Finding the best scuba diving in Florida is simpler than you’d assume. As a great destination to visit when you’re starting, there is a multitude of exciting locations for divers of all experience levels.
You can also easily get certified in the state ahead of an overseas trip to prepare for a future expedition. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on vacations, you can easily venture to Florida for a fantastic scuba diving encounter.
Below you will find a list some of the top-rated destinations you have to visit if you’re ever in the state and interested in going on a few dives.
Best Scuba Diving in Florida: Our Seven Picks
1. Biscayne Maritime Heritage Trail
Any diving instructor or experienced diver would recommend the Biscayne Maritime Heritage Trail for beginner scuba enthusiasts. Any diving excursion wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this national park. There is plenty for you to explore, and it’s designed perfectly for divers of all skill levels.
The main attraction at the Biscayne Maritime Heritage Trail is the six wrecks that have been fully mapped out for your enjoyment. As they are located in clear and calm water and aren’t too deep, they’re relatively easy to navigate through. You’ll also love viewing the colorful marine life right around the corner, near the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse.
For novice divers searching for a wreck that they’ll feel comfortable navigating should consider the Germania at the Half Moon Preserve. As one of the top racing yachts in 1907, even winning the Kaiser’s Cup, the Germania was the first German ship to be captured by England. You can now view it at the bottom of Biscayne National Park in its shallow waters.
2. Molasses Reef, Key Largo
Another destination we highly recommend for beginner divers who don’t have a ton of underwater experience is Molasses Reef. It will give you the feeling of a beautiful reef without having to put a lot of effort into navigating far below the surface of the water. Its accessibility is also what makes it one of the most, if not the most, famous reef in all of Florida.
Perfect for shallow dives, you can see live coral near the surface, and 25 and 45 feet deeper, you’ll see nurse sharks, lobsters, and moray eels. Another reason Molasses Reef is popular is that it’s a destination for diving certifications. It’s highly likely you’ll be spending a lot of time in this area if you are obtaining your certification in Florida.
3. Devil’s Den, Williston
For a more historical experience, we highly recommend Devil’s Den located in Williston, Florida. It’s one of the most interesting destinations on this list, as it’s a pre-historic spring. They are also a privately-owned scuba diving training center, so not only will you experience natural beauty but also get certified in the process.
Thousands of years ago, the roof of the Devil’s Den Cave collapsed and opened a karst window. The karst window allows an ample amount of light to enter the cave and has created beautiful ambient light swim-throughs for visitors to experience. There are cave systems; however, as this is a heavily regulated area, they are blocked off from the general public.
What you’ll love most about Devil’s Den is that it’s great for scuba divers, and it’s also ideal for snorkelers and young swimmers. With water depths between 50 and 65 feet, there’s plenty for all skill levels to experience. It’s a great destination for people who want to get comfortable in the water in a controlled environment.
4. Dry Tortugas National Park
As another national park you have to visit while in Florida, Dry Tortugas is easily home to some of the most fantastic snorkeling in all of North America. Located approximately 70 miles west of Key West, this area is home to a wide variety of colorful tropical fish and a myriad of coral. New divers will also love this area as it features shallow waters that are easy to navigate through.
Once you’ve had your fill of the local marine life, you can then heighten your experience by visiting the Windjammer, a 261-foot schooner wreck. There are two main fields for you to explore: the bow and the midships as well as the stern. You’ll find that it is home to many different types of creatures such as lobster.
5. Crystal River
Crystal River is for snorkeling, and it is one of the most amazing destinations for people who love manatees. If you want to view the 1000-pound sea cows, this is one of the best locations to consider.
It is home to herds of manatees from November through April, which is an amazing experience for the family. It is important to remember, though, that they are a protected species and as such, you are not allowed to chase, touch, or harass them in any way.
Aside from manatees, there are an assortment of freshwater springs and a mix of amazing marine environments and sea life, which include largemouth bass, tarpon, and redfish.
6. Blue Grotto
If you’re looking for an authentic cave diving experience, you’ll want to spend time visiting Blue Grotto, located close to Devil’s Den. An area known as the best large clear-water cavern in the state, it is for divers of all skill levels mostly because the deepest you’ll travel is 100 feet.
7. Looe Key
Any scuba diving experience wouldn’t be complete without venturing to a protected reserve, which is precisely what Looe Key is. Just under six square miles, it is known as a National Marine Sanctuary and has a beautiful underwater ecosystem that is fully protected.
Most of the reef systems in this area are quite reminiscent of what you would find in the Bahamas since they are pristine and jaw-dropping. In this area, you’re likely to find all of the soft coral and sponge that the Florida Keys have to offer.
No matter where you are in the state, you’ll be able to find the best scuba diving in Florida along the coast. Florida is home to fantastic diving experiences for beginner and veteran divers alike, which makes it perfect for a real family vacation.