Best Diving in United States

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Laying claim to the title of fourth largest country in the world by land area, it goes without saying that the United States is vast, varied and exceptionally large, and the scuba diving sites surrounding this giant land mass tend to follow suit. The most popular areas to dive are on the southern and western coasts of the United States in the states of Hawaii, California, Texas and Florida. Inland diving is also quite popular, with diving enthusiasts making great use of the many lakes, springs and quarries the United States has to offer.

Best Diving Destinations in the United States

Hawaii

Warm waters, fantastic surf and beautiful beaches are all part and parcel of the great destination of Hawaii. Comprising 130 small islands, many of these Pacific islands feature protected coves and inlets that are ideal for scuba diving due to serene, shallow waters and an almost constant presence of majestic green sea turtles. To the north of Kona, an eerily named dive site – the Haunted Cavern – awaits exploration.

Florida

Some of the most frequented sites in the US are located near Key Largo in the Florida Keys.  The exceptionally beautiful string of tropical islands known as the Florida Keys is situated in magnificent turquoise waters and offers world-famous diving and snorkelling sites. The marine life is well-protected in this area thanks to the presence of the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Divers can expect to see manatees and dolphins in the area, and could even take a trip to see the unusual sight of an underwater Jesus at the Christ of the Abyss dive site near Key Largo. Shore diving and wreck diving is also possible and can be arranged through the countless dive companies that are present along the south coast of Florida, especially in areas such as Key West, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

California

In sharp contrast to both Hawaii and Florida’s clear, warm waters, the water of the Pacific is dark and cold but certainly worth a visit. Vast underwater kelp forests make for a unique sight along the seabeds of numerous Californian diving locations, specifically around the Channel Islands located near Santa Barbara. Monterey to the north is very popular with both surfers and scuba divers alike, although divers do need to be aware of the strong currents and disorientating amount of giant kelp in these dark waters. Shore dives near the Monterey State Beach are a worthwhile experience to see pieces of history such as old, decaying pier structures and sunken boats. All along the Californian coast divers who choose to experience the challenging environment of the deep Pacific waters are rewarded with sea lion, octopus and shark encounters.

Other Destinations

The Texas Clipper, now positioned near South Padre on Texas’ south coast, was sunk deliberately in this location. The vessel now lies at a depth of roughly 23 metres and offers novice divers the chance to experience a shallow water wreck dive that is both exciting and interesting.

A large majority of American divers make fantastic use of the many freshwater lakes and deep quarries available in the US to complete their scuba diving certifications before venturing out into the oceans. In Pennsylvania, a spring-fed lake complete with above-water Aqua Park is a rather popular training location, as is Ginnie Springs in northern Florida.

Getting to the United States

Hawaii

The 50th and final state to be added to the United States, Hawaii has one international airport called Honolulu International Airport in Oahu. Various islands can be reached via short, internal flights from this airport or visitors can choose to hire a boat and travel this way. Upon arrival at any of the larger islands, numerous diving operations will be at your disposal to assist with your scuba diving arrangements.

Florida

Easily accessible to international visitors from a number of ports, Florida provides direct access to liveaboard dive trips and commercial cruises. Not only that, but this sunshine state holds the record for the largest cluster of diving companies in the whole of the US. Needless to say any of these dive shops would be more than willing to assist with any of your diving requirements including arranging boating trips and hiring equipment.

Tampa Bay is a natural harbour that offers a calm welcome to the waters of the Mexican Gulf and can be reached by three suitably-positioned airports.

California

It is believed that the first Aqua-Lungs were sold in the state of California by a relative of the world-famous and highly-respected Jacques Cousteau, and scuba diving has been a popular pastime ever since. With numerous airports in the state including the massive LAX in LA and an international airport in San Francisco, accessing the dive sites in California should not be a problem.   

