Best Scuba Diving In USA: List Of The 26 Most Exciting Spots

Best scuba diving in USA

Who hasn’t fantasized about being at one with the sea, encircled by rainbow-colored fish, chirping dolphins and sea turtles surfing the flux?

Humans may experience the richness of this aquatic world thanks to the wonder of scuba diving from some of the most beautiful spots in the United States.

Whether you choose to dive from a boat or walk into the water, or explore natural coral reefs, man-made coral reefs or shipwrecks, these are some of the best places to scuba dive in the United States.

best scuba diving in usa

And, for those who don’t have a scuba certification or don’t feel comfortable, it’s often possible to snorkel, So get your gear and get ready to dive.

Divers tend to travel far and wide to find great snorkeling spots. Fortunately, the United States is home to countless great snorkeling spots, with abundant access to the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.

These scuba diving trip destinations in the United States are really worth a visit, with their magnificent kelp beds, tropical coral reefs, and towering shipwrecks.

My list of the best places to scuba dive with rich marine life during your stay in the United States


1. Los Angeles and San Diego

The so-called Golden State has a lot to offer diving enthusiasts. The vast kelp forests on the sea floor are a must if you plan scuba diving in California. They can attain heights of up to 100 feet and are habitat to a magnificent maritime habitat teeming with life.

flower garden banks

Avalon Underwater Park, located at Casino Point(Santa Catalina Island), features a kelp forest. This dive site, located off the coast of Los Angeles, offers the best of California diving in one spot.

Divers will be able to explore beautiful aquatic habitats, small undersea rifts and several shipwreck sites with ease.The water is generally calm. Always focus your attention  for the famous flying fish and the sparkling orange Garibaldi Damselfish.

Wreck Alley, off the shore of San Diego, is known to be home to four shipwrecks, one of which is a 112-meter long HMCS Yukon cruiser that washed up on its side. The wrecks have created an artificial coral reef that attracts a variety of marine species.

2. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

The Monterey Bay is home to Point Lobos State Marine Conservation Area, one of the most biodiverse areas in California.

Whaler’s Cover and Bluefish Cove, in particular, are beautiful areas. And less than 30 divers can visit this place per day. It is therefore necessary to book a few days or weeks in advance online.

flower garden banks

This diving restriction has resulted in a stunning location with many unique sightings such as leopard sharks, abalone and cod.

Monterey Bay is suitable to divers of all levels due to its beautiful waters and sheltered bays. The water temperature varies from 10 to 15 degrees Celsius even in summer.

You will need a dry suit. The visibility varies from 3 to 9 meters.

3. Santa Catalina Island

There are various attractions near Catalina, but one of the nicest is Ship Rock. Sheepshead, Pacific octopus and angelfish, whale sharks can be found swimming amid the kelp 2 miles off the coast.

flower garden banks

Ship Rock’s underwater topography offers canyons and ledges, that attract fish such as sunfish and yellowfin tuna.

The kelp forests are incredibly healthy and widespread and visibility is much better than close shore. Since the depths vary from 5 to 39 meters and the visibility from 11 to 29 meters, this site is suitable for all levels of divers.

However, you must have a thick wetsuit, as the water temperature varies from 12 to 21 C°.

4. The Channel Islands National Park

The Channel Islands National Park is made up of the islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara. The north’s chilly, nutrient-rich currents combine with the south’s warm water.

flower garden banks

This results in a very biodiverse environment with excellent visibility. Because of the water purity, several dive operators in these areas cater exclusively to photographers.

Wide-angle seascapes are provided by thick, towering kelp forests. There’s a good chance you’ll see rays, black groupers and small wrecks.

Because the winds make the circumstances more difficult, Santa Rosa and San Miguel are suited for advanced divers. The water temperature varies from 13 to 21 C°.

Florida (my favorite of the best scuba diving in USA at the moment):

5. Key Largo and Deerfield Beach

From the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the wrecks in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean to the sparkling turquoise waters of the Florida Keys, you’ll discover many unique ecosystems when you scuba diving in Florida.

whale sharks

The presence of coral reefs, rocks, and wrecks in Key Largo ensures a fantastic diving experience. The coral reefs are roughly 9 meters deep, making them accessible to divers of all skill levels.

The Christ of the Abyss, an underwater bronze statue of Christ, may also be found in this location.

Deerfield Shoreline, located on the Atlantic coast north of Miami, has three coral reefs running parallel to the beach.

