Planning an adventure or dreaming of your next vacation? Look no further than your national marine sanctuaries! These jewels of the ocean and Great Lakes hold possibilities for everyone. Discover the ocean and Great Lakes, and yourself, in national marine sanctuaries.
- watch wildlife
- stand-up paddle
Travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience can enjoy snorkeling, fishing, hiking, and cultural excursions. National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa is home to one of the largest known coral heads in the world.
Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary is a lush feeding ground for many marine mammals and seabirds. Humpback whales, Dall’s porpoises, albatrosses, shearwaters, and countless other animals flourish here.
The waters that swirl around the five islands within Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary host more than 27 species of whales and dolphins. A day kayaking among the numerous sea caves or diving in the kelp forests can satisfy a traveler’s thirst for exploration.
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s mangroves, seagrass beds, and coral reefs make this a prime fishing and snorkeling destination. Visitors are encouraged to book their trips with Blue Star operators that promote responsible recreation.
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is a true treasure of the Gulf of Mexico and a diver’s paradise—a Caribbean oasis in an unexpected place. Every August, corals in this national marine sanctuary put on a fantastic spawning display.
Rocky outcroppings and ledges provide homes for marine life, including black sea bass, snapper, and loggerhead sea turtles. The sanctuary is also within the only known winter calving grounds of the highly-endangered North Atlantic right whale.
Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary protects the wildlife and habitats of one of the most diverse and bountiful marine ecosystems in the world. Outdoor enthusiasts can view blue and humpback whales, white sharks, and a quarter-million seabirds.
Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary protects one of the world’s most important humpback whale habitats and the only place in the U.S. where humpback whales reproduce.
To many, the ocean and Great Lakes are our planet’s greatest playground – and national marine sanctuaries protect some of the best, most iconic places to play. In these ocean parks, you can dive in technicolor coral reefs, explore historic shipwrecks, paddle around lush kelp forests, watch a humpback whale’s majestic breach, explore a shoreside tide pool, and more. There’s no end to the adventure in national marine sanctuaries!
From the pristine beaches and jewel-like tide pools to the lush kelp forests, this “Serengeti of the Sea” offers some of the best wildlife viewing and diving in the world, and plenty of offshore boating opportunities.
Monitor National Marine Sanctuary protects the wreck of the Civil War vessel USS Monitor. Today, the USS Monitor lies 240 feet below the ocean surface and provides habitat structure to a variety of corals and sponges, as well as sea turtles, sharks, and manta rays.
Visitors will find that the spectacular, sparsely populated, and undeveloped shoreline of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary makes it one of the most dramatic natural wonders in the United States.
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is one of the premiere whale watching destinations in the world. Fishing, bird-watching, and diving are also within easy reach for visitors. Ports along the New England coastline offer charter boats bound for Stellwagen Bank.
Nicknamed “Shipwreck Alley,” the national marine sanctuary in Lake Huron protects one of America’s best-preserved collections of shipwrecks. There are opportunities for paddlers, snorkelers, divers, or passengers on glass-bottom boat tours to view the wrecks.
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. It was created to protect and perpetuate ecosystem health and diversity and the Native Hawaiian cultural significance of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Immerse yourself in the interactive natural and cultural exhibits at the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.