Snorkeling is a fun and cost-effective way to spend a day in port. If you’re planning on visiting a beach during your cruise, you might want to consider packing your own snorkel gear for the kids.
Why Pack Snorkel Gear for the Kids
We’ve been on several beach/water related excursions and while most tour companies will provide snorkel sets for guests, we’re not comfortable sharing mouthpieces with others.
We’re not sure how well they’ve been cleaned between uses and what products are being used. You’re also taking a chance that they have sets that fit correctly.
Renting or borrowing snorkel sets will certainly save space in your suitcase but masks and snorkels are fairly light so we always make sure to pack them for Caribbean and Bahamian cruises.
Below we’ll discuss what to look for and what to avoid when shopping for snorkel sets for toddlers, preschoolers, kids and teens.
We’ve selected the four best snorkel sets for kids that are comfortable and affordable.
How to Choose the Right Snorkel Set or Snorkel Gear for Your Child
Most snorkel sets include a mask, snorkel and fins. Some will also include a vest.
Masks help kids see clearly underwater and protects their eyes from burning or getting irritated by the salty sea or ocean water. Unlike swimming goggles, snorkel masks have a nose pocket which pinches the nose and allows kids to breathe correctly underwater.
They also have adjustable straps which allow kids to get the perfect, water-tight fit. Some masks have quick release straps to get out of the mask easily.
The snorkel is the most important component of a snorkel set. Without the snorkel tube, you can’t go snorkeling. 😉
The size of the snorkel matters the most. Choose one that is long enough that the end stays out of the water when your kids is swimming on the surface of the water.
If it’s too short, the tube will start filling with water even if your kids swim slightly below the surface. Look for snorkel tubes that have a purge valve to clear out excess water. A snorkel clip ensures the tube stays attached to the mask at all times.
Fins (sometimes called flippers) can help with swimming farther and faster. While they are not a must have, fins enable kids to move through the water with ease and without tiring their legs out. If you’re looking for fins, opt for open-heel fins over completely covered ones as they have adjustable straps on the back of the heel. This will provide for a better fit and hopefully will last several snorkeling trips – especially when little feet tend to grow every few months!
A snorkeling vest is not necessary but a nice to have if your child has not snorkeled often and makes first snorkeling experiences more comfortable. These vests are different from life jackets as they give kids buoyancy but also allows them to keep their head underwater. Snorkeling vests can be inflated and deflated based on how much buoyancy you need.
Top 4 Recommended Snorkel Sets / Snorkel Gear for Kids
What are the best snorkel sets or snorkeling gear for toddlers, preschoolers, kids and teen?
Read the reviews below to learn more about our top picks.
The Head Mares Sea Pals Character Set comes with a mask, snorkel and fins – all which fit snugly into a colorful backpack. There are 6 different sea creature backpacks to choose from – shark, killer whale, frog, octopus, turtle and a puffer fish.
The snorkel has a 100% dry top which prevents splashing even when your kid is completely submerged in the water. Kids can exhale with ease and the purge valve clears the water quickly and easily.
The mask and fins both have a quick-release system. The fin also has a comfortable foot pocket. There are two available sizes Small/Medium is for foot sizes 9 to 13 and the Large/Extra Large sizes is for 1 to 4.
Most Helpful Review: “One of the best parts of the snorkel is that the mouthpiece is clear so you can easily see if any water is starting to collect in the mouthpiece.” Click here to see the latest prices and reviews
The Cressi Deluxe Mask and Snorkel set is the perfect for those who only want a mask and snorkel. This set comes in a variety of colors.
The snorkeling mask’s ultra-clear tempered lenses and shape allows kids to get a clear and wide view under water. The skirt on the mask is made from hypoallergenic silicone and the frame is built with techno-polymer for durability. A buckle design makes it easy to adjust the mask for a perfect fit.
The snorkel has a semi-dry top design with a splash guard that minimizes the amount of water getting into the snorkel. There’s also a special water collection well at the bottom of the snorkel allows the water to be purged easily and quickly, letting kids breathe underwater with confidence.
