When you think of snorkeling and SCUBA you automatically think of the Caribbean, Australia, or the Maldives. You definitely don’t think of the coast of the United States. It’s close to home, it lacks the clarity and the warmth of the Caribbean and, quite frankly, it’s just not exotic. Or at least that’s what many people think.

But don’t dismiss the US just yet, because while there are certainly many areas that are not ideal for snorkeling, there are also a huge number that are a perfect fit. These are some of the best and most underrated snorkeling hotspots in the Americas.

Bailey’s Harbor, Wisconsin

Wisconsin is not the first state you think of when it comes to snorkeling hotspots, but a visit to Bailey’s Harbor will change your mind.

This snorkeling spot will take you on an adventure, showing you shipwrecks that are hundreds of years old and getting you up-close-and-personal with some breathtaking underwater sights courtesy of Lake Michigan.

Destin, Florida

Located on the Emerald Coast, the city of Destin is a tourist paradise, an often-overlooked jewel in Florida’s crown. It has the whitest beaches you will ever see, with sand as white as sugar and sea as green as Emeralds (ergo the nickname The Emerald Coast).

If you’re wondering what all this has to do with snorkeling, the answer lies just off the coast of Destin with a company known as Flippers Adventures. They offer dolphin cruises, sunset cruises and snorkeling adventures and they are all available for a very affordable price, even during the peak season.

The best thing about these snorkel adventures is that you can bring the whole family along. It’s safe, it’s clean, and it’s cheap even if you have a handful of kids in tow. See this page on where to go snorkeling in Destin to learn more.

Block Island, Rhode Island

A short drive away from Rhode Island will bring you to Block Island, a serene spot situated in-between Montauk and Martha’s Vineyards. It has been called the Bermuda of the North, and once you slip on your flippers and take a dunk in the clear waters you will understand why.

You’ll see some marine life and coral reefs, with colors so bright you’ll think you’re off the shores of the Caribbean.

Peanut Island, Florida

Another great snorkeling spot in the Sunshine State, Peanut Island is best visited during the summer and the spring, but it’s open all year long if you don’t mind water that is a little cooler.

There is a wealth of wildlife living here and you’ll get to rub noses—or tentacles—with some of the weirdest and most wonderful of it.

Kankakeee, Illinois

You won’t see a lot of colorful tropical fish in this snorkeling hotspot, but you will get to swim through shipwrecks and enjoy some other pieces of marine history. It’s located in Haigh Quarry, where a dive to the depths will take you close to military trucks and equipment as well as houses and the aforementioned ships.

There are some fish as well, but the waters are much murkier and the fish much less colorful than the other snorkeling hotspots mentioned on this list.

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