Top 7 Best Places to Scuba Dive in the US

Across the globe, about 26 million people regularly enjoy the astonishing beauty of the underwater world.

It’s not difficult to learn scuba diving and snorkeling and it’s easy to find spectacular destinations to enjoy these skills.

So, if you’re thinking of taking up the art of aquatic exploration, or looking for new spots to investigate, keep reading. These are the best places to scuba dive in the USA today.

Top 7 Best Places to Scuba Dive in the US

Best Places to Scuba Dive in the US

1. Dry Tortugas National Park – Florida

This secluded and remote destination is ideal for nature lovers. It’s also one of the top places to scuba dive and snorkel in the US.

Thanks to a wealth of shallow waters boasting interesting things to see, Dry Tortugas is ideal for those dipping their toes into the world of snorkeling for the first time too.

You don’t have to have the best snorkel gear for beginners to get started, but it will make it easier to learn the ropes.

Only one percent of this destination’s above water, so there’s plenty to see and do once you strap your flippers on. The shallow wrecks and lively reefs offer an abundance of fascinations for snorkellers, while scuba divers can venture deeper around Texas Rock and Long Reef Key.

2. Monterey Bay – California

This marine sanctuary is home to the Point Lobos State Marine Conservation Area, which is one of California’s richest marine habitats.

Some sites, like Whaler’s Cover and Bluefish Cove, restrict diving activity to 30 people per day, so you’re assured of a crowd-free experience.

Here, you can look forward to seeing leopard sharks, rock cod, harbor seals, and abalone in their undisturbed natural habitats. Thanks to its sheltered coves and clear waters, divers of all levels can venture underwater at this pristine spot.

Water temperatures are around 50 to 60 F even in the summertime, so pack your drysuit for this excursion.

3. Flower Garden Banks – Texas

Texas may not be top of mind when you think of scuba diving in the US. Yet, the Lone Star State boasts several sites worthy of discovery, and Flower Garden Banks is one of the best. 

You’ll find Flower Garden Banks about 100 miles offshore from Freeport in the most northern part of America’s coral reef system. The site has three banks and is home to almost all the types of fish you’ll find in the Gulf of Mexico.

If you’re lucky, you could even catch a glimpse of spinner dolphins, whales, hammerhead sharks, silky sharks, and manta rays among the colorful small species.

After the first full moon in August, the site comes alive with spawning coral polyps, which attract hundreds of fish to feed.

Due to the distance from shore, it takes several hours to reach Flower Garden Banks by boat. It’s to a spur-of-the-moment destination but definitely one for the bucket list of avid divers.

4. Kona – Hawaii

Hawaii has plenty of picturesque spots to sink into the ocean, but the Manta Ray Night Dive on Koina has got to be one of the best.

This excursion sees you immersed in the fascinating world of these floating fish as they swoop after an algae dinner in the ocean waters.

Underwater lights on the ocean floor attract vast amounts of plankton, which in turn calls the rays to dinner. The sight of these beautiful creatures diving among the lights to scoop up their meal is a must-see attraction if you’re visiting the islands.

Some of the top spots for day time diving in Hawaii include:

  • The wrecks of USS YO-257 and San Pedro – Oahu
  • Black Rock and Molokini Wall – Maui
  • Lanai
  • Molokai
  • Underwater lava formations – Hawaii
  • Among the sea turtles of Kauai

Every island offers something for the avid scuba diver and snorkeller in this gorgeous island state.

5. Gulf Islands National Seashore – Mississippi

Mississippi might not be the first destination that springs to mind when you’re wondering where to scuba dive in the US. Yet, it offers some wonderful opportunities for underwater fun.

This pristine area’s filled with seagrass beds, sunken shipwrecks, and tropical fish, especially along the bayside of Santa Rosa Island. Here you’ll find masses of pipefish, pinfish, and seahorses drifting among the underwater vegetation.

Nearby you’ll find a downed tugboat and if you venture a little further to Pensacola Pass, you’ll discover the remains of the battleship, USS Massachusetts.

6. Homestead Crater – Utah

This unexpected inland destination also happens to be one of the most amazing places to scuba dive in the US.

The site itself is unique, created from a bizarre phenomenon resulting from years of snowmelt flowing off the Wasatch Mountains and heated deep beneath the Earth.

The result is a swimming hole concealed by a beehive-shaped mass on the surface.

You don’t need any special climbing skills to access this fascinating spot. There’s a tunnel through the side of the rock that takes you to the warm waters within. At 90 degrees, the water’s almost up to hot tub standards, so your comforts assured too.

Onsite, you can learn how to scuba dive, kayak, snorkel, and swim.

7. The Florida Keys – Florida

No mention of dive sites is complete without this top destination that attracts divers from around the world.

The area abounds with shipwrecks and reefs and forms part of the coastal Shipwreck Trail. With so many ships to choose from, there’s something for divers of every ability all the way from the advanced waters at USS Spiegel Grove to the easily accessible Vandenberg.

Measuring 524-foot long, the Vandenberg is a massive example of it’s kind. While in service during the Cold War, it served as a Russian missile tracker and today it’s the world’s largest purpose-sunk wreck.

These Best Places to Scuba Dive Are Great for Beginners

Many of these best places to scuba dive offer onsite instruction for beginners, so call ahead and make an appointment if you’re ready to take the plunge.

There’s no doubt that getting involved in sports adds immense value to your life and improves your health.

Keep reading our blog for more exciting news and information about sports activities and events.

About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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