Location: Just a short drive north of Fort Lauderdale beach is the Lauderdale By The Sea beach.
LAT/LONG 26.188833, -80.093333
Description: This is a mostly flat reef in about ten feet of water with an abundance of life.
Notes For this Snorkel: This was my fist time taking a paddleboard out to snorkel from. I went very early in the morning while the ocean was still flat, as I’m still getting the hang of using a paddleboard. The water was crystal clear with no current whatsoever. I couldn’t carry was much gear as I would in a kayak, but using a paddleboard really beats swimming out from shore to the reef. I was worried about taking too much stuff on the paddleboard and the left a few things behind, like my weight belt. Everything went really well today so taking a few more items next time, like my weight belt.
Location: Vista Park Reef located about 1000 feet from shore out of Vista Park.
LAT/LONG 26.16313, -80.09574
Description: This is a secluded little gem mostly known only to locals. The reef is a short swim straight out from the beach area just past the no boats allowed buoy so you must have a dive flag. The water depth is from about 8 to 20 feet. Slack high tide will provide the clearest water but the water is also deeper. The reef itself is a mostly flat reef with patches of coral, lots of sea fans and scattered fish. Overall this reef seems much more healthy than further north near the fishing pier.
I pulled a pool float along with my dive flag so that I could relax on once I was out to the reef. Christy just pulled her torpedo dive flag. The ocean was flat but visibility was only somewhat decent, but very enjoyable. We spent just under two hours exploring the reef until a strong current started pulling us north. Because of the current we ended up having a bit of a walk back to our car once we got back to shore.
Parking: Depending on the day, get there very early or be ready to spend sometime waiting for someone to leave freeing up a parking space. There is a central parking meter takes credit cards, change, paper money and pay by phone.
Amenities: One fresh water shower. Picnic tables, BBQ grills.