SCUBA DIVING FLORIDA
Florida is the number one place for scuba diving in the United States. The entire state was once a prehistoric reef that has been covered over for the most part. But many places have eroded and opened up, so there are caves and cenotes even in the center of the state that are prime places for some freshwater scuba diving in Florida.
Not only are there some amazing natural reefs, Florida is one of the leading places for artificial reef programs, and there are hundreds of these around the state as well that are fascinating places to explore.
There is also the world’s largest freshwater reserves here that add to the endless opportunities for some of the best diving in the world.
Being a peninsula, Florida is surrounded by water on three sides, which makes the amount of dive locations seem endless. The beaches are pristine and so full of life and activities that you will want to spend your whole time at any one of them.
There are also places you can find where there are very few, if any other people and you can have the time to relax and decompress.
Of course, you can not spend all of your time underwater, so when not scuba diving, Florida has some of the best entertainment of the whole US.
We have listed here a few places that are ideal for divers of all skill levels. Click on their image or link if you want more information about that location, and it will take you to the more comprehensive location guides!
BEST DIVE SITES
The Keys are broken into four groups, the Upper Keys, the Middle Keys, the Lower Keys and the Outlying Islands. The Outlying Islands are accessible by boat only, and are great for finding the more isolated beaches, and more amazing sunsets and rises.
See our guide to Florida Keys Diving
The Florida Panhandle
The Florida Panhandle is one of the best places in the world for exploring historic shipwrecks. There is also a huge amount of freshwater underground which provides some of the best scuba diving Florida has to offer.
West Palm Beach
As home to world’s second-largest ocean current, this is the absolutely best place to drift dive. The current can flow as fast as 70 miles a day just one mile offshore. There are a few wrecks here, but it is best known for some awesome shark dives.
The Gulf Coast
The Gulf Coast is considered by many to be the best scuba diving in Florida. In the Gulf of Mexico, the water is warm and inviting.
There are so many species is marine life here that you will never tire of seeing what new thing will be popping up at any minute. The natural and artificial reefs here are so colorful and healthy, giving you amazing opportunities to see and photograph some of the best sea life around.
Related: Blackwater Diving in Florida
Caves, cenotes and springs
Cave diving in Florida is one of the best experiences in a lifetime. Grottos or sinkholes can be found in freshwater that create some elaborate cave systems.
Each system has its own unique ecosystem, with fossils and other things you will not see anywhere else. Be sure to check out –
- Crystal River’s King Spring
- Blue Grotto
- Devil’s Den
BEST TIME TO DIVE
Scuba diving around Florida can easily be a year-round venture. However, some times of the year are a bit better than others.
In Florida, April through October is when the water temperatures are at the most comfortable and the visibility is the most optimum.
Weather conditions are best during this time, which makes it ideal for not only getting to sites but for enjoying the beach and other activities with your head above water.
Hurricane season tends to run from June to November, so be sure to check weather forecasts before heading out.
ITINERARIES & ATTRACTIONS
When it comes to diving, there are a lot of options around Florida, and we could only name a few. From the various caves and sink holes, to shark diving in the Atlantic, to reefs and wrecks in the Florida Keys, the fun never ends.
If you are into wrecks, we recommend you try a “wreck trek”, following wrecks all the way around the key, including the incredible Vandenberg and Speigle Grove. If you want to add another one, get up to the Pan Handle and dive the USS Oriskani, the world’s biggest purpose sunk wreck and artificial reef.
If you are interested in some of the best sunrises and sunsets, you need to get down to the Keys, where you will see some of the best in the world, sometimes from the exact same place.
Key West in particular, not only has some amazing ocean vistas, but some incredible food as well. Never forget to try the keylime pie, and a lobster ruben sandwich!
WHERE TO STAY
Ever heard of PADI Travel? Yep, you can now book your dives and rooms with the biggest name in scuba diving! Trust me, you want to book you dream dive trip with the most trusted name in the industry!
Click the button to start browsing dive resorts and destinations.