What to Wear Snorkeling in the Keys

If you are planning on going snorkeling in the Florida Keys anytime soon, you have probably considered what you should be wearing while doing so. There is a lot of information out there, so we’d like to narrow it down to the information in this blog to help you prepare for a great trip – and a safe one as well. Let’s get into it!

Snorkeling Clothing

If you have ever seen a photo or video of someone snorkeling, you might notice that most of the time, they are face down with their back exposed to sunlight. Prolonged snorkeling without the proper protection can result in a nasty sunburn. We have seen many people not take this seriously over the years and end up getting a painful sunburn on the first day of their trip, making the rest of their time in the keys an uncomfortable mess. Generally, we recommend clothing that will cover your back and keep the sun off of this sensitive skin.

Snorkeling Shirts

There are a lot of different surf companies that sell long and short sleeve t-shirts that would be perfect for snorkeling, but you can also use just a regular old t-shirt if that’s what you prefer. Something to keep in mind while using a regular t-shirt is that it won’t dry very fast when you are finished snorkeling, while the surf shirts are made to go in and out of the water and dry quickly. This may be a minor inconvenience, but we found ourselves preferring the surf shirts over a cotton t-shirt.

Rash Guards for Snorkeling

Another important aspect to consider is protection from things in the water that could cause discomfort, other than the sun. These include stinging things that you may accidentally brush up against, such as fire coral or general scrapes that can happen from brushing up against hard surfaces on accident. A rash guard simply is long-sleeved snorkeling clothing to cover most of your body. Using a rash guard will help protect against these things and keep your experience going swimmingly (pun intended).

Board Shorts and Swimsuits

Consider wearing longer board shorts that go down to your knees while snorkeling. This will help protect your lower body from the sun and any hard surfaces you may brush up against. When choosing the swimsuit you want to snorkel in, consider how much of the body your swimsuit will likely cover and go from there. Do you feel like you might need more protection, or are you okay with having more of your legs exposed to the sun? It depends on your preference, so go with your gut and choose the best swimsuit for you.


You are probably thinking, “If I need protection from the sun, why don’t I just wear sunscreen?” That’s a great point. However, if you are going to rely on sunscreen, make sure to read the label and understand how that particular brand works in water. Depending on how long you would like to be in the water, you may want to purchase sunscreen that lasts longer in the water to prolong your snorkeling excursion and protect your skin.


While you aren’t in the water, make sure you bring a pair of sunglasses that also have UV protection for your eyes. When you are purchasing, choose a stylish pair that also has a small “UV” sticker on the lens. This is how you will know that they have UV protection.


We recommend purchasing oversized beach towels for your snorkeling trip. Many beach towels may run small – leaving you with limited space on the sand to sprawl out and get a good tan.


Make sure to capture the memories! If you would like to take pictures underwater, many shops sell waterproof disposable cameras for this very purpose. Otherwise, your cell phone will likely suffice for any above-the-surface photos.


A pair of fins will come in handy to help you swim around more effectively. If you are going to use fins, make sure you purchase a pair that fits your feet comfortably and will stay snug as you move around.

Enjoy Key Largo with Silent World

We would love to have you visit us in Key Largo! Book your trip and snorkeling experience today.