When to Visit the United States

Although it is only one country, the climate varies greatly between different regions within the United States. As with all northern hemisphere territories, the summer season runs from late May to September and allows for warmer conditions in the Gulf of Mexico and dive sites located in the Atlantic Ocean. If choosing to dive off the coast of California, plan to make use of a thick wetsuit or even a dry suit to keep yourself comfortable in the colder Pacific. Climate considerations are based almost entirely on where you plan to visit in the United States however, as Hawaii’s temperate, tropical climate is well-suited for diving at any time of year with very little special gear.

Where to Stay in the United States

Again, with such a vast landscape and an immense variety of dive sites at your disposal, it would depend entirely on your chosen diving destination as to where you chose to stay for your United States visit.

Dive Sites Reviews in United States

Devil’s Cave in Florida’s High Springs is a true wonder fresh water cavern where prehistoric bones have been found.

This is a truely unique night dive where you can rare marine creatures rising from the deep such as siphonophores, ...

Amazing night diving with manta rays feeding on plankton!

One of the best shore dive in the USA and probably in the world.

This is known as one of the best dive sites in Hawai’i. This is a fantastic dive site with not ...

Kailua Kona is definitely one of the best diving areas in Hawaii and is sure to be a highlight of ...

Liveaboard Reviews in United States

Great Escape liveaboard articles goes here.

The MV Kona Aggressor caters to only 10 divers so you won’t be part of a crowd. There is a ...

Don August 12, 2017

Need space for 3 divers on Saturday 8/19.
Offshore diving.

Reply

Scott August 28, 2017

I will be visiting the area this weekend, and wanted to find out if you have any spearfishing trips running Sat, Sun, or Monday? Thanks

Reply

Robert September 11, 2017

Hi

I am looking to book a guided scuba tour for Point Lobos or some other cool spots near Monterey or Carmel sometime around November 3 through the 10th. Do have any suggestions for me. I have all my gear except a steal Tank I will need to rent along with weights. I am also interested in unguided tours if non are available, but would need to join a group or try and grab a dive buddy. Thanks

Reply

Florian September 11, 2017

Hi,

I happen to have a free weekend during business travel this week in the Monterey area. I would love to go for 1-2 dives saturday or sunday (9/16-17). Could you arrange that with a divemaster/instructor?

I’m OWD (and nitrox) certified since 10 years but typically only diving in vacation. Therefore litte experience (about 80 dives) but a little bit more activity recently (last dive just last weekend). German but almost fluent in English.
I’d also need rental equipment as I inly bring my mask (with optical glasses) and my computer (sorry, never trust rental computers…) with me.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon,
Florian

Reply

Sal September 15, 2017

I’m on vacation in 7 weeks not sure if you are going out diving but I have open water would like to see some shipwrecks

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Eva November 01, 2017

Hi we are planning to go to California in december. and would like to go diving while we are there. we are two experienced divers and one who has padi open water certificate from a few years ago but Without any dives after that. do you have any suggestions for arrangement for us? i think we will be in the Moterey area around dec 20. is it any risk that diving is not possible beacuse of bad weather or something? regards Eva

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Rob November 01, 2017

I was interested in a lion fish hunt for Nov 15-16. I was hoping for 3 tank dive, and maybe some helpful tips of using a pole spear. Do you offer these charters?
Thanks

Reply

Rogers November 05, 2017

Last July I obtained my PADI open water certification and Nitrox certification in St Eustatius. While there I did 15 dives between 30-60 feet.
I’m interested in continuing diving but am certainly concerned about the cold water (brrrrrr) and don’t have a dive partner.
I wanted to inquire about diving with you.
Let me know about schedules and your diving company

Reply

Valerie November 07, 2017

Im a photographer and I’m looking for guided tours Wednesday-Saturday. I’m PADI advanced certified and all I need are weights and tanks.

Reply

sean November 12, 2017

Morning

My family and I will visit Monterey in July 2018 and I was enquiring I you take out complete beginners for a sort of ‘try dive’.
I am Padi trained and dived all over the world but my 14 year old daughter and 17 & 18 year old sons have not dived before. They are competent swimmers and had a try of a regulator in a swimming pool. A short dive following safety briefs from the beach would be enough……can you accommodate??

regards
sean

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