One of the world’s most exciting diving areas to explore, when you go scuba diving in Florida will find a huge variety of diving. From big wrecks, oil platforms, caves, and reefs to springs and even an underwater margarita bar, there is something for everyone to enjoy while scuba diving in Florida!
Key Largo is home to the only natural reef in the continental US, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Molasses reef and numerous other dive sites offer stunning coral, many types of fish, sea turtles, nurse sharks, Caribbean reef sharks, green moray eels, and so much more!
Key Largo has numerous wrecks to explore, but perhaps the most famous is the Spiegel Grove, an old US Navy Landing Ship Dock, where you can hang out with barracuda and explore inside this amazing ship! On the USCGC, the Duane, you may catch a glimpse of the resident bull sharks hanging out near the bow.
Key West offers many dive locations with beautiful reefs full of fish. The Vandenberg is perhaps the most famous dive site in Key West. The Hoyt S. Vandenberg was sunk in 2009 and lies in 165 feet of water with the shallowest part about 55 feet deep.
Miami and Fort Lauderdale boast miles of artificial reef with several wreck sites offering great scuba diving in Florida. Miami offers the Wreck Trek and features numerous ships and the famous Boeing 727, The Spirit of Miami.
In Biscayne national park, you will find clear water and a map to guide you to the location of 6 wrecks of varying sizes and vessel types. You can also visit the margarita bar in the South Beach Artificial Reef Site or the underwater theme park at Neptune Memorial Reef. Barracudas, angel fish, yellowtails, and colorful sponges are just some of the expected life to see here.
West Palm Beach
In West Palm Beach, you can find sharks, turtles, large tropical fish, spotted rays, and so much more! At Breakers Reef, you can spot many of the Caribbean fish, green morays, and spiny lobster. There are also numerous ‘ship reefs’ at The Corridor.
Enjoy a free dive just off Riviera Beach under the Blue Heron Bridge where you will find octopus, angel fish, seahorses, lobsters, and sometimes manatees. If you’re lucky, you may see a batfish or flying gurnard.
Scuba diving in Florida takes you to the central part of the state, known for its springs.
Ginnie Springs was called the clearest water in the world by Jacques Cousteau and is also the location where Dannon bottles its spring water! It is a 100-foot diameter warm, clear spring. There are 4 different areas you can dive including the big cavern.
Devil’s Den was once a big cave that has since had its roof cave in. Scuba divers can enjoy depths of about 50-65 feet with several swim throughs.
The Blue Grotto is a 100ft deep cavern with some of the clearest water in the state. Temperatures are steady at about 72 degrees. You can dive down to the dive bell at 30 ft to chat with a buddy! For cave certified divers, there is also a cave system to explore.
If you want to snorkel with manatees, Crystal River is the place! There are additional scuba diving spots at Crystal River that offer caverns and great visibility.
The northern part of the state does offer some scuba diving in Florida.
Jacksonville offers a couple of wrecks to explore: the 327-foot Casablanca, sunk in 1972, and the 225-foot freighter Anna, sunk in 1986. Twenty-four miles off shore lies 33 decommissioned Navy A-6 attack bombers in 110 feet of water. You can also dive artificial reefs and a limestone ledge called Nine Mile North.
The Gulf Coast
If you find yourself on the beautiful Gulf Coast, you can still find some great scuba diving in Florida.
The Bay Ronto is an old British steamship that sunk during a hurricane and sits in 100 feet of water upside down. The interior has collapsed and diving or swimming into the ship, should not be done.
About a mile off Venice Beach, is an ancient river bed that is said to be the shark tooth capital of the world! The visibility here is very poor, ~10 feet, but offers the chance to dig up some very sizable shark teeth when you go diving here.
If you are looking for the world’s largest artificial reef, look no further than Pensacola, Florida! The USS Oriskany is a 911-foot long US Navy aircraft carrier. There are many other historical wrecks including the USS Massachusetts, the San Pablo, the Navy barge Camel, an A-7 Corsair that fell of the USS Lexington, many Navy diving ships, and Vietnam-era tanks.
On the panhandle of Florida, you will find limestone ledges, barges, ships, tugs, airplanes, tanks, and rubble that are steaming with wildlife.
There are numerous ships, Navy scraps, boats, towers, bridges, tanks, and all sorts of other strange items off of Panama City. A longer venture even takes you out to explore the British tanker Empire Mica.
Whether your vacation takes you to the panhandle, the Keys, or the Gulf Coast, you will have unlimited places to go scuba diving in Florida!