Florida is known as a one of the top vacation destinations in the world, and this is especially true for scuba divers. With water surrounding the state on three sides and numerous freshwater springs in the interior, Florida offers a wealth of diverse diving sites as well as plenty of high-quality dive shops and operators. In a state famous for being home to Disney World, the waters off Florida’s more than 1,000 miles of coast are a veritable underwater theme park for divers of all types.
One of the main reasons Florida is so appealing to divers is due to its huge variety of different diving habitats. the Florida peninsula sits between the Gulf of Mexico to the west and the Atlantic to the east. Off both coasts, divers will find wreck dives, shore dives, pier dives, drift diving, and even treasure-hunting dives. Plus, running just offshore from South Florida down to the Keys lies North America’s only living coral reef, where divers will discover a huge abundance of marine life due to the warm Gulf Stream current that flows through the area. The state’s interior, particularly in Central and North-Central Florida, boasts hundreds of freshwater springs that are crystal clear and stay a warm 72 degrees year-round. Many of the springs are home to manatees, and some offer adventure seekers thrilling cave and cavern dives.
And if that isn’t enough, the state’s southernmost coast is home to the world-renowned Florida Keys, a string of tropical islands, which are the most dived region in the state. The scuba diving in the Florida Keys is so good and so diverse, the locale has its own separate page in our Destinations section. Information on all other Florida dive sites, however, can be found on this page.
DIVES NOT TO MISS :
During winter, you can snorkel or dive with the manatees of Crystal River and Homosassa Springs. These West Indian manatees live in and around the mangrove stands of Florida's coast, but come into Crystal River to find warm water. In addition to the Manatees, the Springs area in northern and central Florida offers great cavern and cave diving in places like Ginnie Springs. A great place to dive in Southeast Florida is around Boynton Beach. This city, which is located north of Miami near West Palm Beach, is the place where the Gulf Stream comes closest to shore bringing pelagic life and clear water to some of the most life-rich reef systems in Florida. Most of the diving is drift diving in this area, with natural and artificial reefs galore. Some of the best artificial reefs are found around Fort Lauderdale, along with plentiful marine life and the remains of a Spanish galleon. This area’s wreck alley has been created mostly from intentionally sunk ships that quickly become havens for marine life. This part of the coast has become home to at least 40 wrecks over the past 20 years.