Best Places for Scuba Diving in the USA

Top-Rated Scuba Diving Gear and Kits in the USA

Who hasn’t dreamed of a home in the undersea world, surrounded by rainbow-hued fish, chattering dolphins, and gliding sea turtles? Through the magic of scuba diving, we can visit this watery wonderland at fabulous scuba diving Places in the USA. Traveling and diving go hand in hand, taking divers into some of the most beautiful parts of the world. If you live in the U.S., there is plenty of opportunity to experience unique dives, all without bringing a passport. Whether you prefer boat or shore dives, natural reefs, artificial reefs, or shipwrecks, these destinations offer something for every diving enthusiast. Let’s dive in and explore some of the best scuba diving spots in the USA.

California: Los Angeles and San Diego

Avalon Underwater Dive Park

California’s coastline is a treasure trove for scuba divers, and one of the prime spots is the Avalon Underwater Dive Park at Casino Point on Santa Catalina Island. Imagine diving into a forest—not of trees, but towering kelp. These kelp forests can reach up to 45 meters and are home to a vibrant ecosystem. You can explore lush kelp forests, mini-walls, and several boat wreck sites at Avalon. Watch for the famous flying fish and the bright orange Garibaldi.

Wreck Alley

Wreck Alley off San Diego is a must-visit for those who prefer exploring shipwrecks. This site is known for its four major wrecks, including the 112-meter-long HMCS Yukon, which lies on its side. These artificial reefs attract an abundance of marine life, making every dive an adventure.

Hawaii: Maui and Oahu

Lanai Cathedrals

Hawaii is renowned for its clear blue waters and unique volcanic landscapes. The Lanai Cathedrals are a diver’s dream off the coast of Maui. These large underwater caverns and lava shoots create an otherworldly experience. Here, you can swim alongside turtles, dolphins, white-tip reef sharks, and migrating whales, not to mention schools of colourful fish.

USS YO-257 and San Pedro

Oahu offers equally exciting diving opportunities. The USS YO-257, a sunken refuelling ship, is teeming with marine life, such as green sea turtles, manta rays, and barracuda. Nearby, the San Pedro wreck adds to the allure, making this a fantastic two-for-one dive site.

Oahu: Wreck Capital of Hawaii

Travelling to Oahu is easy, with direct flights to Honolulu from many mainland cities. Oahu is also known as ‘The Wreck Capital of Hawaii.’ Around the waters of Oahu are around ten great wrecks accessible to recreational divers. The Corsair Wreck, an aeroplane that crashed in the seas and sank in 1946, is a highlight. Some wrecks were intentionally sunk as artificial reefs, like the YO-257 and San Pedro, now home to various marine life, including eagle rays, sea turtles, and pufferfish.

For shark enthusiasts, Oahu’s famed North Shore offers shark cage diving. Both divers and non-divers can enter a metal cage suspended below the surface to see sharks up close. Hawaii is home to over 40 sharks, with tiger and hammerhead sharks often seen on these excursions.

Need gear or more information? SCUBAPRO dealer Dive Oahu has three locations on Oahu, offering classes, charters, equipment, and gear. Dive Oahu can set you up for an unforgettable Hawaiian dive adventure.

Florida: Key Largo and Deerfield Beach

Key Largo

Thanks to its warm waters and diverse ecosystems, Florida is a haven for scuba divers. Key Largo stands out with its combination of reefs, rocks, and wrecks. The reefs, about 9 meters deep, are perfect for divers and snorkelers. Don’t miss the famous Christ of the Abyss, an underwater bronze statue of Christ.

Deerfield Beach

North of Miami, Deerfield Beach offers three lines of reefs parallel to the shore. Starting less than 2 meters deep, it’s easily accessible for shore diving and snorkelling. Expect to see soft corals, sponges, puffer fish, tangles, and drum fish.


