Your Shopping List for the Best Kids Snorkel Gear!

A young boy snorkets in Mexico on a sunny, clear day.
Photo Courtesy: Edith Arteaga-Medina
Xel Há Park, Quintana Roo, Mexico

What are the best options for kids snorkel gear? From masks to snorkels, vests, and fins, there are a variety of kid-friendly items parents should purchase before snorkeling with kids for the first time. I’ve had a range of experiences snorkeling with my kids, with some excellent days and some really tough ones. But the most important ingredient for success is having the right gear – and that means investing in a well-fitting kid’s snorkel set and making sure you have access to a safe personal flotation device for kids. With all the options online, however, it may be hard to know where to start. Using my own personal expertise and advice from my website Active Scuba, I’ve rounded up some suggestions for parents shopping for a snorkeling adventure. Read on for the best snorkel gear for kids of all ages – even the elusive toddler snorkel mask!

First, Know What to Look for in Kids Snorkel Gear

A mom wearing snorkel gear holds her young son in the water off the coast of Dry Tortugas National Park.
Photo Courtesy: Jillian
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, United States

Before you buy kids snorkel gear, understand what you should be searching for. One of the most important factors when purchasing children’s snorkeling gear is that it won’t leak. Leaking in the mask will block their views, which can ruin the whole experience. Plus, leaking in the snorkel could be dangerous if the child doesn’t know how to blow the water back out and they end up swallowing it. Make sure your gear properly fits your child’s face to avoid this issue. Of course, ensuring their comfort is also an important part of snorkeling with kids for the first time. Only the person who’s wearing it can tell you this! Even if everything looks like it fits, be sure to ask your child if it’s comfortable. Fins that are slightly scratchy might be okay now, for example, but after an hour or so, they’ll be very uncomfortable!

Then, Buy the Best Kids Snorkel Gear!

A close up of two snorkelers wearing black wet suits and blue goggles, snorkeling off the coast of Iceland.
Photo Courtesy: Jennifer Seibert Micklash
Silfra, Iceland

Now that you know what you’re looking for, I’m sure you’re ready to buy some of the best snorkeling gear for kids! Between masks, fins, wetsuits, and more, kids of all ages will be able to join in on the underwater fun. Now, let’s get to the specific recommendations for kids snorkel gear!

Snorkeling Masks For Kids

A mom and child snorkel underwater at Dry Tortugas National Park wearing snorkel masks, an important component to kids snorkel gear.
Photo Courtesy: Jillian
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, United States

When looking for the best snorkel mask for kids, focus on the fit. Simply put, if it fits too loose, water will seep through. When it’s too tight, it’ll hurt and affect circulation. To ensure a mask fits properly, place it on top of your child’s face without the straps to see if there are any gaps. If there are, try another one. Once you find one, have your child wear it with the strap and adjust it until it is not too loose or tight. Then, carefully examine the entire skirt of the mask (all the parts that touch the face) and make sure there are no holes anywhere. If you can, have your child inhale without straps and see if the mask stays on. If it doesn’t stay on, you should keep looking for a better fit. Sometimes young children have trouble performing this activity.

Our recommendations for snorkel masks for kids:

  • The Speedo Store Unisex Child’s Swim Mask is available on Amazon, starting at $16.73. Buy now.
  • The Supertrip Kids Snorkel Mask is available on Amazon, starting at $13.99. Buy now.
  • The Swimline 9471 Thermotech Mask is available on Amazon, starting at $10.31. Buy now.

Snorkel for Kids

A young child child snorkels with a pink snorkel tube, an important component to kids snorkel gear, at Dry Tortugas National Park.
Photo Courtesy: Jillian
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, United States

A snorkel is the tube piece that your child has to bite down on, allowing them to breathe while snorkeling. One common problem with snorkels is that the mouthpiece that goes inside the mouth (the rubber knobs) is too big. When this happens, it will be very uncomfortable for your child and water will leak in. Your child should be able to bite down on the mouthpiece comfortably and it should fit snugly, creating a seal from outside water. You need to know two additional terms about snorkels are “purge snorkel” and “dry snorkel.” Dry snorkels, like the Gintenco Kids Dry Top Snorkel, have an additional piece that prevents water from coming through the top of the snorkel. Purge snorkels, such as the Finis Orignal Center Mount Snorkel allow children to blow out any water that gets in. It’s also compatible with multiple masks if you already own one. 

Our recommendations for snorkel tubes for kids:

  • The Finis Original Center-Mount Snorkel is available on Amazon, starting at $19.99. Buy now.
  • The Gintenco Kids Dry Top Snorkel is available on Amazon, starting at $24.95. Buy now.

Snorkel Fins for Kids

A young child snorkels underwater with proper flippers, an important component to kids snorkel gear, in Okinawa, Japan.
Photo Courtesy: Bethany Britton
Okinawa, Japan

Fins are also helpful when buying kids snorkeling gear. Since children tend to grow quickly, fins allow parents to adjust them to children’s ever-changing size. That way, you can use them for several years, instead of buying new ones as children grow. Fins need to fit well! If they’re too tight, they’ll cut off the child’s circulation. When too loose, they’ll fall off when the child tries to kick. There’s nothing wrong with full foot fins with no adjustable strap, though your child will probably get less use from them and outgrow them faster. However, if they’re more comfortable in them, go for a pair like the CAPAS Snorkel Fins, which come in a kid’s size for ages nine to thirteen. You should also make sure the fins are flexible like the Cressi Kids Snorkeling Fins, not too rigid. Rigid fins are more difficult for beginners to swim in.

