San Diego, California
San Diego, located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, is located in Southern California; just across the border from Mexico. This city is best known for its beaches, nightlife, and the abundance of available outdoor activities. While most people come to swim, surf, and hike, dive enthusiasts should know shorelines here also offer some of the best scuba diving in California.
One of the highlights of diving in the waters around San Diego is the water never gets truly cold. In the winter, the water only goes as low as 57F(13C) which, while not tropical, is certainly not freezing either. The most well-known spot for diving in San Diego is La Jolla, although there are a few other great spots in the area as well.
How to get to San Diego:
San Diego has its own international airport that receives travellers from all over north America, as well as from some international countries. Taxis are available (about $15USD +tip) from the airport, or you can take the Airport Flyer Bus ($2.25 one way) to get into the city center.
It is also possible to arrive in San Diego by bus or train. Greyhound buses are the most popular and the most common company, and serve most major cities throughout North America. Amtrak is the main train service, and the main station is located in Santa Fe, which is in walking distance of downtown San Diego bay.
Dive sites around San Diego:
La Jolla Shores: The most frequented dive site in the San Diego area, La Jolla shores is perfect for divers of all levels. It’s a very gradual sandy slope to a canyon and offers the possibility of seeing fleets of bat rays, swarms of jellyfish, squads of squid, and even some playful sea lions. There are several dive sites here: Vallecitos Point, South Walls, North Wall, Sand Flats, and the Sea Garden.
La Jolla Cove: A shallow dive site with a rocky reef, you can find all kinds of sea life at La Jolla Cove. Further out, there are some kelp beds and caves that can be explored as well.
Scripps Canyon: Scripps Canyon can be tricky to access, but once you get in it’s worth it. Steep cliffs and an abundance of marine life make it one of the best spots in the area. Bring a flashlight to look into the cracks and crevices for nudibranchs, eels, and even sharks. Not suitable for open water divers.
Yukon: One of the largest, and most intact, wreck in California. The Yukon was intentionally sunk in 2000 as part of an artificial reef for a project called Wreck Ally (two more dive sites, Ruby E and NOSC Tower are also part of this project). The reef can be penetrated for those with certifications to do so, but there is plenty to see outside as well.
Point Loma Kelp Beds: This underwater kelp forest is a must for anyone diving around San Diego. Keep an eye out for lobsters, nudibranchs, shrimp, starfish, anemone, and more.
Coronado Islands: Technically, these islands are not located in Mexico, not California, but boats leave from the San Diego area. The Coronado Islands are where you can find seals and sea lion pups. It is suitable for all divers however, make sure to have your passport with you since it is out of country.
Other things to do in San Diego:
San Diego is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Golfing, biking, hiking, rock climbing, surfing, swimming, and more are all popular activities to take part in.
The city is also known for its many museums including the natural history museum and the air and space museum. Visitors should also make sure to check out Balboa Park, and the Gaslamp Quarter.