In the middle of Florida’s Gulf Coast, Clearwater offers truly special snorkeling opportunities. In some places, easily accessed snorkeling sites are right off the beach. And tours in the Clearwater area take snorkelers to freshwater springs, clear rivers, the home waters of marine mammals and other locations. To take full advantage of these opportunities, you will need to invest in some equipment as well as take some minor precautions.
Items you will need
- Snorkel mask
- Snorkel fins
- Water-resistant sunblock rated SPF 25 or higher
Buy your own snorkeling kit. This will permit you to snorkel independently at places such as Indian Rocks Beach, eight miles south of Clearwater. At other area freshwater sites, including the Rainbow River or Blue Springs, you can snorkel on your own or as part of a tour. Even if you do not intend to snorkel often after the trip to Clearwater, it’s still a good idea to buy your own kit, because the equipment is inexpensive. The minimum requirements: a snorkel, a mask and a pair of fins.
Add a snorkel vest to your kit if you are a poor swimmer. Be sure to ask for one if you do not buy a kit of your own and join a snorkeling tour.
Apply a thick coat of water-resistant sunblock, rated SPF 25 or higher, to the back of your neck. Put it on your shoulders and upper back as well if you will not be wearing a T-shirt or wetsuit. The Florida sun is strong, and snorkelers spend a lot of time looking down, so these are the areas most prone to sunburn. Do not put any sunblock on your face, as it will fog your snorkel mask.
Wear socks if you buy full-foot fins or are issued them by a tour. With offshore reefs, inland springs and manatees to see in the Clearwater area, you can potentially do a lot of snorkeling. The rubberized heel of the full-foot fin can chafe at unprotected ankles, but socks will help protect your skin.
Book yourself onto at least one snorkeling tour while in the Clearwater area. Certainly, you can snorkel independently, but you do not want to miss the opportunity to see the offshore reefs or to swim with the manatees. To do either of these things in the Clearwater area, you must join a tour.