From the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean and beyond, snorkeling with kids is an exciting way to explore the water and marine life. Kids will absolutely adore seeing sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, colorful fish, coral, and other oceanic creatures while exploring the ocean floor as a family. Snorkeling is an extraordinary family activity that can be experienced in various locations around the world and still feel different every time you go. These diverse locations offer varying amenities, marine critters, and water temperatures, to assist you in finding the best kid-friendly snorkeling location for your family. Grab your gear, and let’s discover the 13 Best Places to Snorkel with Kids Around the World!
Please note, some of these locations may be more suitable for advanced snorkelers. Additional research is suggested before deciding which location is best for your family.
Best Locations for Snorkeling with Kids in the United States
If you’re looking for the best snorkeling location in the United States with kids, check out these two locations recommended by families in our community. Promising calm waters and an abundance of marine life, both Hanauma Bay and Dry Tortugas National Park offer ideal spots to snorkel with beginners too!
Hanauma Bay, Hawaii
Don’t want to leave the US for your snorkeling adventure? Hawaii is a great option! Here, you can even snorkel with sea turtles right off the shore. Our families highly recommend Hanauma Bay for snorkeling with kids in Hawaii. Located on the south side of Oahu, you will discover calm shallow waters, a plethora of marine life (including a variety of colorful fish!), and pristine white sand. In fact, you can even snorkel with your family inside Hanauma Bay State Park. Typically, travelers rent snorkeling gear within the state park, but due to COVID-19, this service has been temporarily suspended. Families should plan to bring their own gear. The snack bar also continues to be closed, however, families can bring their own food to picnic on the beach! Finally, families staying in Oahu should also consider the Oahu GO Card, which includes snorkeling in Hanauma Bay.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Next on our list of kid-friendly snorkeling locations is Dry Tortugas National Park. Located in the southwest corner of the Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas National Park is best enjoyed in the water! Its protected waters and low ocean current mean your family will encounter an abundance of large and colorful oceanic creatures. Plus, the most popular site to explore is a shipwreck! Kids will adore Windjammer, now home to a variety of marine life, including the 200-pound Atlantic goliath grouper! Another popular spot to snorkel with kids in Dry Tortugas National Park is outside the moat wall of Fort Jefferson. Take in a piece of American history when you snorkel here. Kids can spot sea creatures like lobsters, crabs, shrimp – and even squid! Due to its calm waters and abundance of marine life, Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the best spots to snorkel with beginners too!
Best Locations for Snorkeling with Kids in the Caribbean & Mexico
Snorkeling with kids in the Caribbean or Mexico can be an excellent way to get kids used to the water and their snorkel gear! Many resorts offer kid-friendly snorkeling on-site, which is a great way for kids to get a taste of the water and learn to trust their skills. In fact, many resorts also offer snorkel gear for beginners too! This way, your family can explore one of the best places to snorkel with kids in a safe environment before families invest in new gear.
Almost all of Bonaire’s water is legally protected as part of a National Marine Park. Bonaire offers a few sandy beaches, but many of its beaches are comprised of coral rubble or ironstone. This means water shoes are a must, especially for little feet. However, less sand also means the water in many spots is crystal clear! You will have phenomenal visibility here, which means Bonaire offers some of the best snorkeling in the world with kids! Most snorkeling spots in this Caribbean island can be accessed right off the shore, so you don’t have to spend extra money on renting a boat. Tori’s Reef provides easy shore-entry snorkeling for families. Here, kids can test the waters, literally! Grab your snorkel gear and glimpse sea life like sea turtles, eels, rays, and more! Beginner and advanced snorkelers will appreciate snorkeling from crowd-free beaches on this picturesque Caribbean island.
Turks & Caicos
If you’re looking for calm waters for kid-friendly snorkeling, then Turks and Caicos is ideal! Turks and Caicos is an archipelago, meaning there are many places to explore protected reefs, greet colorful fish, and have family-fun in the water. The Bight Reef and Smith’s Reef are accessible from the beach and serve as two popular places to snorkel. In Turks and Caicos, you can also opt to snorkel from the beach or embark on a snorkel cruise. Snorkel cruises offer guided open water snorkeling for kids to spot an array of sea creatures. Snorkel cruises mainly tour the barrier reef and sites to the north and northeast of Providenciales. Families can find several tour operators fitting diverse needs and budgets. Beginners who stick to beach snorkeling won’t be disappointed, however, as they can still expect to see vibrant fish, sea creatures, and a stingray or sea turtle or two!
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Located in the Yucatán Peninsula, this Mexican state is home to Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and other destinations families love. Quintana Roo also offers some of the best spots to snorkel with kids! Due to its location within the Gulf of Mexico, and on the Caribbean side of Mexico, snorkeling in Quintana Roo offers an outstanding variety of underwater environments and oceanic creatures to enjoy. Here, you will discover clear emerald green waters, as well as sea critters like whale sharks and sea turtles! Quintana Roo also offers opportunities to snorkel in open ocean environments and Mexico’s iconic cenotes! Akumal Bay offers the most famous (and busiest) location for snorkeling along the Riviera Maya. It’s also a great spot for greeting sea turtles and stingrays, however! Then, Puerto Morelos, near Cancun, offers a stunning reef that will impress both beginner and advanced snorkelers alike.
