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Spectacular Western Dry Rocks Is A
Top Key West Snorkeling Dive Site

Western Dry Rocks is a popular Florida Keys snorkeling destination, yet it doesn't have the volume of traffic that Sand Key or some of the other hot Key West snorkeling sites have.

This is also a very popular Key West dive site due to it's considerable variation in depth and marine life inhabiting the area.

This reef diving site also has good spur and groove formation with more cracks, crevices, caves, ledges and cliffs than you typically see when Key West scuba diving.

Near this Key West reef you'll find the water is shallower. This is makes it perfect for Florida Keys snorkeling. The water is also loaded with a complex variety of tropical fish, game fish, and a good variety of colorful coral.

However, as you move further away from this Key West reef, the water tends to get deeper and becomes even more interesting.

Ocean Floor at Western Dry Rocks

Sea Turtle, FKNMS

At the lower depths is where scuba divers will discover the smaller caves and ledges. These are great spots to explore, and you'll also find more of the larger pelagic species in these deeper regions.

The alleyways and gullies are where Key West divers will be able to discover remnants from ships that have wrecked in the area. In particular the schooner Athalia, the brigatine Stranger and the brigatine Cimbus all foundered here in the mid-1800's. Their remains are scattered throughout the gullies, some partially buried under coral and white sand.

Florida Keys Snorkeling and Diving Western Dry Rocks
Courtesy of YouTube and ReefReliefFounder

This site is not just popular with those Florida Keys snorkeling and diving. A number of different species of shark also prefer the water here. This means caution must be exercised at all times for anyone planning a Key West diving trip to this reef.

At-A-Glance Reef Dive Description
and GPS Coordinates

Western Dry Rocks
6 miles SW of Key West, 3 miles west of Sand Key
GPS Co-ordinates
24 26.68N 081 55.59W
Buoys for tying of boats
Novice - Advanced
1 - 120'
Reef Site Description
Sharks can be present so caution is advised. Numerous cracks, crevices, sandy gullies, alleyways, and coral cliffs. Ledges and caves can be found at lower depths and remnants from different shipwrecks are scattered in the gullies and alleyways
Snorkel Site
Very good snorkel site

Marine Life
Bull, lemon, blacktip, hammerhead and nurse sharks, barracuda, snapper, elkhorn, staghorn and other stony and gorgonian coral, grouper, spotted eagle ray, sea turtle, yellowtail, parrotfish, blue tang, moray eels, grunts, tarpon

This Key West snorkeling and reef diving site has all the features scuba divers and snorkelers look for when planning a diving trip. Since this reef offers a greater diversity in depth, and has a strong variation in marine life, this reef diving site is capable of accommodating all levels of interest and skill.

Considering that it's also further west than many of the other Key West dives, the lighter traffic is just another perk you'll enjoy when you include this diving trip in your Florida Keys vacation plans.

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Local Weather Zip Codes

Key Largo - 33037
Marathon - 33050
Key West - 33040