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Diving in the United States of America (USA)

Expansive and diverse, the United States offers scuba diving in both the Atlantic and Pacific, as well as freshwater diving throughout its wide-ranging interior.

Diving in the United States of America (USA)

Quick facts

No matter what part of the United States you plan to visit, you’ll find an amazing variety of great dives that will keep you coming back for more. From shark-filled North Carolina wrecks to California’s kelp beds, the sheer number and variety of dive sites in the United States is staggering. And don’t be fooled into thinking that the vast interior is dive deprived; there are some unexpected and memorable inland dive sites in places you would scarcely expect. Here’s just a quick sample of what’s on offer for divers across the United States.

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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Where to dive

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  • California

    The diving in California is varied and spectacular, but if there’s one thing that defines this state’s dive experience it’s the massive, looming kelp forests.

  • Cincinnati
  • Florida

    Florida offers tropical marine life, manatees, shipwrecks and reefs – suitable for beginners and advanced divers. Spring water caverns offer an opportunity to train for this speciality.

  • Hawaii

    Comfortable blue waters abounding with marine life await you in tropical Hawaii. Healthy reefs teem with colorful fish, begging for exploration by adventurous divers.

  • Illinois

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

  • New Jersey

    New Jersey in an unexpected place to get your scuba diving fix where you can come across historically rich shipwrecks and dazzling underwater formations.

  • New Mexico

    Awash in hues of orange and deep green, New Mexico’s desert landscape is an unlikely place to find scuba diving, but surprises await in the Land of Enchantment.

  • New York

    There’s much more than bustling cityscapes in New York, a surprising scuba diving locale where you can come across hundreds of shipwrecks that date throughout history.

USD 2,087Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 3,035Per trip
North East Dutch Springs - This small spring-fed lake in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania is home to one of the largest freshwater dive parks in the country, with numerous underwater platforms for open-water training and a variety of artificial reefs. Divers can also explore a playground of artificial reefs and wrecks including airplanes, a pilot boat and a cement truck. Midwest Bonne Terre Mine - One look at the billion-gallon lake that sits beneath the town of Bonne Terre will have even the most experienced divers packing their dive bags. The subterranean space was once the world’s largest lead mine, but after operations ceased groundwater filled in the man-made chambers and mine shafts with crystal-clear water. There are multiple trails in the mine, all littered with artifacts such as rock drills, shovels and ore carts. The dive platform is deep underground, and the water stays a brisk 14° C/58° F, so thick cold-water wet suits or dry suits are ideal. South North Carolina Wrecks - Just off the coast sits a vast collection of shipwrecks known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Divers can drop down on a WWII-era German U-boat one day and the next visit the site of a U-boat attack, like the Hutton, which is often flanked by schools of sand tiger sharks. Florida Springs - In these myriad springs, divers submerge among dramatic limestone walls and ledges, and explore cavern diving in the mouths of underwater caves. The steam wafting up from the entrance to Devil’s Den, near Williston, made early settlers think of hell; but the site is heaven for divers. Divers follow steps into an underground cavern before entering the water from a purpose built deck. The cavern extends under the perimeter walls (think upside down mushroom) and the water reaches depths greater than 18 metres/60 feet. It’s custom made for cavern divers with tunnels and swim throughs to keep things interesting. At Ginnie Springs, near Gainesville, divers with proper training can explore the “The Ballroom” cavern with beautiful rock formations in the ceiling. The visibility has to be experienced to be believed. South Florida - South Florida is home to some incredible dive sites. One of the best, Jupiter’s Blue Heron Bridge, is a shore dive easy enough for novices with such incredible marine life that seasoned divers will want to stay down for hours. As divers explore the bridge pilings they spot everything from frogfish to manatees. The South Florida coast is also loaded with shipwrecks such as the United Caribbean, which boasts beautiful coral growth in less than 23 metres/75 feet of water. West Catalina Island - Just an hour-long ferry ride from Los Angeles, lie the laidback shores of Catalina Island, where beach and boat diving abound in the rich Pacific waters off Southern California. Divers can hit the water right from the beach at the Casino Point Dive Park to explore rocky reefs and spot a wide variety of marine life – everything from nudibranchs to angel sharks and sea lions. Monterey Bay - Deep water close to shore makes Monterey an ideal spot for for unbridled ocean action, with the chance to spot sea creatures big and small. Many choose to shore dive here, with great opportunities to swim with sea lions at the San Carlos Beach breakwater, and towering kelp forests at Lovers Point. But don’t miss the chance to explore iconic spots such as The Pinnacles, where two rock pinnacles jut 30 metres/100 feet from the sea floor, surrounded by dense, fish-filled kelp forests. Puget Sound - The inland waterways around Seattle offer protected dive parks packed with man-sized lingcod and brilliant white plumose anemones. Edmonds Underwater Park has a parking lot right by the water’s edge, and it offers innumerable artificial reefs in less than 14 metres/45 feet of water. At Alki Beach, divers can spot rock crabs, painted greenlings and strange orange sea pens.

What to see

Marine life varies wildly depending on where you are within the United States. You can swim with manta rays and hammerheads in Hawaii, with dolphins and sea lions in California, and with tremendous sharks in the Florida Keys.

In freshwater locales you can expect largemouth bass, domineering wall-eye, and even catfish that are larger than you are!


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Full to the brim with natural wonders, the United States has protected much of these fragile and varied landscapes. From crystalline rivers that bounce down mountainsides to sandstone arches in the southwest, there is beauty to be found all over this rich nation.

Other attractions

While trekking through the states, don’t miss out on the amazing geologic wonders within the states’ interiors. If on a Hawaiian island, visit the volcanoes! Diving in North Carolina? Head into the mountains for a skiing trip.

Getting there

International and regional flights zoom across the United States constantly. To get around the country it is best to fly or rent a car. Public transportation is only readily available in larger cities or cross country.


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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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