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Lightly touching cold, clear Lake Michigan, Illinois in an unexpected yet fulfilling place to go on scuba diving adventures in the northern United States.

Diving in Illinois

Quick facts

Mermet Springs and Haigh Quarry are two of the most popular dives in Illinois. Both are flooded quarries, now utilized for water recreation and diving, their long removed pasts only revealed by the relics beneath. In Mermet Springs you have the opportunity to dive in a Boeing 727, going the wreckage, which was used for the filming of the movie U.S. Marshals.

At Haigh Quarry you can head to Artifact Park, an area created to teach divers how to engage in underwater archaeology. Haigh is a great place to get some certifications to engage in more advanced dives, later on.

You can also scuba dive in Lake Michigan, the largest body of water to come in contact with Illinois. Cold, blue Lake Michigan offers a surprising amount of shipwrecks to discover, many of which have important historical significance. Be sure to make a trip to the Tacoma, a tugboat with a stellar propeller.

Recommended training

If you’ve always wanted to take scuba diving lessons, experience unparalleled adventure and see the world beneath the waves, this is where it starts. Get your scuba diving certification with the PADI® Open Water Diver course

When to go

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What to see

American freshwater fish are abundant during dives in Illinois. In the springs and quarries you will see plenty of bluegill and bass, as well as fantastically large channel catfish. There are even albino cats found in the deeps, some of them as large as 50 pounds. One of the largest freshwater fish in North America, American Paddlefish are intimidating figures, their shadows reminiscent of prehistoric beasts.

In Lake Michigan, trout will probably be your most common sight.


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Awash in corn fields, Illinois has more than meets the eye. Tucked into the Midwest, this vertically stretched state shares a border with five other states and the mighty Lake Michigan.

Before colonization, these lands were home to several Native American nations: the Cahokia, Kaskakia, Michigamea, Moingwena, Tamaroa, and Peoria. Many of the names of cities and counties in the region come from these tribes, including the name of the state, itself.

During the civil war, Illinois was one of the strongest fighters for the Union Army, becoming a safe zone for slaves who were making their way up through the Underground Railroad.

Surprisingly enough, Illinois is the fifth most populous state in the USA, thanks to huge Chicago in the northeastern corner. As the 21st state, Illinois joined the union in 1818.

Other attractions

Hang out in big, beautiful Chicago for a couple of days. There are endless opportunities to attend cultural events, go to museums, and take long walks down the city streets. Out in the country, explore the woodlands, lakes and rivers that make Illinois so unique.

Getting there

Flying into Chicago is probably your cheapest bet, though busses run into the city from many states across the nation. Once in Illinois you will probably need to rent a car.


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Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

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