21 Best Beaches In America To Go Scuba Diving

If the pandemic is making you restless, and all you want right now is a getaway, you’re not alone.

 

As travel opens up, and people get slowly accustomed to the new normal, a holiday to a nearby destination may be a good idea.

 

While some of you may be looking for a quiet cottage in the hills, others may want to spend their time with the sea creatures, exploring life underwater.  

 

 

If you’re one of those, whose ideal holiday is diving in the best destinations, you can find plenty of beautiful beaches in the United States itself, which boast of beautiful reefs and temperate waters.

 

Create your perfect diving holiday by choosing your favorite diving destination, renting timeshares, and taking the road for fun times. 

 

Here Are The 21 Best Beaches To Scuba Dive At In America

Below, we look at some of the best beaches in America to go scuba diving. These world-class beaches are worth a visit, especially, if you’re a diver

1) Florida Keys 

Florida Keys is home to the only living coral barrier reef in the US. The clear, warm waters and abundant marine life makes it one of the best diving experiences within the country. 

 

The Florida Keys is home to various exotic underwater plants. It’s also the most protected reef in the world.

 

The Florida Keys is also part of the shipwreck trail. These wrecks are found in a variety of depths, making it possible for all divers, novices, and experts, to have a wreck-dive experience. 

2) Channel Islands National Park, California 

Just north of Los Angeles, Channel Islands National Park consists of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara Islands. This stretch of waters is the most wildlife-rich and biodiverse on the west coast. 

 

The Channel Island National Park is a year-round dive destination. It’s especially popular with photographers because of its water clarity. The beautiful kelp forests provide a unique diving experience. Also, it’s home to a variety of sea creatures, like sea lions, dolphins, and giant eels. 

 

The best way to enjoy the beauty of California’s Channel Islands is by diving deep into the depths of the ocean. While Santa Rosa and San Miguel are suitable for advanced divers, cathedral cove on Anacapa is great for all divers.

3) Santa Catalina Island, California 

Just off the coast of southern California, Santa Catalina is popular for its giant kelp forests. 

 

Two miles off the coast, the ship rock is one of the best sites around Catalina. This site is home to giant pacific octopus, leopard sharks, garibaldi, sheepshead, and angel sharks.

 

Ship rock’s topography is abundant with ledges and canyons, making it a perfect site for spotting a pelagic fish, like yellowtail tuna and sunfish.

4) Monterey Bay, California 

Monterey Bay is known for its rich marine life. As the area allows only thirty divers per day, online reservations should be made sixty days in advance. 

 

The Point Lobo State Marine Conservation Area in Monterey Bay is one of the best locations for scuba diving. You can often sight leopard sharks and rock cods in this pristine area.

 

Diving conditions are favorable throughout the year, and navigation is easy. Monterey Bay is also suitable for all levels of divers. 

5) Bonne Terre, Missouri 

If you’re looking for a different diving experience, visit Bonne Terre, which is located an hour south of St. Louis. This site was once used to extract lead.

 

Once the resources ran out, the owners abandoned the mine and fled, without clearing the space. This area got flooded with freshwater, becoming a site for divers. 

 

Here, you can dive with a guide on any of the twenty-four routes. While exploring this submerged mine, you’ll come across shovels, ore cars, machine shop, and even a movie theater. 

6) Virgin Islands 

U.S. Virgin Islands boast of crystal-clear waters and an abundance of colorful marine life, making it an ideal diving destination. 

 

For the best diving experience, visit the island of St. Croix. The site offers stunning reefs and colorful marine life. The area is also known for its shipwrecks, some of which are two hundred years old. 

7) Morehead, North Carolina 

This site is popular for shark sightings as you can spot between five to twenty sharks in a day, making it ideal for divers who like sharks and wrecks.

 

This site is also easy to navigate and perfect for penetration training. 

 

Most dive shops are conducted at the charters to the Spar, a sunken cutter, which is intact and easy to navigate. 

8) Lake Huron, Michigan 

Lake Huron is a great opportunity for wreck divers. The fresh waters of the lake help preserve the shipwrecks, better than saltwater. The lake has clear waters, which makes for crystal clear visibility, sometimes up to fifty feet. 

 

Most of the shipwrecks are close to each other and are easily accessible. Since various shipwrecks sit at different depths, Lake Huron is suitable for both expert and novice divers. 

9) Flower Garden Banks, Freeport, Texas  

Flower Garden Banks is located in the northernmost region of America’s coral reef stretches in Texas. This coral-covered site is home to wrasses, butterfly fish, grouper, parrot-fish, puffers, eels, and squirrel-fishes.

 

You can also spot sea turtles, silky sharks, spinner dolphins, whales, and hammerhead sharks, depending on the season. 

 

However, the main drawback is that it’s an eight-hour drive from Freeport.

 

Also, the currents in the ocean can sometimes be difficult and unpredictable. 

10) Denver Aquarium, Denver, Colorado 

This 400,000-gallon tank houses various species, such as sand tiger sharks, zebra sharks, sawfish, guitarfish, sea turtles, and eels.

 

The rotating cast is a unique wreck diving experience. You can also watch various species of sharks as you dive among them. 

11) Bellingham, Washington 

This diving site is worth a dive. However, strong currents make it difficult for divers, which is why it’s advisable to dive only with an instructor. Bellingham is home to a wall of white anemones.

 

This is also one of the sites where you can easily sight a giant pacific octopus. 

 

Bellingham has a rich marine life, consisting of a variety of species, like wolf eels, huge lingcod, rockfish, decorator war bonnets, and a large variety of nudibranch.