Jupiter, located in southeastern Florida, is a popular diving destination known for its warm water temperatures, good visibility, and abundant marine life. Most of Jupiter’s dive sites are deep water (70+ feet), making it ideal for experienced divers. However, new divers can get certified in the area. Jupiter is famous for drift diving, which involves moving with the current and exploring shipwrecks in the ‘Jupiter Wreck Trek.’ The Wreck Trek includes the Zion Train, Miss Jenny, and the Esso Bonaire. In summer, divers might encounter Goliath Groupers, which can grow up to 700 pounds and 8 feet long.

Jupiter Dive Center, a SCUBAPRO Platinum dealer, offers boat charters to deep-water wrecks. Their expert staff provides gear, services, and certifications, making it a must-visit for divers in Jupiter.

Alaska: Anchorage and Seward

Smitty’s Cove

Scuba diving in Alaska might require more preparation, but the pristine waters are worth it. You can explore sunken aeroplanes and the World War II wreckage at Smitty’s Cove near Anchorage. The cold waters teem with wolf eels, rockfish, anemones, and hermit crabs.

Resurrection Bay

Further south, Resurrection Bay near Seward offers dramatic underwater landscapes with plunging walls and towering pinnacles. The marine life here is incredibly diverse, featuring sunflower stars, plumose anemones, sharks, lion’s mane jellyfish, seals, and sea otters.

U.S. Virgin Islands: Coki Beach

The warm, turquoise waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands are a paradise for divers. Coki Beach on St. Thomas is a standout spot, with its two fringing reefs just 45 meters offshore. The pool-like conditions are perfect for spotting grunts, yellow-headed jawfish, cleaner shrimp, stingrays, and sea turtles.

Guam: Piti

In the West Pacific, Guam offers uncrowded diving sites with pristine beaches. The American Tanker wreck in Apra Harbor is a great spot for beginners. This sunken barge, a relic from World War II, is now an artificial reef bustling with colourful fish. Take a photo with the underwater American flag and enjoy the vibrant marine life.

Washington: Puget Sound

One of the best places to dive in the U.S. is less than an hour’s drive from Seattle, Washington. Seattle may be known for its misty rain, cloudy days, and mild temperatures, but divers know that Puget Sound has over 75 shore-diving sites. The Sound’s dive area is approximately 100 miles long, 10 miles wide, and has a maximum depth of 930 feet.

The diverse area has made it a place where some commercial diving schools, like the Divers Institute of Technology (DIT), send their students for training. Temperatures in the Sound are consistently around 50 F, but that’s where the consistency ends. Underwater visibility can vary greatly due to the strong currents that affect the area. Iconic marine life includes the giant Pacific octopus, wolf eels, small spiny lumpsucker fish, and various nudibranchs.

The cold temps require divers to wear dry suits, gloves, and hats. Underwater Sports is a local dealer in the Puget Sound area and has locations in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Edmonds, and Federal Way. They have equipment to buy or rent and can guide you to the thermal gear you’ll need when diving there.

California: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Point Lobos State Marine Conservation Area

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is home to many of California’s most popular dive sites. The Point Lobos State Marine Conservation Area is located within the sanctuary, which houses one of California’s most populated and diverse marine life habitats. Diving is restricted to 30 divers per day, ensuring a pristine experience.

Whaler’s Cove and Bluefish Cove

Whaler’s Cove and Bluefish Cove offer clear water and sheltered conditions, providing an ideal environment for marine life and a private exploration experience. Despite cold water temperatures averaging 55 to 60F in the summer, these spots are accessible to divers of all levels with the proper gear. Aquarius Dive Shop in Monterey, a SCUBAPRO dealer, offers guided tours, classes, and gear rentals.

California: Channel Islands National Park

Appropriately deemed “the Galapagos of North America,” the waters surrounding the five islands that make up the Channel Islands National Park make this California location one of the most unique dive spots in the world. The Islands’ marine ecosystems are supported by the giant kelp forests that house over 800 species of life.