These coral reefs, which formed at a depth of less than 2 meters and are roughly 23 meters from the coast, are easily accessible to snorkelers and divers.

Soft corals, sea sponges, puffer fish, surgeonfish, and drum fish can all be seen by divers.

6. Southeast Florida

One of the longest continuous reef constructions in the Western Atlantic can be found here, with 37 km from Palm Beach and Miami to Fort Lauderdale. Hundreds of reef and wreck sites benefit from the Gulf Stream current flowing close to shore.

shore diving

Drift diving is great since the reefs and prevailing currents run parallel to the shore.Any local dive shop may drop you off and pick you up at the end of your dive.

It’s not uncommon to see a dozen or more turtles surfing the river with you from May to September. The location also serves as a home for an artificial reef.

A number of wrecks, including three defunct oil rigs known as Tenneco Towers, can be found on artificial reefs just offshore.

7. Ginnie Springs

It is a very popular dive site in northern Florida, located not far from Gainesville. It attracts tourists because of the beautiful area and crystal clear .

shore diving

There are a total of four dive sites, including the main dive site which has underwater caverns with beautiful formations. During the summer months, you can also dive along the Santa Fe River which offers a variety of diving opportunities throughout the year.

Diving equipment rentals are available, as well as kayak and tent camping.

8. John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park, Florida Keys

It is located in Key Largo and is probably one of the best places to dive in the U.S. with children. John Pennekamp has a clean aquarium and shallow waters for the little ones to dive safely.

sand tiger sharks

The beauty of diving in John Pennekamp lies in its beautiful reefs full of marine life, and other activities offered, such as snorkeling, fishing, camping, kayaking, and glass bottom tours.

9. Fort Lauderdale

If scuba diving is your passion, as well as exploration and tourism, Fort Lauderdale has the ultimate adventure in store for you.

sand tiger sharks

Very close to the beach, you will find yourself in an underwater fairy tale, surrounded by charming and attractive wrecks that mimic the nearby city and its architectural features.

The artificially constructed reef consists of many huge wrecks sent to the ocean floor on purpose. All of the structures you see underwater near Fort Lauderdale are home to a large population of fish, coral and sponges.

Underwater life seems to thrive in the reef, promising an incredibly exciting diving adventure.

10. Crystal River

For all sea life lovers, the Crystal River offers unique opportunities for snorkelers to spot magnificent manatees. Thanks to its warm waters, the destination attracts flocks of endangered manatees throughout the winter until mid-spring.

local dive shops

Let’s not forget that Crystal River is more than just a manatee hot spot. It is also a great place to watch and swim next to the bubbling springs of underground aquifers.

For environmental reasons, scuba diving is prohibited in order to maintain the area as a manatee sanctuary.

However, you can still enjoy wildlife viewing and diving by snorkeling underwater. There are a variety of fish you may encounter on your trip – bass, garfish, tarpon, snapper and redfish.

11. Looe Key

Whether you’re experienced or new to scuba diving in Florida, you’ve probably heard of the majestic coral oasis of Looe Key. These waters are the perfect place to see a living reef and swim with multitudes of colorful fish in an underwater wonderland.

manta rays

Part of a national marine sanctuary, this reef is considered one of the most beautiful ecosystems in the world and the jewel of the Florida Keys.

12. West Palm Beach

What would make an offshore trip better than diving with sea turtles? That’s right, West Palm Beach is the perfect place to scuba dive in Florida and swim with these wonderful sea creatures.

best scuba diving

The frequent turtle watching season begins in May and ends in September.

The captivating power of the Gulf Stream is the perfect combination of clear water, scenic views, incredible corals and an abundance of marine life.

Considered a top destination for its endless coral reef, whale migration path and aquatic animal breeding ground, the area attracts tourists from around the world.


13. Anchorage and Seward

Scuba in Alaska will probably require a little more organization beforehand, but the clear waters of the state will provide you with splendid adventures.

recreational divers

Although the waters are not so cold like you can expect (the water temperature is similar to that of many Pacific Ocean dive destinations).

In order to dive in chilly waters, you’ll need special equipment, including an insulated dry suit. Smithy’s Cove, near Whittier, Alaska, is a popular dive location with plane wreckage and World War II wrecks where you can see redfish, wolffish, anemones and hermit crabs.

Steep walls and proudly soaring peaks offer a magnificent underwater environment of sea suns, sharks, fluffy anemones, seals, lion’s mane jellyfish and otters at Resurrection Bay, near Seward.


