Best Sites to Scuba Dive in the USA
You don't have to travel abroad to scuba dive. The U.S. boasts a number of truly awesome places where you can get underwater and explore the diverse marine life. If you are passionate about scuba diving here is the list of the best places to scuba dive in the USA.
Glennэs Aquarius II Dive Shop // Monterey, California
To see harbor seals, abalone, leopard sharks, rock cod and more head to The Point Lobos State Marine Conservation Area. This site is popular among scuba divers because of favorable weather conditions and a variety of species you won’t find in Monterey Bay. Here rock formations stretch parallel to the pristine beaches of the U-shaped cove making navigation quite easy. When visibility is about 80 feet, the encounters may even include leopard sharks swimming through sand channels. As a rule, sharks get spooked when people approach them. It should be noted that the site permits only 30 divers a day and reservations are required (sometimes up to two months in advance).
Jack's Diving Locker // Kona
Located just several miles off Hawaii’s Kona Coast, the site is home to weird bioluminescent creatures, such as this planktonic larval left-eyed flounder, swimming in “black water”.
West End Diving Center // Bonne Terre, Missouri
Here you will feel like you’re in a post-apocalyptic movie exploring the three square miles of tunnels abandoned by the miners. After Bonne Terre Mine shut down and got flooded the site became a mecca for divers. Here you can see picks and shovels scattered around and the guides will show you the drinking fountain, offices, ore vehicles, a machine shop, geology labs, a small movie theater, and even the structure of the elevator shaft.
Denver's Downtown Aquarium // Denver, Colo.
If you live not far from Denver consider visiting Denver’s Downtown Aquarium where you can dive with sand tiger sharks. The aquarium is really huge, with 400,000 gallons of water brimming with rare species including sawfish, guitar fish, several species of sharks, and more.
Olympus Dive Center // Morehead, North Carolina
Another popular site where you can spot sand tiger sharks is Olympus Dive Center in Morehead. Be prepared to move out of their way as you are sure to see from five to 20 sharks that just don’t spook. In addition, here you can have penetration training as the site features the purpose-sunk cutter which resembles an intact Hollywood wreck.
Gone Diving // Bellingham, Washington
Because of pinpointing slack tides diving here can be extremely challenging to the beginners. The place is famous for the chance of encountering a giant Pacific octopus. If you dive the jetty at Fort Casey State Park you can see the wall dotted with white anemones as well as various species thriving in cold water, such as rockfish, wolf eels, enormous lingcod, decorator war bonnets, mossy-head war bonnets and a variety of nudibranch. If you are lucky you can even spot a giant lingcod the size of a bus. These waters are literally brimming with marine life, so take your time exploring every nook not to miss everything this incredible site has to offer.
Horizon Divers // Key Largo, Florida
For the experienced divers there is no better place to explore bountiful sea life populating the purpose-sunk reefs than USS Spiegel Grove that sank in 2002. Later the landing ship dock 510 feet long was moved by Hurricane Dennis to its current location. The wreck starts at about 60 feet, but divers should beware of strong currents. The ship is covered with corals that attract bountiful wildlife, such as goliath grouper, surgeonfish, barracuda and damselfish, to name just a few.
Jellyfish Dive // Smudges, Baranof Island, Alaska
To experience some of the world’s best jelly diving make sure you visit Alaska. Near Baranof Island you can see huge columns of moon jellies that extend 80 feet deep. Now known as the jellyfish dive, the site was discovered by the underwater cinematographer Howard Hall in 2008. The jellies are really big but harmless. They form a solid organic mass and the site itself is truly picturesque, with a towering snow-covered glacier, jaw dropping waterfalls and vast areas of incredibly beautiful scenery. Anyway, a trip to Alaska is an exciting adventure, guaranteed.
Catalina Scuba Luv // Santa Catalina Island, California
From Pacific octopuses, garibaldi and sheephead to leopard sharks and angel sharks you’ll encounter a great variety of marine dwellers here. Located several miles off Santa Catalina Island, Ship Rock features great kelp forests which are hard to find elsewhere, plus the visibility is better than at sites located closer to the shore because of greater water exchange. The site offers a dramatic dive you will never forget. With such a great variety of passing fish you can see here, from yellow tail tuna to sunfish it is hard to believe that the site is just 22 miles southwest of L.A.
Fling Charters // Freeport, Texas
This amazing dive site features all species of fish you can find in the Gulf. These wonderful sites located 100 miles from shore are covered by corals and attract even such big marine residents as whales and hammerhead sharks. However, scuba divers should be prepared for an eight-hour run from Freeport to East Bank, and strong currents that can disappear suddenly. The waters in the Gulf are unpredictable but the experience is worth the efforts as at any moment you can run into something huge.
Dive Oahu // Oahu
Don’t miss a chance to dive three awesome wrecks the same day at Dive Oahu, also known as the Waikiki Wrecks. These are the former oiler YO-257, former fishing boat San Pedro, and a smuggler’s ship, the Sea Tiger. The wrecks are home to various marine creatures that range from frogfish to morays, eagle rays and white tip sharks. It takes about a quarter of an hour to reach all three dive sites by boat from the Kewalo Basin Harbor. Both the YO-257 and San Pedro can be explored in one dive.