It really depends on what you’re after but the best-known states for diving in the U.S. include Florida, North Carolina, California and Hawaii. We’re also giving a shout out to a few unexpected places like New York and Illinois!
From shark cage diving in Florida and the tropical Caribbean marine life to the wreck diving in North Carolina, the chilly waters of Lake Michigan and the historic dive sites of New York, the U.S. has got every style of diving covered:
Florida: This is your destination for tropical fish, warm waters, and interesting reef dives. Scuba diving in Florida offers great conditions for first-timers and beginners as well as plenty of intriguing marine life and a variety of dive sites for the more advanced. Scuba diving off the Florida Keys allows divers to venture into the fringes of the Caribbean while enjoying temperate waters rich with shipwrecks and sea life. Florida also claims to be the best shark-diving destination in the U.S. and one of the best in the world. If you’re after a thrilling day in the water with hammerheads, tiger sharks, lemon sharks and many more, book a shark diving trip off of West Palm Beach with Florida Shark Diving. This operator offers cage diving, feedings and - most impressively – guaranteed shark-spotting on every trip.
California: It’s the hypnotizing kelp forests and cool-water marine life that draw scuba divers over to the west coast of the U.S. Diving California’s waters means donning a thicker wetsuit than you would in Florida or Hawaii, but the rewards are worth it. Monterey Bay is famous for its seal population and the looming kelp forests of Catalina Island are world-class.
Hawaii: The far-flung south Pacific islands of Hawaii offer the most exotic diving location in the entire United States. Feeling less like an actual state and more of a remote, autonomous paradise, the Hawaiian Islands offer healthy reefs teeming with marine life and some spectacular wrecks. Big Island Divers claim to fame is the other-worldly manta ray night dive off Kona. Maui scuba diving offers an abundance of marine life and Oahu diving is full of wrecks and reefs. Whichever island you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
North Carolina: The number of wrecks off the coast of North Carolina has earned the area a fitting nickname: The Graveyard of the Atlantic. While the draw of scuba diving North Carolina is definitely the historic ship remains, the marine life here is also impressive. Sand tiger sharks have been known to swarm the Hutton, and the German U-boat is a must-dive for anyone fascinated with WWII history.
Illinois: Brave the chilly waters of Lake Michigan and be rewarded with clear water and literally thousands of shipwrecks, many dating back to the 1800s. Most sites require an Advanced Open Water license and wreck diving experience. This style of diving may not be for everyone, but it’s definitely an adventurous plunge for those up to the challenge.
New York: With a name like Wreck Valley, it’s got to be good. The string of hundreds of shipwrecks runs between New York and New Jersey and offers an informative play-by-play to American history. The USN Algol – a 400-foot transport ship active in both WWII and the Korean War – is one of the most popular dives in the Valley. Another wreck with an interesting backstory is the Lizzie D, a ship used as a “Rum Runner” during prohibition. When she sank off Brooklyn in the 1920s, she took down a load of contraband cargo with her. Divers descended on this wreck for years after in an attempt to salvage the bottles of prohibited whiskey.