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Diving Florida Keys Lower Reefs List and GPS Coordinates

Diving Florida Keys is just as fantastic in Key West and the Lower Keys as it is up north in Key Largo and Marathon Florida.

You'll find that there is a lot of diversification in the type of Florida Keys dive sites available.

Plus scuba diving in Key West has a different quality of dive experience.

Without question, some of the world's top diving sites are found right here.

Looe Key Reef has been in the top 10 for 10 years. It will undoubtedly continue to do so, as it's a SPA area and the marine life gets more magnificent with each passing year.

Tropical Queen Angelfish

Tropical Fish Are Part of A Scuba Diving Key West Experience
Courtesy of, Photo by A. Bourque

Scuba Diving Key West
and Lower Keys Reefs

When scuba diving Florida Keys, the different coral reefs you'll want to explore in the Key West area are listed below. They're in order from northeast to southwest, Atlantic side, then Gulf side. Each highlighted name will link you to a separate page that provides detailed information on that particular dive spot.

Keep in mind that GPS coordinates are not always exact. Depending on who provides the coordinates, and where they're taken, their accuracy can be impacted.

If you treat these dive site GPS coordinates as a good guide and remember there could be a slight variation or discrepancy, you won't be disappointed. You'll certainly be within reasonable distance of your target when scuba diving Key West reefs.

Atlantic Side:

Newfound Harbor
24 38.768 N 081 23.206W

Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve
24 38.40N 081 21.51W

Looe Key Reef
24 32.939N 081 24.031W

American Shoal
24 31.568N 081 31.383W

Pelican Shoal
24 30.01N 081 37.84W

Sambo Reefs
24 29.50N 081 39.80W - Eastern
24 29.71N 081 41.79W - Middle
24 28.81N 081 42.87W - Western

Toppino's Reef
24 28.430N 081 42.970W

9 Foot Stake
24 28.294N 081 45.855W

Rock Key and Eastern Dry Rocks
24 27.26N 081 51.51W

Stargazer Sculpture
24 27.32N 081 51.97NW

Sand Key
24 27.1N 081 52.58W

Western Dry Rocks
24 26.68N 081 55.59W

Ten Fathom Ledge
24 25.972N 081 57.021W

Gulf Side:

Content Keys
24 47.830N 081 29.330W

Cottrell Key
24 36.74N 081 55.63W

Marquesas Keys
24 28.800N 082 07.950W

Scuba Diving Key West and Lower Keys
Interesting Regions and Features

When diving Florida Keys you also have another interesting, unique and important maritime feature - the Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve. Part of this is a tropical lagoon which provides an oasis for birds, key deer and other animals.

This sheltered lagoon portion is separated from the open Atlantic by a chain of islands and their patch reefs. Together they form the Newfound Harbor Keys. Exploring the reefs and Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve will provide you with amazing photographic opportunities, and an educational experience you won't soon forget.

Schooling Bluefish

Blue Tang Schooling, Photo courtesy of FKNMS

In fact, the Preserve is so conducive to learning, that the Boys Scouts of America utilize the area to teach their members different marine skills.
Coupon Bight is also home to the Newfound Harbor Marine Institute. Attracting students of all ages from around the world, this educational facility provides a variety of workshops and marine science programs throughout the year.

Another interesting fact about this area is that both of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Ecological Reserves are located here.

The Sambos Reefs are a SPA area and they are comprised of Eastern, Middle and Western. Out of these three, Western Sambo is also one of the Ecological Reserves with the Dry Tortugas National Park being the other.

There's something else you can do when scuba diving Key West that you can't readily do when diving Florida Keys elsewhere. You can go deep when you're checking out a coral reef. In fact, you can expect to go quite deep when you dive the Ten Fathoms Ledge. This dive spot allows the advanced diver a chance to really stretch his flippers and do some serious exploring.

It's also not just the Upper Keys that have statues worth visiting. Of course Christ of the Abyss, and Buddha at Davis Reef are important Florida Keys dive sites, but when scuba diving in Key West you'll find a special work of art. The Stargazer Sculpture is one of the more unusual Key West dive spots a diver will want to add to their list of places to explore.

You also have five Sanctuary Preservation Areas in the Lower Keys. This means you can expect to enjoy a vast abundance and variety of fish as well as interesting specimens of coral when diving Florida Keys.

Sea fan and brain coral

Sea Fan and Brain Coral, Photo FKNMS, Steven Cook

You'll find it handy to carry a Florida Keys dive map or dive card for the area(s) you plan on exploring. This way you'll be fully prepared and know what to expect at each dive site.

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Another distinguishing feature of scuba diving Key West is that unlike further north, you have the opportunity of being able to dive in both the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf side doesn't have the vast coral reef structure that the Atlantic does. However, it makes up for this by having a large number of interesting Florida Keys shipwrecks.

It also has a number of different reefs. We've listed above the ones we consider to be exceptionally worthy. They are Content Keys, Cottrell Key, the Dry Tortugas and of course the Marquesas Atoll.

The Marquesas Keys has several exciting benefits you can take advantage of when you're planning a Key West dive trip south with one of the many dive charters.

First, it gives you an opportunity to visit the only known atoll in the United States.

Second, without question it's a sport fishermans and a Florida Keys snorkeling and diving enthusiast's paradise. Not only does it have a tremendous amount of marine life to enjoy, it's pristine waters are hardly ever traveled.

While scuba diving Florida Keys, you'll feel as if you have the whole ocean just to yourself.

Diving Key Largo and Marathon are wonderful, but there's something about being in the Lower Keys and scuba diving Key West FL.

The water just seems that much warmer, and it's certainly deeper. The Florida fish and coral seem more vibrant and tropical. Of course it doesn't hurt that you have some very interesting dive site options to consider. Next time you're scuba diving Florida Keys, you'll see why this combination makes for a truly remarkable diving vacation.

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Local Weather Zip Codes

Key Largo - 33037
Marathon - 33050
Key West - 33040