14. Lake Mead

Lake Mead area is one of the best areas for diving in freshwater located on the Colorado River, 48 km southeast of Las Vegas.

sea life

It is ideal for diving all year round, although, if you want to avoid crowds and obtain the best visibility, avoid the summer months. (go in late fall or early spring).

There visitors can rent motorboats and luxury yachts. Lake Mead Marina, Las Vegas Marina Bay and Callville Marina Bay are some of the alternatives .


15. Piti

In the Western Pacific, the island of Guam boasts pristine beaches and almost deserted dive sites. In Apra Harbor near Tumon the American Tanker is a wreck scuba dive site perfect for beginners, where you can find a grounded tanker, which is transformed into a false coral reef now.

giant black sea bass

World War II relic, the tank barge was most likely sunk on purpose to aid in the construction of the seawall in this location. Admire the schools of beautiful fish swimming around the boat and take an underwater photo of the American flag located on the wreck.


16. Maui and Oahu

Hawaii is a one-of-a-kind scuba diving destination, with crystal clear turquoise waters and millennia of volcanic activity. At Lanai Cathedrals, off the shore of Maui, you can explore enormous tunnels and watch lava flows.

giant pacific octopus

Turtles, dolphins, white tip reef sharks, migrating whales, and schools of fish of all hues flock to these natural underwater structures, which are a favorite of turtles, dolphins, white tip reef sharks, and migrating whales.

An iconic dive spot filled with marine life is located off the shore of Oahu, not far from Waikiki.

Green turtles, manta rays and barracudas frequent the damaged supply ship USS YO-257. Another nearby wreck, the San Pedro, gives you twice as much to look at on your dive tour.


17. McCall, Payette Lake

Payette Lake, a glacier-fed lake situated in the mountains at 5 thousand feet, is a two and half-hour drive north of Boise, Idaho. Ponderosa State Park, which has campsites, hiking paths, and thousands of acres of wilderness, protects part of the clean, tranquil lake.

sea lions

Fireman’s Point, on the northeast side of the lake, is a popular dive spot with a granite slab extending about 40 feet from the beach. The penetrating rays of the sun illuminate the quartz, obsidian, and bright characteristics of the rock shelf on a sunny day.

For divers, this creates a dynamic light show, which is accentuated by the great visibility provided by Payette’s clean, clear waters.


18. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Lake Huron

This 4 300 square mile marine reserve off the northeast coast of Michigan protects roughly 115 historically significant wrecks.

The shipwreck includes steel steamers from the twentieth century, wooden hulled boats from the nineteenth century, and the SS Pewabic’s shell.

sea lions

The Choctaw and Ohio, two of the most magnificent crash sites, are 267 and 202 feet long, accordingly.The wreck sites vary in depth, however, there are possibilities for people of different levels of knowledge.

More experienced divers can dive into the depths of Huron to research the wreck of Cornelia B. Windiate, which is the 180 feet below the surface.

The schooner with three masts sank in 1875, with twisting stairs. The masts and bow are still in good shape. Between May and October, divers from Alpena, the area’s major town, do dives.


19. Bonne Terre

Located an hour’s drive south of St. Louis , the world’s bigest lead mine was previously located in the little village of Bonne Terre.The mine’s lower three levels have now engulfed a 17-mile-long underground lake. It is the largest freshwater diving station in the world.

sea lions

On guided walking excursions, the upper two levels can be visited by following the old mule pathways that miners chiseled in the 1860 s. Scuba diving or boat cruises are available to explore the subsurface waterways.

The vast lake is lit up like a stadium, providing visibility of up to 100 ft along the 24 dive trails.

Divers will see arches, calcium falls, pillars, and abandoned mining trains and infrastructure as they travel down the cave. Tours are available all year because the underground lake is kept at a constant temperature of 58° F.


20. Lake Tahoe, Sand Harbor

Glistening white Lake Tahoe is a popular destination for its scenic mountain views, watersports, skiing and opulent hotels. A swim in the 1,643-foot-deep Lake Tahoe is well earned it for summer guests.

hammerhead sharks

The premier dive spot is at Sand Harbor State Park, located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe near the village of Incline.

Tahoe offers up to 75 feet of visibility, providing abundant sightings of crayfish as well as salmon groups. The buoyed area averages only 30 feet deep.

