5 Awesome Scuba Diving Spots in the USA

Don’t Go To The Beach Without Diving

For many people, a trip to the beach just is not complete without the opportunity of a deep sea dive. Whether you want to explore shipwrecks, encounter creatures of the deep, or be in awe of stunning coral formations, scuba diving can be a fun and healthy activity while you are on vacation. Getting certified is essential before diving, and if you choose to go for it, we have compiled some of the top dive sites in North America. Some people may not realize just how many incredible diving sites are in our very own backyard!

The Barrier Islands of North Carolina

The barrier islands of North Carolina are a perfect destination for travelers looking for a quiet beach setting. Unlike many major tropical destinations, the Barrier Islands are relatively uncrowded for a majority of the year.

Like many diving destinations in the Caribbean, the Barrier Islands are rich in underwater attractions. The Barrier Islands are a wreck-diver’s paradise. There are more than 600 ships that have sunk off the islands over the past few centuries. Some of the oldest wrecks date back to the 16th century, while more recent wrecks are from around the World War II time period. Some of the highlights include a German U-boat that sank during the World War II.

Unlike the destinations in the Caribbean, the dives in the Barrier Islands are not ideal at all times of the year. Dives in the winter time are possible, although a heavy wet suit is mandatory. This is an excellent destination for people who want to combine diving activities with all the other attractions the islands of North Carolina have to offer.

Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are home to the only living coral barrier reef in U.S. waters. The striking array of underwater plant life and aquatic animals creates one of the greatest diving experiences that divers, of any skill level, are likely to have without having to carry a passport (meaning it’s in the USA).

The Florida Keys are also one of the most well protected reefs in the world. Yes, the ecosystem is fragile, but a variety of features, including mooring buoys that keep boats from having to drop anchor on the coral, make it possible to explore this place without having to worry about damaging it. The also has a wide variety of shipwrecks. Many of the wrecked ships are located in relatively shallow water which is also clear. This makes them ideal for beginners seeking an easy first wreck-diving experience.

Channel Islands, California

The Channel Islands sit right off the coast of Santa Barbara, which is just north of Los Angeles, California. This stretch of water on the West Coast is teaming with sea life. The ocean around this eight island archipelago is home to a variety of unique species of aquatic life, including sea lions, dolphins, huge sea bass, and giant eels.

Sprawling kelp forests provide an unusual setting for diving activities. Five of the eight Channel Islands are portion of the Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary. This is a year-round dive destination, meaning you can diving any time of the year. However the water temperature can get as cold as below 50 degrees during the winter time, so during that time you will need a heavy wet suit.

Mauna Lani Caves (The Haunted Cavern)

Hawaiian dive sites are as diverse as the 130 islands that make up the long chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean. A very popular dive site on the big island of Hawaii is known as the Mauna Lani Caves, also known as the ‘Haunted Cavern’. This scary named dive is accessible only by boat. This is an excellent place to get a view of the Green Sea Turtles that the region is famous for.

The caves are in about 15-30ft of water all along the reef. Suitable and enjoyable diving for beginners to experienced divers. The caves follow along the reef, some are small while some large enough for a number of divers at the same time.

Access from the shoreline may be doable but that would require dealing with parking in a resort and walking all of your gear out to the beach, which may not be the way you want to go. The sites are a couple hundred yards out from the large white beach with some really good snorkeling along the way. For boat diving, the public day use buoys are located nearly on top of the caves. Just work your way north or south at around the same depth to find more caves that you can explore.

Panama City Beach, Florida

Not only is the sea life bountiful off this beach on the Gulf Coast, but so are wreck dives. This is also home to the world’s largest artificial reef, which was created with the intention sinking of the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany, back in 2006. Recently the city added a new attraction with the addition of two Voodoo F101 fighter jets submerged underwater.

Panama City Beach Florida offers over 27 miles of emerald green waters and white sand. It is a ton of fun, in, on, or under the water. This diving destination offers a wide variety of things to do for the entire family, from family-friendly mazes, to sports fishing, to the exhilarating nightlife. With numerous attractions, excellent restaurants, activities on the beach, remarkable accommodations, and first-rate events, you’ll never forget your time in Panama City Beach, Florida.
So, in conclusion, whether you decide to go diving down the Florida Keys, or the Channel Islands, or Panama City Beach Florida, or even venture into the Haunted Cavern, in Hawaii, you will be sure to have the thrill of a lifetime and are sure to come back home with some incredible pictures and memories that will last a lifetime.