If you have a staycation trip planned for Florida and to go snorkeling in Clearwater beach FL, you may be wondering what the snorkeling is like. There are some places where snorkeling is really no good, like snorkeling Myrtle Beach, which is why it’s important to know what the snorkeling is like in Clearwater before you go.
Clearwater Beach Florida isn’t that special for snorkeling, as it is mostly sandy bottom, but the waters are warm and shallow with mostly good visibility so you can see the seabed. You will see reef fish and hermit crabs and the further you swim from the shoreline the more interesting it becomes.
“If you are talking about snorkeling from shore, it’s nothing special. No coral, just sandy bottom and a few tiny bait fish, maybe a sand dollar if you’re lucky.”Snorkeling in Clearwater – review from Trip Adviser
Is Clearwater Beach good for snorkeling?
Clearwater Beach is okay, but not that special for snorkeling for the following reasons:
- Clear visibility: For snorkeling to be good, the visibility needs to be clear from the surface to the bottom so you can see the seabed. The visibility at Clearwater Beach is mostly good, which means the snorkeling will be good too. But the sandy bottom can get stirred up, which will reduce the visibility and make it more difficult to see things.
- Shallow waters: To enjoy snorkeling off any beach, the depth of water needs to be shallow enough to ideally see the seabed. The waters off Clearwater Beach are shallow enough for snorkeling, which is what makes it an ideal snorkeling beach.
- Interesting rocks to explore: The seabed off Clearwater Beach is mostly a sandy bottom, which is why it’s not ideal, but there are a few rocks as you swim away from the shore and it gets rockier the further you swim out. It is these rocks that provide the fish with shelter and food, which also makes for more interesting snorkeling off Clearwater Beach.
- Coral reefs and fish: There are no coral reefs directly off Clearwater Beach to snorkel, unless you join a snorkeling tour, but there are reef fish just off the beach you will see when snorkeling.
“Snorkeling is not the best here, ar anywhere other than the Keys really. Visibility is not that great, and, it is mostly just sandy bottom you will see.”Re Snorkeling in Clearwater – Review from Trip Adviser.
Clearwater Beach snorkeling tours
Instead of only snorkeling directly from Clearwater Beach, it’s a good idea to book on a Clearwater Beach snorkeling tour, which means you have the opportunity to snorkel on coral reefs, snorkel with manatees and see dolphins too.
When is the best time to snorkel in Clearwater?
The best months to snorkel in Clearwater is from May to October without a wetsuit, when the water temperature is mostly above 26°C (79°F). But if you don’t mind cooler waters below on average 24°C (75°F), you could extend this into April and November or go snorkeling in a wetsuit at this time.
You may want to avoid snorkeling from December through March, when the waters in the Gulf of Mexico are colder. For example, in January the average water temperature is 17°C (62.8°F), rising to 19.5°C (67.1°F) in March.
Is it safe to swim in Clearwater Beach Florida?
It is safe to swim in Clearwater Beach for most of the time and for most people, as the waters are shallow. But at certain times you need to be aware of and be careful about riptides which can wash you out of your depth or red tides in Florida, which can cause skin and eye irritation. It’s worth reading this linked-to red tide article, especially if you suffer from any respiratory disease like asthma.
To stay safe when swimming or snorkeling in Clearwater Beach FL, you should follow the guidance given by the local authorities of Clearwater or the signs on the beach.
For example, when the yellow flags are raised to warn of rip currents, don’t go swimming or snorkeling, unless you are a very strong swimmer and know how to deal with a rip current if you get caught in one. Also, make sure you know how to spot a rip current from the beach too.
Does Clearwater Beach have sharks?
You don’t need to worry about the sharks in Clearwater Beach, as humans are not on the menu and sharks are pretty much everywhere in any case.
Here’s a video of a hammerhead shark spotted by a person on a jetski in the shallows off Clearwater Beach.
You may like to read this article, which explains the great white sharks in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean too. But you don’t really need to worry about great white sharks in Clearwater, as the great white sharks will be in deeper waters offshore.
Have there been any shark attacks at Clearwater Beach?
The last known attack by a shark at Clearwater Beach was in 2009 when a man was bitten on the right foot by a large shark.
The type of shark that bit him is not known, and the man concerned survived the attack. But it is very unlikely for you to be attacked by a shark when swimming or snorkeling at Clearwater Beach.
But you might like to read about how to avoid shark attacks when entering the water by reading the safety tips to avoid shark attacks when entering the water at Myrtle Beach.
Is there alligators in Clearwater Florida?
There are alligators found in Clearwater Florida, which have been found in people’s gardens, homes and in the waters off Clearwater.
Have a read of this article by the Orlando Weekly about an 11 foot alligator found in the kitchen of a Clearwater home.
You may also want to watch the following video of an alligator in the waters in Clearwater Florida too.
Caladesi Island State Park snorkeling
Snorkeling Caladesi Island is another option to consider when you visit Clearwater Beach, which is part of Caladesi Island State Park and is 5 miles north of Clearwater in Dunedin.
The snorkeling is similar to Clearwater Beach, as the bottom is also sandy, but the beach on Caladesi Island tends to be less crowded and are great for collecting shells.
Honeymoon Island snorkeling
Honeymoon Island snorkeling is part of Honeymoon Island State Park and another alternative to Clearwater Beach snorkelling, and about 8 miles north of Clearwater, FL. in Dunedin.
There are more rocks near to the beach of Honeymoon Island, which have coral growths and plenty of reef fish to enjoy when snorkeling here.
Egmont Key snorkeling
Egmont Key snorkeling is part of Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge, which is a snorkelling option about 35 miles south of Clearwater in St. Petersburg, FL. There are some rocks and reefs off Egmont Key to snorkel, which makes it more interesting and you’ll see more fish and loads of sea life.
Scuba diving Clearwater Florida
If you really want to enjoy the waters off the coast from Clearwater Florida, why not try scuba diving instead.
I started out as a snorkeler, which made switching to scuba diving very easy. Plus if you love snorkeling, there’s every chance you’ll also love scuba diving too.
So why not give it a go and learn to scuba dive whilst on your vacation in Clearwater Florida.
I hope you enjoyed this page about snorkeling in Clearwater Florida
If you have more questions either about snorkelling or scuba diving (or specifically about scuba snorkeling in Clearwater Florida), please comment below with your questions.
Please share your experiences, plus dive sites, resorts and liveaboards you recommend. Share the time of year of your trip together with what you saw, the visibility, currents and dive operator, as this will help others who read this page.
There will also be many more pages and articles about scuba and scuba diving safety tips (and on snorkelling too) for you to read and learn about this fabulous sport.
Have fun and be safe!