Jellyfish Season In Florida Keys For Snorkeling?

by Cary Bennett
(Roswell, GA)

Is there a high jellyfish season in the Florida Keys? I have a snorkeling trip planned for the Middle Keys for late September and thought we were all set, until I did more reading just now and realized that it may well put us in the water during jellyfish season.

Has anyone been there during the September time frame and have any experiences to offer on this front? I am beginning to consider other locations so as not to waste time and resources ($$) if we will be spending all of our time dodging jellies.

I have read reports on TripAdvisor from last Sept. of people getting in the water and encountering so many jellies that they got out and gave up after only a couple of minutes and were upset that they had wasted money without knowing how bad it was going to be. With this being a warmer than normal year, I suspect this year's jellyfish population could be astronomical.

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Jul 30, 2012
Jellyfish horrible our last trip
by: Anonymous

We took our first trip to the Keys in August of 2011. No one had mentioned the problem of jellyfish until we were in a guided snorkeling boat heading out to the reef area (already had paid and already trapped for the day). The guides said to just swim around them but that there may be quite a few because of the strong winds they had had in the previous week. Winds sometimes carry them in we were told.

The experience was absolutely horrible, at least for newbies to snorkeling. There were so many jellies that you could not avoid them, and at least 5 of the snorkelers had to be rescued out in the water and were panicked and in pain due to numerous stings. My daughter was trying to get back to the boat and just had to bite the bullet and get stung repeatedly as she swam back. She will never get in the ocean again I am sure.

Most people were only in the water for about 5 to 10 minutes before they gave up.

An expensive and painful lesson to be sure.

Aug 07, 2012
August Florida Keys Jelly Report
by: Wisco

I just got back from the Middle Keys and can report that the jellies are pretty light at Alligator and Sombrero reefs. We saw mostly Moon Jellies of less than 6 inches in diameter and only ran into a "patch of jellies" during a noon-time snorkel at Alligator. Our guides told us that this year has been better for jellies (fewer of them) compared to 2011.

Bring a small bottle of white vinegar and wear a swim shirt to protect your armpits (the worst place to get stung) and you should be fine. Remember jellies are part of the marine wildlife, so don't freak out if you see one or happen to get stung.

Feb 09, 2015
Jelly season...
by: Jilly M

While on a 'girls trip,' we went snorkeling off Key West. Yes, it was jelly season. (Aug-Sept, if I remember.) Yes, I was stung and it hurt a little.

My daughter, however, found out she was allergic. Bring a vinegar solution, and either Benadryl or an antihistamine based sea sickness medicine (which is what I gave her).

Wear a rash guard and long swim tights, if you can. My understanding is that they only sting where they actually touch skin. So cover up and enjoy. Then you don't need sunscreen so much, either!

Mar 07, 2015
Jellyfish in the Keys
by: Anne W.

My husband and I live in North Fort Myers and go over to the Keys throughout the summer, some of the nicest snorkeling with a great variety of fish. The jellyfish are a regular occurrence and you can forget the month of August and most of September. August is horrible, walls and walls of jellyfish. You'll spend most of your time trying to swim around them or watching out for them.

We like to go in late May to end of July then back out in October and early November before the water cools down too much.

Apr 19, 2015
Business Owner
by: Anelys Pereira

Yes, lots of jellyfish in the water in the month of September. Do not go during that time.

Sep 28, 2015
by: Anonymous

We went just recently to Key Largo on a snorkeling tour at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. DO NOT GO in September. There were moon jellyfish everywhere, there was no way around them. Everyone that got off the boat (about 40) managed to get stung. The discomfort lasts about 40 minutes. Save your time and money for the off season.

On a happier note, the short amount of time I was in the water I did get to see some cool fish.

Nov 04, 2015
Looe Reef
by: Duluth

We arrived in mid-late September for 10 days and was told by locals that the rainy weather was non-stop for the previous 2 weeks and that the jellyfish were huge purple patches for even longer... We had perfect weather and only found 3-4 individual jellies to take pics of.

On our last day in Florida we snorkeled the beach around Captiva Island and flew out later that day from Fort Myers. Will be visualizing it all winter while I shovel and plow snow.

Mar 04, 2016
by: Amy

We went on the snorkeling trip in late October 2014. There were jellies, but nothing major. Just make sure and plan your trip on a cloudless day.

Apr 16, 2016
Islamorada Jellies
by: Cardy

We took a trip to Islamorada during the end of August beginning of September. There were too many jellies!! There was no way to avoid getting stung.

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