A day/1-night Snorkeling trip to Key West from Miami

Most of the single snorkeling tours are three hours long; one hour out to the reef, one in the water, and one hour back. You will probably only get 45 - 50 minutes in the water so would you still want to drive down and back just for this?

Alternatives are a half day trip with Danger Charters. They include a kayak Eco tour around a mangrove island but snorkel at one of several places that are not at the reef and IMO not usually as good. At least it would be four hours out.

Then there is a late afternoon snorkel and sunset sail which at least gives you two things to look forward to. Several companies do these.

And finally, you might do the Javacat. She only takes a maximum of six people and you'd have basically a private charter and could look forward to at least 4 hours on the water, maybe more. Downside here is that Captain Carla usually doesn't go to the reef either, but if you all booked her boat, she might be open to going there. It's a question of time and distance.

And there is plenty to do in Key West for an overnighter. For one day someone's going to have to abstain from drinking all day for the drive back, and there's not many places to shower and change in Key West.

Pjk

Ipswich, United...
Destination Expert
for Malta
posts: 3,500
reviews: 63
2. Re: A day/1-night Snorkeling trip to Key West from Miami

The snorkel trips I know of run morning or afternoon (around 9AM or 2PM) so if you arrive at 11 you will need to hang around, unless you can find an operator going out at that time. You could of course eat lunch before a trip, but will then be going out with a full stomach. Eat light and hope you don't get seasick. Avoid alcohol too. Afternoon trips get back about 5PM.

Key Largo or even nearer, Biscayne NP, would make more sense if snorkelling is your main aim.

Plenty to do in KW in the evening. Entertainment at the Sunset celebration, bars, clubs, you name it.

Several dive operators run snorkel trips such as Lost Reef, Captains Corner, South Point and so on. There's also Fury etc. plenty to choose from.

New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Key West
posts: 25,499
reviews: 38
3. Re: A day/1-night Snorkeling trip to Key West from Miami

Reply #2 is the better of the two. Don't go all the way to Key West just to snorkel.

Pjk

Los Angeles
posts: 3,909
reviews: 44
4. Re: A day/1-night Snorkeling trip to Key West from Miami

I can't recommend driving all the way to KW for a snorkeling trip when there's better trips out of Key Largo, especially on a holiday week.

If you don't like driving 6 hours+ I'd suggest Keysdiver, at mm 100. They have a 1hour am trip and a longer 3 stop trip in the pm.

It's where you can see the statue underwater.

Fort Lauderdale...
posts: 4,586
reviews: 93
5. Re: A day/1-night Snorkeling trip to Key West from Miami

Try the 41/2hr snorkel trip out of Pennekamp Park.

MI
posts: 889
reviews: 8
6. Re: A day/1-night Snorkeling trip to Key West from Miami

I just did a great trip last weekend with Fury, the 2-Stop trip that leaves at 12:30pm. Check-in is at noon, got back (I think) around 4pm (just in time for happy hour, 1/2 off drinks & apps @ Alonzo's). It was amazing and I highly recommend it. I swam with a sea turtle for a least ten minutes and saw tons of beautiful fish. We went out to the reef and snorkeled for a out 45 min then got back on boat and stopped along the reef again to snorkel for another 45 min. We were given beer, wine, champagne on return and the crew was beyond friendly to us the entire time.

Maybe this could work for your group....

Los Angeles
posts: 3,909
reviews: 44
7. Re: A day/1-night Snorkeling trip to Key West from Miami

just to reiterate, if it's a holiday weekend you 'll be looking at very long drive times to go from Miami to Key West. At least 4-5 hours at peak times (each way), maybe longer if there's a wreck.

I'm not sure where you heard that the coral reefs around Key West are so special. Key Largo is known as the dive capital of the world. Maybe you've got them mixed up?

There's a ton of things to do in Key West but I just can't suggest it for all the drive time that you'll be doing. Maybe if you spent the night it would be worth the hassles, but I would only tell an enemy to "make the trip all the way from Miami to Key West on a holiday weekend to find the best snorkeling".

JENSEN BEACH
posts: 7,241
reviews: 30
8. Re: A day/1-night Snorkeling trip to Key West from Miami

No way would I brave the traffic from Miami to Key West to snorkel! Leaving early am will NOT avoid heavy traffic as lots and lots of S Floridians head to the keys to fish/dive/snorkel that weekend. Snorkeling is very good in Key Largo and numerous operators can take you to the reefs in Pennekamp Park. There will be live music at several local places there over the Holiday weekend. Not sure you will get rooms for only one night this late though. You might try Bayside Inn, Holiday Inn, Courtyard Marriott any hotels near MM 100-102 as that puts you in walking distance of bars, restaurants, marina etc. The farthest I would consider going is Islamorada Chesapeake Lodge, Postcard Inn, Pelican's Cove etc... Of course you could go down and back to Miami if only going to Key Largo but we love getting off the highway and enjoying the fantastic water for as long as we can.

Saint Louis...
posts: 98
9. Re: A day/1-night Snorkeling trip to Key West from Miami

We are just finishing our KW vaca and snorkeled twice while here. I can't say the snorkeling is worth that long of a haul. We had a lovely time and the water is beautiful, but I've had better snorkeling elsewhere. I too would try key largo before coming all the way here for snorkeling. Now, with that said, we have absolutely had a blast in KW (plan on writing a trip report soon). It has really been a fun trip and we can't wait to come back. So I'd say if you do come, def plan on staying the night or two, I doubt you'd be disappointed!

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