Florida, a.k.a the Sunshine State, has about 1350 miles of coastline, so you better believe it has tons of diving opportunities for divers of every level. So, consider these picks for the best scuba diving in Florida, and you won’t regret it.
1. Key Largo
Wreck diving combines two of the most fascinating things in life: scuba diving and history. Key Largo, or the “long key”, has more than enough wrecks to bring tourists from all over the world to scuba dive in Florida and learn. They even call it the “Dive Capital of the World”.
One of the most famous wrecks in Key Largo is USS Spiegel Grove, a US Navy dock landing ship that sank in 2002.
Its sinking was planned to turn the ship into artificial reefing. Its hull lies 135 feet under the water, which attracts many advanced divers. Also, Hurricane Dennis in 2005 “righted” the ship, as it was originally intended.
The large vessel gradually became the backbone of marine life and attracted fish species, such as groupers, jacks, bull sharks, silversides, and more. Also, it’s become a home for sponges and soft corals. A similar diving spot in Key Largo would be the Eagle Shipwreck, another artificial reef.
One of Key Largo’s biggest attractions is Christ of the Abyss, a 4000-pound underwater bronze sculpture of Jesus Christ on a pedestal. As you can probably imagine, it’s marvelous. The way the corals decorate it and groupers, stingrays, and moray eels revisit it is something you should see before you die.
In addition, it’s only 25 feet under the water, so its shallowness makes it easier to reach by many. So, it’s a good place to start if you’re still not an experienced diver.
2. Devil's Den
Just like there’s Christ of the Abyss, there’s Devil’s Den. As Florida’s only prehistoric water spring, it has attracted the attention of every diver who wishes they could go back in time. No, seriously, really back in time. We’re talking about 33 million years back in time.
Early settlers gave this spot such a dramatic name because it’s a fern-draped sinkhole with steam, or maybe smoke back then, billowing off the water inside a dry cave. While it looks exciting to us, it must have looked very scary back then.
What’s fascinating about this 54-feet deep spot isn’t just its opening, but what was found inside. People found fossils dating back to the Pleistocene Age, and extinct animal remains, such as ground sloths, saber-toothed cats, and dire wolves. Plus, they found human remains that date back to 7,500 BC. Isn’t that wonderful?
The crystal clear warm freshwater boasts a fun little aquatic wildlife, such as guppies, catfish, crappies, and turtles.
3. Rainbow Springs State Park
If you’re looking to scuba dive in Florida, consider this rainbow paradise. The Rainbow Springs State Park is located north of Dunnellon, Florida. You can do a lot of fun outdoor activities in the park, but snorkeling and diving in the most atypical waters are what we’re about.
The criminally-underrated Rainbow river lives up to its name, as the crystal clear water glistens beautifully underneath the sunlight, showing off multi-color spectrums that leave you speechless. This beauty has up to 200 feet of visibility and a maximum depth of 20.
One of the best things about diving in the Rainbow River is seeing all the turtles, otters, manatees, garfish, and more. Not only will you find fish species, but also water birds, such as anhingas.
Hopefully, our list of the top locations for the best scuba diving in Florida has been eye-opening to you. Never underestimate a state that has so much geographical diversity. Happy diving!