The beach and the sea of Punta Ala are magnificent, but staying on the beach is binding ...
Those who are a little more enterprising should dedicate at least one day to renting a dinghy to explore the most hidden and beautiful areas of the coast. Heading both north and south of the Punta Ala beach there are few beaches alternating with long stretches of rocky coast where it is beautiful to anchor and explore the rocks by snorkeling.
From June to September the sea is usually calm; the gulf of Punta Ala is naturally protected by the promontory of Piombino, the Island of Elba and the islet of Sparviero, so the currents are modest. Except for days with strong wind, it is reasonably safe to go as far as Follonica, in the north, and as far as Castiglione della Pescaia, in the south, even for those who have never used a dinghy in their life.
The dinghy rental in Punta Ala is Punta Ala Water Sport. Book your dinghy well in advance, because during the summer season they work very intensively and there are not many boats available.
The basic conditions of the rental are: advance payment (Paypal, Stripe or bank transfer) no possibility of withdrawal (once booked you can no longer cancel) even in case of bad weather. The rental time is from 9 AM to 6 PM for daily rental, but it is also possible to book half a day (9AM to 1PM or 2PM to 6PM). The average price varies from 150 to 600 euros depending on the model of the boat and the duration of the rental.
My suggested route starts from Cala Martina, which is north of Punta Ala, halfway from Follonica; start from there in the morning and spend a few hours between Cala Martina and Cala Civette; in the middle between the two coves there is the famous Cala Violina, one of the most famous beaches of the Tyrrhenian coast, where, however, the anchorage is not as pleasant as in the other two coves (the seabed is sandy and rather boring for snorkeling and the beach it is very crowded with swimmers who reach it on foot). Towards the end of the morning the sea normally begins to be slightly more rough; in this case it is advisable to move towards the islet of Sparviero, where, anchoring close to the east side, you can enjoy a completely flat sea even when there is a little wind from the north/north west; here the water is crystal clear and it is truly a pleasure to spend the hours letting yourself be rocked by the sea. If the sea is calm, you can also leave the stillness of the Sparviero and go further south exploring the coast up to Castiglione della Pescaia and the fortress at Le Rocchette, which dominates the sea before Castiglione della Pescaia. See the image below: follow the yellow track and you will be fine
See the video below to have a glimpse at a typical day of snorkeling in Punta Ala.