Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area

Map of Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area

Thousands of years of coral growth have created one of the most popular dive and snorkel sites in the world in the Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA) Reef. A classic spur and groove reef system flush with a variety of corals, Looe Key SPA is located approximately 6.3 miles south of Ramrod Key and a little more than 9 miles southwest of Bahia Honda State Park. A diversity of fishes congregate here – parrotfish and surgeonfish on the north side; barracudas and jacks on top of the reef; grunts, butterflyfish, and angelfish on the reef crest. The reef is named after HMS Loo, which ran aground on the reef and sank in 1744. Just 5.8 square miles in size, Looe Key Reef is designated as one of the seven featured sites of Mission: Iconic Reefs.

Looe Key SPA is located within the Looe Key Existing Management Area, and nearby the Looe Key Research Only Area. It is a popular dive destination for new and experienced divers alike.

a coral reef formation is visible beneath clear blue water
Looe Key Reef, located in the lower Florida Keys, is considered a classic spur and grove coral formation.Photo: Shawn Verne/NOAA
Very high water temperatures in the summer of 2023 have caused widespread coral bleaching and mortality in the Florida Keys. Descriptions of coral cover or coral health on this page may not be accurate based on current conditions.

Special regulations apply here. Learn more about what activities are allowed in this type of zone.

A summary of all sanctuary regulations is available online. For the full text of sanctuary regulations, see 15 CFR 922 Subpart P.