 

To fully explore it, look at every nook and crannies for beautiful sights. 

12) Baranof Island, Alaska 

This is one of the best sites in the world for jellyfish diving. Though the presence of jellyfish is seasonal, in the summer months, you can find colonies of beautiful jellyfish.

 

These fish are harmless. However, since the site is a little bit offshore, you’ll have to find an operator who can get you here. 

13) Puget Sound, Washington 

Being just an hour’s drive from Seattle, this area includes fjords, rocky reefs, and numerous wrecks.

 

Puget Sound is also home to more than seventy-five diving sites. You can find marine life such as giant anemones, killer whales, and sea lions. 

 

If you’re at the Edmonds Underwater Park, try spotting the ratfish. Point defiance is another great diving site that has the best dive wall, The Dead Man’s Wall.

 

This sandstone face is home to giant pacific octopus, skates, and lingcod.

 

For a better visibility, diving during fall and winter is advisable as the algae are not so prominent during this season. 

14) Southeast Florida 

This site offers reef structures that run from Miami to Palm Beach. The waters here are also clear and warm, offering great diving and wreck sites. 

 

Since the reefs and the currents run parallel to the shore, drift diving is great here. In the months from May to September, you can spot the turtles.

 

The Blue Heron Bridge in West Palm Beach is best for shallow water muck dives. 

15) Kona Coast, Hawaii 

Visit this site, which is located three miles off Kona’s Coast, for a black water diving experience. The 3,000 feet of water in pitch darkness is reserved primarily for bait. However, if you’re looking for a fun-filled experience, this is a great site for you. 

 

Many divers experience serenity as they float in a formless void, illumined occasionally by bio-luminescent creatures. Here, you can sight bio-luminescent species, like plankton larval left-eyed flounder.

 

However, this site is only for experienced divers.

16) Oahu, Hawaii 

Oahu is home to many beautiful underwater wrecks, which are easily available, making it an ideal site for wreck diving. It’s also home to numerous marine life species like Hawaiian Stingray, Eagle Rays, White Tip Reef Sharks, and Pelagic fish. 

 

Anyone who can dive in the depths of a wreck can dive in Oahu.

17) Makena, Maui, Hawaii 

This site is also known as turtle town. Be sure to sight many Hawaiian sea turtles as you slowly dive amongst them.

Makena is also home to many caves, lava formations, and coral heads. 

 

To sight whitetip sharks and spotted eagle rays, make your way through the abundant reef and lava-tube caverns. Lastly, this site is also great for a night dive. 

18) Lake Tahoe, Sand Harbor, Nevada 

Lake Tahoe is the best diving site in the Nevada region, which you can dive all-year-round. The visibility here can stretch to seventy-five feet.

 

The water here is warm, and suitable for beginner divers, too. 

 

This site is home to crawdads, salmon, and minnow schools. The edge of the wall here is famous for truck-sized boulders. 

19) Montauk, New York 

Montauk, New York is great for shark viewing–within the safe confines of an aluminum cage.

 

Visit this site from June to September as this is when the sharks appear. Montauk is suitable for beginner divers. 

 

A regular shark dive will take you fifteen to thirty miles south of long Island. The warm waters here are home to an array of marine life in the summer months.

 

Other than big sharks, you can also sight whales, tuna, mahi-mahi, sunfish, and sea turtles here.

20) Atlantic Beach, New York 

Diving the old bridge can be a fun experience. This site is great for sighting lobsters and checking the remains of an old causeway.

 

You can find a variety of lost boat anchors here. This site is best accessed by boats. The water here is cold, and the dive is suitable for beginners, too.

21) Inian Islands, Alaska 

The Pacific Ocean here flows into a narrow strait, making this site one of the most wild-life rich places on earth. The wall of life in Alaska’s Inian Islands is a biodiverse site, offering a beautiful diving experience.

 

Since the water here is chilly, it’s advisable to get a wet-suit. 

 

This diving site has three types of coral reefs. It’s also home to an array of marine life, like octopuses, wolf eels, and sea lions. Here, you can spot the most playful sea lions in the world.

 

Offshore, you can explore the magical Inian Islands, and witness its spectacular, natural beauty, pristine wilderness, and beautiful rainforests. 

Tips For An Amazing Scuba Diving Holiday 

  • Get a Diving Certificate before you go for a holiday.
  • Research the dive shops in your chosen destination. It's important to carefully choose a reliable and reputed dive shop. This crucial step can make or break your trip.
  • While choosing a dive shop, inquire about equipment, dive timings, and preferred dive locations. This will give you an idea of how competent they are.
  • Book your dive timings in advance.
  • Opt for morning dives as the wind is usually calmer and there’s better water visibility
  • Take a good underwater camera for your trip.
  • Build your stamina and immune system before you go on holiday.
  • Choose a location that offers much more than scuba diving. Opting for locations with beautiful offshore scenery is a great way to add variety to your holiday plan.
  • If you easily get cold, make sure to carry a wetsuit.
  • Before you go on a dive, ensure that your group is clear about the conditions on the site, signals that the divemaster will use to communicate, how deep you’ll be going, and what to do if you’re in a difficult situation.

Conclusion 

While the pandemic may have changed the way we travel, it also brings the opportunity to explore multiple destinations.

 

A trip in these trying times may be a boon as you explore spectacular natural sites. 

 

To keep your travels safe, all you’ve got to do is travel by road, rent a timeshare that’s been sanitized, and enjoy the serene calm.

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