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10 Must-See Scuba Diving Locations In America

Photo by Damsea at Shutterstock

Thought about taking up scuba diving on your next vacation? Deep blue waters, colorful reefs, big sea animals, caverns, and haunting wrecks are just a few adventures you can experience in a scuba diving getaway.

You may think you have to travel great distances for great dives, but there are plenty of exceptional sites in our own backyard. From warm-water reefs to fair seas, here are the 10 best scuba diving destinations you can visit all across our country.

  • ATHENS SCUBA PARK, ATHENS, TX: A fantastic lake here offers amenities from campsites, jet skis, and scuba diving training. Dive through 35 sunken wrecks and cave systems that will surely delight beginners and pros alike.
  • DUTCH SPRINGS, BETHLEHEM, PA: This beautiful 50-acre lake offers up to 100 feet of depth for your scuba diving experience in the Lehigh Valley. The freshwater diving facility is perfect for all levels of scuba divers. Its also the home of some freshwater fishes such as the largemouth bass, bluegills, and zebra mussel that can be seen when snorkeling.
  • GINNIE SPRINGS, HIGH SPRINGS, FL: Located by the Santa Fe River, this spot is known for being one of the clearest springs in Florida. Enjoy activities such as tubing, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and camping in wilderness sites. PADI certification for scuba diving is offered. Enjoy the underwater sites with the enormous grottos, caverns, miles of underwater caves, and wrecks. Freshwater fishes can also be seen under crystal clear waters.
  • CORAL REEF STATE PARK, KEY LARGO, FL: This is the first undersea state park in the US, and it will be one scuba diving vacation you won’t ever forget. Whether you kayak through mangrove swamps, rest through their hammocks, or go snorkeling through the coral reefs, this would be one unique adventure. But nothing compares with the 70 nautical miles of scuba diving spots.
  • CASINO POINT MARINE PARK, CATALINA ISLAND, CA: The Casino Point Marine Park is a haven for sea life. Several ruins can be seen at a floating distance. Swimming among them are octopuses, sea bass, kelps, crabs, and lobsters. Seasoned divers can go as far as the backside to access Farnsworth Banks, known for its diverse marine life. While beginners can visit the Se Fan Grotto, where a multitude of sea creatures has taken residence.
  • LAKE MEAD AND MOHAVE, TEMPLE BAR MARINA, AZ: These are praised as the top freshwater lakes for scuba diving and snorkeling. Different ranges of depth for beginners and pro divers can be explored, such as the Kingman Wash, Black Canyon Boulder Basin, Gypsum Reefs Virgin Basin, and Cathedral Cove. Experienced divers can explore Lake Mohave’s Black Canyon, Ringbolt Rapids, and Cabin site Point.
  • MAUI, HI: Your scuba diving vacation on the island of Maui is swarmed with marine life and beautiful reefs. Pristine waters are overflowing with colorful corals and fish, making it one great underwater adventure for snorkeling and boating. There are a few dive sites in the area like the Reefs End, Reefs End Drift, and Molokini Black wall.
  • MONTEREY BAY, CA: With its clear water and shielded coves, Monterey Bay is friendly to all levels of divers. The pristine area, mainly Whaler’s Cover and Bluefish Cove, allows no more than 30 divers per day, so advance online reservations ARE necessary. Navigation is easy thanks to the rock formations going parallel by the beach. During the day, check in the nooks and crannies for eels, shrimp, and young fish, and watch for hunting nudibranchs on your night dives.
  • SANTA ROSA BLUE HOLE, SANTA ROSA, NM: The Santa Rosa Blue Hole is a geological phenomenon with its 80ft bell-shaped pool. This artesian well, once used as a hatchery, has become an ideal place for snorkeling and diving. A diving permit IS required to access this one.
  • CHANNEL ISLANDS, CA: Here, harbor seals and California sea lions are ready to meet you, and various nudibranchs and garibaldis make for colorful shots. Thick, towering kelp forests produce picturesque seascapes, and you are likely to see rays, giant sea bass, black sea bass, and small wrecks. Santa Rosa and San Miguel are better for the advanced divers because winds create challenging conditions, but Cathedral Cove on Anacapa highlights all diving levels.

Marine activity is one of the few places left on Earth in which you can observe nature at its wildest. If you’re ready to slip into that wetsuit and put on an air tank but don’t have the time or money for overseas destinations, we’ve come to the rescue! Pick any of the destinations above when you’re ready to dive into some world-class spots without digging up your passport!

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