Those looking to explore a nearby cenote should consider Casa Cenote, Cenote Pet Cemetery, or Cenote Dos Ojos. Whether you are looking to swim the open ocean with sea turtles or explore a cenote, many tour operators can meet your family’s needs and budget. Often, resorts will also offer protected areas for beginners to explore safe waters and meet small marine creatures. Check with your resort for local recommendations on the best places to snorkel with kids in Quintana Roo!
Best Locations for Snorkeling with Kids in Asia & the South Pacific
Adventurous families will love exploring the waters of the South Pacific and nearby Asian countries! Here, you can glimpse vibrant sea creatures, as well as stay in lush environments, offering the ideal location to make family memories in and out of the water! Check out our parent-recommended locations for the best snorkeling spots in the South Pacific and Asia!
Bora Bora and Mo’orea
If you’re looking for crystal clear lagoon waters with active sea-life, a trip to Bora Bora or Mo’orea may be perfect for your water-loving family! Both locations offer families different opportunities to explore the ocean depths, with Mo’orea typically being more cost-effective. Many families suggest Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa and Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort as kid-friendly snorkeling locations. Both offer quality locations for shore-entry snorkeling. Then, in Bora Bora, book a boat cruise to discover stunning underwater scenery. This is also your best chance to snorkel with sharks! In calmer lagoon waters, families can also enjoy clear, shallow depths and get to meet local stingrays. Water shoes are also a plus here when tours include time on rocky beaches or nearby hiking. Finally, you can even book an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora or Mo’orea and walk straight into the water off your private deck!
What Our Families Say
“The water around Mo’orea and Bora Bora was so calm, clear and warm. We felt very comfortable with our little kids splashing around on the beaches. We took two day trips, one to see the tiger sharks and one to see the sting rays. The kids loved being able to be so close to sharks and the sting rays and didn’t really need to get off the boat for great visibility! The only drawback is now when we visit other beaches for holiday they always ask why it is not as blue as Bora Bora lol!”– Kristin Delaney
Fiji is an archipelago located in the South Pacific. Known as the Soft Coral Capital of the World, you can glimpse over 400 species of coral when snorkeling here! In fact, kids will delight in just how many colors of coral they can spot (including pink, purple, yellow, and more!). The Blue Lagoon Beach Resort in the Yasawa Islands is highly recommended by many of our families. Here, you will feel like you’re swimming in an aquarium, making this one of the best places to snorkel with kids. Kids will adore paddling around and pointing out colorful fish! Many resorts in Fiji also offer beach-entry snorkeling, which is perfect for lazy days on the water with kids. You can also opt to book a boat and enjoy a guided snorkeling excursion with kids. In the water, prepare to meet thousands of varieties of fish, manta rays, and other ocean critters.
The Maldives is next on our list of kid-friendly snorkeling locations! This small archipelago is located in South Asia, just southwest of Sri Lanka and India. If you’re serious about snorkeling in the Maldives, we recommend staying at a snorkeling resort with access to one of the nearly 900 house reefs in the Maldives. While difficult to find, you can also consider booking a snorkeling liveaboard trip (best with teens). In the Maldives, you will experience an abundance of sea life, including an impressive variety of fish. In fact, many consider the Maldives as offering the best snorkeling in the world. Families snorkeling here can expect to see thousands of fish, many unique to this area. Banana Reef and HP Reef offer some of the area’s best snorkeling. Here, kids will delight in schools of fish that come in all colors of the rainbow!
Thailand is a world-class snorkeling destination with pristine beaches and lush reefs. As such, Thailand offers some of the best snorkeling in the world with kids. Depending on your luck, you might even come face to face with a whale shark or a manta ray! In Thailand, you can find several resorts that provide easy-access snorkeling. Families can also consider a liveaboard trip, where you can snorkel all day and stay on a yacht at night (best for teens). Those staying near Koh Samui should consider taking a ferry to Koh Tao (also known as Turtle Island). Sail Rock is another iconic Thai location for kid-friendly snorkeling. No matter where you choose to snorkel, you can expect to see vibrant schools of fish, rainbow-colored coral, and even a sea turtle or barracuda! Finally, grab your mask and fins and get ready for a grand marine adventure in Thailand!
Another archipelagic country in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is one of the best spots to snorkel with kids! The Philippines is also part of the Coral Triangle, which is widely known as the epicenter of global marine biodiversity. Here, you can expect to see an impressive array of sea life and underwater worlds! Kids will love identifying sea creatures like manta rays, whale sharks, sea turtles, and thousands of vibrant reef fish! Plus, families will swim amongst colorful coral gardens, providing the perfect backdrop to making a lifetime of family memories! Families looking for kid-friendly snorkeling in the Philippines should consider Cabilao, Anda- Bohol, or Coron- North Palawan, to name a few locations. History buffs will love spotting WWII planes among the reefs at Coron- North Palawan! No matter what type of sea life you want to encounter, snorkeling with kids in the Philippines is sure to exceed your expectations!