Most Helpful Review: “I read so many reviews to find a set the is both good quality and fits a toddler. The mask fit her face perfectly.” Click here to see the latest prices and reviews
The US Divers Dorado Jr snorkeling set includes a mask, snorkel and fins.
Snorkel tube has a splash guard that prevents water from entering the tube as well as a one-way purge valve to clear water out quickly. The mouthpiece has an ergonomic design that reduces jaw fatigue and a snorkel clip keeps the snorkel attached to the mask.
The vented fins design is meant to conserve a snorkeler’s energy. The adjustable strap and buckle allows fins to fit a range of foot sizes. The fins are available in 3 sizes: Small (9-13 Little Kid), Medium (1-4 Big Kid) and Large (5-8 Big Kid).
The set comes with a lightweight mesh and nylon bag.
The snorkel set is available in a variety of color. Some reviewers said this set is ideal for kids older than six years as the mask only comes in one size.
Most Helpful Review: ” I love the water block valve so you can dive under with this mask and the flippers are flexible and long.” Click here to see the latest prices and reviews
The Aqua Sphere Toddler Snorkel Mask is the ideal mask for kids who are just learning to snorkel. The mask has a nose pocket which pinches the nose lightly so your kids can learn how to breathe properly underwater.
The mask lens provides 100% UVA and UVB protection and provides 180-degree distortion-free visibility. The watertight skirt on the mask prevents water from entering the snorkeler’s field of vision.
This is the ideal mask for toddlers and smaller kids. Several reviewers noted the mask fits children with a narrower face and may be uncomfortable if your child has a larger head.
Most Helpful Review: ” Our family has several Aqua Sphere swim goggles and my daughter really wanted one that covered her nose so she could do flips in the water.” Click here to see the latest prices and reviews
Tips for Snorkeling with Kids
The following are a few tips you can follow when preparing for a snorkeling trip with your kids.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The best way to prepare for a snorkeling trip with your kids is to familiarize them with the snorkel and the mask. If you have a bathtub, let them wear the mask and practice breathing and snorkeling in the bath. Or practice swimming in a pool with the mask and snorkel. The goal is to get comfortable breathing through their mouth.
Stay Closer to Shore
If this is your kid’s first time snorkeling or if they are a beginner, it may help to start slowly. Choose a location that has shallow water. A lot of snorkeling destinations have marine life and corals fairly close to shore.
We tend to stay in shallow water where the kids are able to stand on their own so we normally don’t use fins unless my husband and I are snorkeling without the kids in deeper water. When we snorkel with the kids, they wear water shoes instead of fins.
Prevent Painful Sunburns
You may be enjoying being underwater in the sun, but you may not even realize when you or your kids have gotten sunburnt. It is extremely important to lather up on sunscreen. Since your kids are likely to be more vulnerable to sunburn, as kids have more sensitive skin, it may even be helpful to get them a fully covered bathing suit in order to protect their skin. A fully covered bathing suit also means you will be protecting the coral and marine life from sunscreen chemicals.
Pack a Flotation Device
As mentioned above, using a snorkeling vest or even a life jacket will give beginner and younger swimmers more confidence in the water. Vests and life jackets will also allow them to take a break if they are too tired to swim.
Protect Your Camera
Some of the best photos of your snorkeling trip will be underwater! Do not forget to pack your underwater camera or a case for your camera/phone.
Tour companies will sometimes up sell a photo package but they are often very pricey which is why we always take photos with our own cameras in addition to posing for their photographers. If their photos are better, we’ll buy them but most of the time our photos are just as good!
The more components you need for a snorkel set will often mean spending more. But that’s not to say you’ll be spending hundreds of dollars – there are many affordable sets.
Great snorkeling gear for toddlers, kids, and teens should be functional, comfortable and affordable.
When deciding what snorkeling gear you need to bring on your next cruise, think about if your kids really need fins or flippers. If they’re available for rent or provided by the tour /excursion operator, you’ll save a ton of space in your suitcase!