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Discover 7 Reasons Why Beautiful Elbow Reef Is Worth A Diving Trip

Elbow Reef is the perfect destination for a Florida Keys snorkeling or Key Largo diving trip.

Several factors combine to make this particular dive spot special.

First the reef is home to numerous wrecks which in themselves are well worth exploring.

Mike's Wreck now finally known as the Hannah M. Beel, the City of Washington, and the Tonawanda are underwater photography meccas well worth planning dive trips to.

Second, this reef is perfect for anyone scuba diving Florida Keys at night because of it's lighted tower.

Third, because there are some very nice shallow areas, it's a terrific spot to learn how to dive or for anyone Florida Keys snorkeling.

Fourth, this is a SPA protected area, so not only is the coral abundant, the fish are varied and plentiful.

Fifth, this reef is positioned further from shore which means it doesn't receive the heavier traffic that other equally fine Key Largo diving sites receive.

Sixth, the water is exceptionally clear since the Gulf Stream passes close by so exploring the reef and wrecks is visually easier.

Seventh, the crystal clear water also means not only will Key Largo diving trips be better due to increased visibility, your underwater photography opportunities will be greater as well.

Just southeast of this area you'll want to explore another spur and groove formation. This is aptly named the Fingers for it's massive elkhorn gorgonian coral. It's famous for the beautiful coral and the hundreds of tropical fish that dart and swim in and around it's colorful branches.

Elbow Reef Map

Elbow Reef Map
Courtesy of

At-A-Glance Reef Diving Description
And GPS Coordinates

Elbow Reef / Wreck Reef
Marked by a 36' tower, the reef is 6 miles offshore Key Largo
GPS Co-ordinates
25 08.61N 080 15.44W
E1 - E10 mooring buoys
Novice - Intermediate
6 - 45'
Very good
Dive Site Description
SPA area. This Key Largo diving site is not as busy due to further out location. Spur and grove coral reef is situated further from shore so numerous ships have wrecked here. City of Washington, Mike's Wreck, and the Tonawanda are here. Name is derived from the shape of reef with its south formation turning southwest. The Deep or Nelson's Ledge is a popular drift dive spot. Since it starts at about 50 feet and drops to 70 feet, the more experienced divers will see some of the larger game fish. Larger barrel sponges and large stony coral such as brain are also plentiful. In the South Ledges area expect to find different sea turtles, rays, and in the deeper section you will find some of the larger pelagic species you won't find at shallower levels
Snorkel Site
Excellent snorkel site as it's a large, shallower reef

Marine Life
Large and beautiful coral heads, some towering 15 feet to form small walls, along with numerous stony and gorgonian coral, crabs, spiny lobster, cleaning shrimp, numerous tropical fish such as angelfish, damselfish, flame oysters, green moray eels

Elbow Reef is one of the best Key Largo diving sites that offers numerous opportunities to explore beautiful coral structures. It also gives you the chance to touch history when paying homage to the numerous Florida Keys shipwrecks that have foundered here.

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Local Weather Zip Codes

Key Largo - 33037
Marathon - 33050
Key West - 33040