Best Locations for Snorkeling with Kids in Central & South America
Both Central and South America, respectively, offer additional amazing opportunities for snorkeling with kids. Here, families can explore diverse underwater worlds in Belize and the Galápagos Islands. As two of the best places to snorkel with kids, you will encounter warm waters and diverse marine creatures here.
Home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, Belize is a prime spot for snorkeling with kids. In Belize, you’ll find clear turquoise waters, hundreds of cayes, and an abundance of tropical fish. Belize hosts some of the world’s most impressive marine parks, including Southwater Caye Marine Reserve and the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Both of which offer incredible snorkeling opportunities for families. Or, visit the popular Ambergris Caye area for easy access to snorkeling and comfortable accommodations. Adventurous families can take a boat ride or rent a catamaran to explore the Outer Atolls, where you will find the world-famous Blue Hole. Belize offers year-round snorkeling, so there is no bad time to go! You can hit the water on your own time and at your own pace. Whether you are new to snorkeling or advanced, you’ll find snorkeling locations that fit your skills and experience level in Belize.
What Our Families Say
“What makes it the best is the diverse ocean life for example the ray and nurse shark here. They also gave shark ray alley and it is amazing snorkel full of nurse sharks. “– Sylvia Kubiak
“Snorkeling the 2nd largest reef system in the world, Belize was full of beautiful fish, colorful reefs, and even some predatory surprises. We came face to face with sharks, barracuda, and moray eels. There was never a time we didn’t see a sea creature floating by.”– Alison Netzer
The Galápagos Islands
Looking for more than the standard tropical fish and reefs on your next snorkeling adventure? Add the Galápagos Islands to your list! Here, you can swim with sea turtles, sharks, and manta rays, as well as numerous vibrant fish species. Due to its biodiversity on land and in the water, the Galápagos Islands offers some of the best snorkeling in the world with kids, as well as incredible land adventures for animal-loving families. Off-shore waters are warm, and often shallow, making the Galápagos Islands a fantastic place for beginners and experts alike. Get up close and personal with ocean legends, including Galápagos fur seals, as you explore this extraordinary destination. Devil’s Crown and Pinnacle Rock offer fantastic locations to snorkel. In fact, you may even spot a penguin at Pinnacle Rock! Ultimately, do your research on the best time to go, as water temperatures can affect which creatures you encounter.
What Our Families Say
“We loved snorkeling in the Galápagos to see the turtles. The amount of hammerhead sharks and shark fins I could see from our snorkeling spot made me super uncomfortable. But no one else seemed to care? The currents were a bit strong, but we were with a very experienced dive crew and not too far off shore.”– Diane Oliveira
Best Locations for Snorkeling with Kids in Australia
Finally, and perhaps most well-known, Australia offers extraordinary kid-friendly snorkeling. It should come as no surprise that the Great Barrier Reef makes our list of the best places to snorkel with kids around the world!
The Great Barrier Reef
Embrace the stunning underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef! As one of the best places to snorkel with kids, you can explore clear waters and meet a plethora of vibrant sea creatures. Many snorkeling tours depart from Cairns; offering day trips dedicated to exploring the ocean depths. Or, charter a liveaboard to explore the Outer Barrier Reef (best with older kids or teens). Whether you have beginner or expert snorkelers, you’ll be able to find tours that fit your skills when exploring the Great Barrier Reef. In fact, there are over a dozen reefs to choose from here! Agincourt Reef is a great option for beginners and less-skilled swimmers, as they can stick to the immediate pontoon area, while more skilled swimmers explore nearby sites. Then, Fitzroy Island is a great full-day experience! Not only does it offer snorkeling, but families can find panoramic hiking on the island too!
From the Great Barrier Reef to Quintana Roo, you are sure to love at least one of the 13 Best Places to Snorkel with Kids Around the World on this list! Snorkeling is a great way for families to stay active while on vacation and make a lifetime of memories together. Not to mention, marine-loving kids can delight in meeting their favorite ocean legends like sharks, sea turtles, and stingrays! Whether your family desires a tropical Caribbean getaway or an adventurous family trip to the South Pacific, you can incorporate snorkeling into your family’s travel itinerary. Happy snorkeling!
Thank You to Our Community!
A special thank you to the Families Who Love to Travel Facebook community who generously shared their travel advice and top picks for this list of the 13 Best Places to Snorkel with Kids Around the World! We could not have compiled such a thoughtful or robust list of kid-friendly snorkeling locations around the world without their dedication to our community. Families Who Love To Travel is a group of amazing families who also love to adventure and explore through travel. Join the Facebook community and the Instagram community (@families.love.travel) to connect with other families who also love the unique experiences travel has to offer – including discovering the best places to snorkel with kids!
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the best places to snorkel with kids on this list may be temporarily closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision.
*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.