About Sombrero Reef
Living coral reefs are found across the globe but the United States only has one. The Florida Keys Reef system is the only one located just off the coast of the United States. The reef is spread out along Florida's southeastern shore and stretches over 221 miles! It extends from Key Biscayne to the Dry Tortugas and is considered to be one of the most beautiful places to dive along the coast of Florida. Dive enthusiasts from all over the country come to the Florida Keys because of the shallow waters and the prime diving conditions; truly a divers paradise!
Florida Keys Reefs
Reefs in the Florida Keys are home to many different types of aquatic life. Parrotfish, grunts, trumpet fish, and yellowtail snappers are just a few of the fish you will see darting in and out of the coral.
As a living reef, the Sombrero Reef is one of the most unique areas for snorkeling and diving that is constantly changing. Just like the wide variety of aquatic creatures who call the coral home, the reefs exhibit a beautiful display of color that is even more vibrant as you work your way closer to it. Also referred to as the spur-and groove-reef, the long narrow sandbars separate the large, finger-like extensions of coral hence its nickname!
Finding the Reefs
As a Sanctuary Preservation Area, the Sombrero Reef and lighthouse are a protected environment. There are specific boundaries that are determined by three large 30-inch buoys. The buoys are located at 81° 06.8' W/25° 37.9' N, 81° 06.1' W/24° 37.4' N, and 81° 07.0' W/24° 37.2' N.
The Sombrero Key Lighthouse is located just to the south of the northernmost buoy. It is an all steel structure that is designed to withstand the elements. It was designed and built by General George Meade in 1858 and continues to stand watch over the beautiful reef to this day.
Book A Charter
Instead of trying to navigate your own way to the beautiful coral reef, you have the option to hire a charter. There are many charter companies that service the area, including Captain Hooks, Spirit, The Starfish, and many, many more.
Booking a charter allows you to visit the reef with a seasoned professional by your side. You can choose to dive or snorkel down to the reef to get an up close and personal look at one of the area's most beautiful and unique underwater features.
Visiting the Reef
Visiting a live coral reef is one of the most unique experiences you will ever have even if you are a seasoned diver. Remember to bring an underwater camera so you can capture the colors and the beautiful view of the reef. Most charter companies will provide all of your dive gear so that you don't have to worry about forgetting anything or if you have the right equipment.
If you have the time, spend the day at the reef. You can explore the reef and its surroundings to your heart's content. Bring your family and enjoy the view!
Why the Florida Keys?
The Florida Keys are a group of islands located in what is known as the Florida Straits. The tropical environment is perfect for fishing trips, snorkeling adventures, and sightseeing dives along the beautiful coral reef located nearby. From Marathon to Key West at the southernmost tip, it's like entering a different world. Surrounded by water and warm tropical breezes, the Florida Keys is the place to be for fun, sun, and ultimate relaxation.
The Sombrero Light House and Reef are just one of the many beautiful attractions in the Florida Keys. Not only is the lighthouse a piece of history, the reef is a living legacy to the beauty of the undersea world that has remained unchained for thousands of years. There is something for everyone to enjoy in the Keys. If you love to dive or snorkel, you get the added pleasure of enjoying both views above and below the water.