Crystal clear waters, tons of sea life swimming, and a postcard view of a lighthouse anchored in the middle of the deep blue are a few things you can find at Alligator Reef in the Florida Keys.
It's located in Islamorada, in the Sunshine State, and the only way you can get there is by water vessel, making it a hidden gem.
Visitors mentioned seeing barracudas, turtles, and nurse sharks in the ocean there. The lighthouse shelters a variety of sea animals which makes it a hot spot environment for snorkelers and divers, and the views are incredible.
Despite the name, there are no gators in the area. In fact, it got its title from a U.S. Navy ship, the USS Alligator.
For thrill-seekers, you can rent or bring your own jet skis, as well, and ride around the turquoise paradise. There's also an opportunity to kayak, paddleboard, and take your own boat or charter one.
With the abundance of wildlife swimming around, you can find people fishing in the area, as well — watch out, snorkelers!
The lighthouse is located about half an hour offshore, which is over four nautical miles away. It is not encouraged to climb the lighthouse for safety reasons.
When you're done having some fun in the sun, you can head over to the Islamorada Brewery & Distillery and sip on a cold one after a long day of exercise, or even see the History of Diving Museum that's not too far away.
Alligator Reef is definitely a sight to see, as it won Tripadvisor's Traveler's Choice in 2021.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.