As a result, experienced divers would have to hunt beyond the buoys for sunken trees, large rocks and impressive vertical cliffs.

Boat traffic should be avoided because it is outside the designated swimming area.But how else can you snorkel at a height of almost 6,200 feet above the water?

21. Henderson, Lake Mead

The Hoover Dam creates this reservoir, which is mostly fed by snowmelt. Hiking, camping, and boating are popular activities on Lake Mead, which spans for hundred and ten miles behind the dam.

shore dive

Many visitors are unaware that it is one of the top freshwater lakes for scuba diving in the world.Divers of all levels can appreciate the variety of underwater sites and rock formations, which span a wide range of depths.

Because the water level of Lake Mead fluctuates, it’s a good idea to check ahead of time to make sure the present circumstances are adequate for diving.Cathedral Cove, the gypsum reefs in Virgin Basin, Black Canyon in Boulder Basin and B-29 are all popular diving spots on Lake Mead.

Gypsum Reefs stands out for its magnificent eroded rock formations, and the first three are only accessible by boat.

A submerged B-29 Superfortress bomber plane crashed in Lake Mead at the B-29 location. It can only be reached by a guided dive tour, so make sure to book ahead of time.


22. Linn County, Clear Lake

This lovely lake is nestled in the deep pine forest west of Mt. Washington. Clear Lake stands up to its name, with over 100 feet of clarity permitting divers to see lava flows, a sunken forest, algae fields, and geothermal vents.

blue heron bridge

The hidden forest, which contains 80-foot submerged tree trunks, makes the drive to this remote lake worthwhile. The nearest city is Bend, which is more over an hour distant. The water in this highland lake gives tranquility and wonderful underwater beauty, but it is a little chilly.

Divers must have advanced diving expertise and wear a dry suit.


23. Bethlehem, Dutch Springs

This fairly regular fifty acre lake is located north of Allentown and Bethlehem in the urban sprawl. Originally, the region was a limestone quarry that began to fill with water as mining progressed. Mining was halted in the 1970.

blue heron bridge

Dutch Springs was obtained and converted into a freshwater diving site as a result of this. Spring water flows through the precious limestone, providing divers with excellent visibility to observe flooded vehicles like planes, school buses, tankers and carts, aside from the initial pump house.

The lake is home to a variety of fish and aquatic species, but the weird multitude of sunken cars and aircraft is the major draw.Diving in Dutch Springs normally starts in April and lasts until November.

U.S. Virgin Islands

24. Coki Beach

The US Virgin Islands greet you with warm turquoise waters. The dive sites in this tiny corner of the Caribbean are a genuine marine life paradise and with year-round favorable weather, you will pleased of your scuba diving in any time of the year.

san diego's wreck alley

Coki Beach, which is near Coral World Ocean Park on St. Thomas, offers a sport divers skills. Its pool-like waters are home to two 45-meter-long bordering reefs offshore and teeming with life.

The super stars of this sea show are puppets with golden heads, the cleaning shrimps, the rays and the sea turtles.


25. Midway, Homestead Crater

In the mountains of Utah, this natural wonder is known as the hottest scuba diving destination in the continental United States. The crater is enclosed by a rock dome that opens to the sky above and has a natural hot spring.

casino point catalina island

Despite its exposure to mountain air, the rich mineral water maintains a year-round temperature of 90 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit. Visitors can swim, bathe, dive, snorkel, or take a paddleboard lesson in the warm, calming water thanks to a man-made tunnel.

An open water certification can be obtained during a two-day program consisting of four dives.There are no fish in the mineral-rich springs, so objects are hanging at various depths and replaced on a regular basis.

Divers can see the source of the geothermal power source from the bottom, which is covered with silt.

Because the crater is somewhat tiny for a diving site, bookings should be made in advance with the resort. It is possible to ski and snorkel on the same day if you visit during the winter months.


26. Burlington, Lake Champlain

Vermont is home to the 120-mile-long Lake Champlain, which is famed for its craft breweries, covered bridges, and ski slopes. Several shipwrecks can be found just off the coast of Burlington, near the lake’s center.

shore dives

These wrecks are classified as an underwater preserve, meaning they are safe from ship anchors and looting. A 63-foot-long horse ferry, an 88-foot-long sailing canal boat, a smaller canal boat, and a coal barge, all dating from the 1800s, are among the wreck sites in Burlington Harbor.

The Waterfront Diving Centre organizes organized dives From May to September.

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