Snorkeling is the perfect vacation activity for families, couples, and groups of friends. Imagine swimming with swarms of yellowtail snapper, spotted parrotfish, blue tangs, and great barracudas in the pristine turquoise waters of Alligator Reef. It’s part of the only living coral barrier reef in the United States, and on bright days snorkelers may experience up to 100 feet of visibility in the calm waters.
Only four nautical miles from Indian Key, the reef is marked by a 136-foot tall lighthouse named after the 1800’s Navy schooner, Alligator, that protected the islands from dangerous pirates. Aptly, the lighthouse was built to warn sailors of the reef that had left several vessels shipwrecked. Today over 500 marine species live in the waters, which is one of the largest reefs in the Upper Keys. Spend the day snapping underwater photos while admiring the vibrant tropical colors and rich biodiversity. It’s a can’t-miss Islamorada experience only 30-minutes from the shore.