The Florida Keys are also famous for diving and snorkeling. It is home to the continental United States’ only living-coral barrier reef which runs the length of the keys about 5 miles offshore. There are shallow reefs for snorkelers and a variety of deeper reefs for different experience levels of divers. We also have shipwrecks and sunken ships for your diving enjoyment.
Most dive sites are equipped with convenient mooring buoys to save the reef from anchors and make it easy for boaters to tie off. Protecting the reef is top priority. The reef is part of the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary.
The lower keys is home to the Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Named for the HMS Looe which ran aground here in 1744, Looe Key Reef is just 5.3 sq. nautical miles, yet within this small area is a tremendous variety of both coral structure and marine life. Looe Key Reef offers a vast variety of tropical marine species. A complete reef ecosystem can be found here.
The other famous dive spot in the lower keys is the Adolphus Busch Sr. a 210 foot former island freighter. It was purchased by the local dive community when generous assistance of Adolphus Busch IV and intentionally sunk on December 5, 1998. The ship sunk perfectly upright and intact in just 100 feet of water some seven miles southwest of Big Pine Key.