Our recommendations for snorkel fins for kids:

  • The Cressi Kids Snorkeling Fins are available on Amazon, starting at $9.99. Buy now.
  • The CAPAS Snorkel Fins are available on Amazon, starting at $23.95. Buy now.

Snorkeling Set for Kids

A young boy snorkels in the Mushroom Reef in Fiji.
Photo Courtesy: Anonymous
Mushroom Reef, Fiji

To bundle your kid’s snorkeling equipment, parents should also consider investing in a snorkeling set. That way everything you need – a snorkel, mask, etc. – comes from the same place. They’re also more likely to fit with one another if bought in a set. We recommend the Cressi Youth Snorkeling Set, made for kids ages seven to fifteen. It comes with a mask and snorkel made with hypoallergenic silicone, along with open heel fins with adjustable straps. There’s enough room for kids to keep growing, which is useful if you plan to keep your gear for multiple seasons. The dry top snorkel also has a clip to keep it attached to the mask’s strap. This set is highly recommended by experts in terms of kids snorkeling gear!

Our recommendation for youth snorkeling sets:

  • The Cressi Youth Snorkeling Set is available on Amazon, starting at $44.95. Buy now.

Snorkel Vests for Kids

A mother and son snorkel in Ko Tao, Thailand. The boy wears a snorkel vest, an important component to kids snorkel gear
Photo Courtesy: Heather Blackwell
Ko Tao, Thailand

A snorkel vest is crucial for your child’s safety. As one of the most important items on our list of best snorkeling gear for kids, they’re a little different from normal swimming vests because they allow kids to face down. They also have additional straps to keep them in place. In addition to safety, buying your little snorkeler a kid-friendly vest will also just give them a better overall experience because they won’t have to work as hard to stay afloat during your excursion. There are plenty of good snorkel vests in the market so choosing one is easy. I recommend the Gogokids Kids Buoyancy Jacket, made from neoprene for warmth and buoyancy. The O’Neill Youth Reactor Life Vest is more multi-purpose for activities such as snorkeling, water skiing, and tubing, complete with a foam core. Most are bright colors to help parents spot their child easily. 

Our recommendations for snorkel vests for kids:

  • The Gogokids Kids Buoyancy Jacket is available on Amazon, starting at $27.99. Buy now.
  • The O’Neill Youth Reactor USCG Life Vest is available on Amazon, starting at $67.95. Buy now.

Wetsuits for Kids

A mom and son snorkel in black wetsuits in the Great Baarrier Reef.
Photo Courtesy: Danette Gabriella
Great Barrier Reef, Australia

A wetsuit isn’t a must in terms of the best snorkeling gear for youth if your child will only be swimming in the pool. But if you plan to be out in the ocean, you might want to get one just in case. It’ll definitely make your snorkeling trip go smoother, not to mention extend it! A wetsuit will keep little ones dry and warm and let them stay in the water longer. Of course, before you buy one, just make sure it’s the right size. A good one should fit snugly around the neck, the wrists, and the ankles. You can buy a full-body wetsuit or a short-sleeved wetsuit depending on your child’s preference. Skyone makes a durable Kids Wetsuit, made from neoprene to ensure a comfortable fit. It also has an easy slip-on back! The O’Neill Youth Reactor Full Wetsuit is also great for more seasoned snorkelers. 

Our recommendations for wetsuits for kids:

  • The Skyone Kids Girls Wetsuit is available on Amazon, starting at $34.98. Buy now. 
  • The Skyone Kids Boys Wetsuit is available on Amazon, starting at $34.99. Buy now. 
  • The O’Neill Youth Reactor Full Wetsuit is available on Amazon, starting at $94.95. Buy now.
Spring Savings at Beaches Resorts!

Pool Noodles

A young girl snorkels while floating on a purple pool noodle.

A pool noodle is optional, but still a good addition to bring along during your family’s snorkeling adventure. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – the same noodle that your kids use to play in a regular pool can be a nice add-on when snorkeling with little ones. With a variety of colors, they’re also useful for spotting kids in the water, and usually very inexpensive to purchase at your destination. And they’ll likely come in handy too. For one, kids can rest on them to feel more comfortable and buoyant in the water. Beginners who are snorkeling for the first time will appreciate the extra assistance! 

Happy Snorkeling!

A family snorkels in the Surin Islands of Thailand.
Photo Courtesy: Ashley Sanders Potter
Surin Islands, Thailand

We hope you found this list of Best Snorkeling Gear For Kids helpful in your mission to take your children snorkeling. It’s not always the easiest task, but once you get the hang of it, your kids will have a blast snorkeling this summer! 

This article was written by FLT contributor Thomas Collins of Active Scuba. Check out his reviews of snorkeling gear and other family tips on his website. Or check out our snorkeling gear for kids review Snorkeling Gear For Kids: What You Need To Know!

*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. 

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