Two currents, the colder California Current from the north and the warmer Davidson Countercurrent from the south, merge and make a home rife with marine life. Divers may see anything from minuscule anemones to the largest animal in the world, the Blue Whale. Due to this unique biodiversity in this area, divers frequently swim with starfish, octopus, lobsters, giant sea bass, bat rays, and California’s state fish, the Garibaldi.

North Carolina: Morehead

Another dive spot that features shipwrecks is the town of Morehead, North Carolina. Divers looking for adventure will rank this area as having some of the best dive sites in the U.S. Divers can charter boats through local dive shops and have all-day dives, with anywhere from 2–4 dives per day.

This area is home to sand tiger sharks, and while not guaranteed, divers can usually expect to see between 5 and 20 sand tiger sharks in some areas. Wrecks with fewer reefs won’t have as many sand tiger sharks, but the USS Tarpon wreck site is rife with them. This type of shark helps maintain the diversity of sea life near the wreckage and is an important part of the ecosystem. Don’t worry—they aren’t overly aggressive or curious, so it adds just enough thrill to the dive without feeling threatening.

Olympus Diving is an excellent diving resource and shop in the area. They can give divers all the info they need, from the area’s history to the conditions to expect. This shop also offers dive trips, boat charters, and more. Check them out when you visit Morehead.

Missouri: Bonne Terre Mine

You won’t find shipwrecks when you dive in Bonne Terre Mine, but divers will experience an abandoned mine just an hour south of St. Louis.

There are 24 dive routes accompanied by a guide allowing divers to explore the freshwater area with sunken movie theatres, offices, picks and shovels, and a drinking fountain—all remnants from America’s mining history.

To dive at Bonne Terre Mine, you must have proof of dive certification, select a package offered through Bonne Terre Mine, and make your reservations.

More information about what to expect when you dive can be found here. Y-Kiki Divers in St. Louis is a SCUBAPRO dealer and can help prepare you for your upcoming trip.

Michigan: Sanilac Shores and DeTour Passage Underwater Preserves

Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve

South of the “thumb” of Michigan’s “glove” is Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve. Over 15 shipwrecks in the Preserve offer great diving for intermediate and advanced divers. The Lake Huron Shipwreck Museum has information about the wrecks and the preserve’s history. Contact local dive shops for more info on scheduling boat dives at the wrecks.

DeTour Passage Underwater Preserve

The DeTour Passage is a channel rife with shipwrecks due to tumultuous weather on the lake. Heavy seas and strong storms led to the sinking of numerous ships. There are shore-accessible dive sites, and many of the wrecks currently rest in shallow waters that are easily accessible to divers.

The Dive Shop and Motor City Scuba are dive shops to put on your list if you plan on diving through Lake Huron’s shipwrecks. You can take classes, get tank fills, rent or buy Scuba Diving Gear and Kits in the USA, and reserve a guided tour of the areas.


From the towering kelp forests of California to the volcanic underwater structures of Hawaii, the USA offers a wealth of incredible scuba diving job experiences. Whether you’re exploring sunken ships in Florida, diving with sea otters in Alaska, or enjoying the warm waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands, there’s a dive site for every adventurer. So grab your gear and dive into these amazing underwater worlds!


What is the best time to dive in these locations?

Most of these locations offer year-round diving, but the best time varies. For example, California’s diving is best in the summer, while Florida and the U.S Virgin Islands are great in winter.

Do I need a diving certification to explore these sites?

Yes, a basic open-water diving certification is generally required. Some locations might have specific requirements for deeper or more technical dives.

What safety tips should I keep in mind while scuba diving?

Always dive with a buddy, check your equipment before each dive, be aware of your surroundings, and follow the dive plan.

What gear do I need for scuba diving?

Essential Gear for Scuba Divers includes a mask, fins, snorkel, regulator, buoyancy control device (BCD), dive computer, and a wetsuit or dry suit, depending on the water temperature.

Are there any beginner-friendly diving locations mentioned?

Sites like Avalon Underwater Dive Park in California, Deerfield Beach in Florida, and the American Tanker in Guam are excellent for beginners due to their calm conditions and shallow depths.

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