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7 Best Places to Scuba Dive in the U.S.

Scuba diving offers a unique way to explore the underwater world, and the United States boasts some incredible dive spots that cater to both beginners and experienced divers. From crystal-clear springs to vibrant coral reefs, these locations provide stunning marine life, shipwrecks, and underwater landscapes. Here are the seven best places to scuba dive in the U.S.

1. Florida Keys, Florida

Florida Keys, Florida

The Florida Keys are a world-renowned scuba diving destination, offering a diverse range of dive sites from Key Largo to Key West. The coral reefs here are part of the Florida Reef, the only living coral barrier reef in the continental U.S. Divers can explore John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Molasses Reef, and the famous Spiegel Grove wreck. The warm waters and excellent visibility make it a perfect spot for year-round diving, with abundant marine life including colorful fish, sea turtles, and nurse sharks.

2. Monterey Bay, California

Monterey Bay in California is famous for its kelp forests and rich marine biodiversity. The cold waters are home to sea otters, harbor seals, and a variety of fish species. Point Lobos State Marine Reserve and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary are popular dive spots offering unique underwater landscapes and vibrant marine ecosystems. Divers can explore rocky reefs, canyons, and kelp forests, making each dive a fascinating adventure. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s proximity also means divers have access to extensive resources and dive shops.

3. Channel Islands, California

The Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California are often referred to as the “Galapagos of North America” due to their unique and diverse marine life. The waters around the islands are protected, offering pristine diving conditions with excellent visibility. Divers can explore giant kelp forests, rocky reefs, and underwater caves. Marine life includes sea lions, garibaldi, lobsters, and sometimes even the rare giant sea bass. Sites like Anacapa Island and Santa Cruz Island are particularly popular among divers for their stunning underwater scenery.

4. Bonne Terre Mine, Missouri

Bonne Terre Mine, Missouri

For a truly unique diving experience, head to Bonne Terre Mine in Missouri. This former lead mine is now an underwater wonderland with over 20 miles of navigable tunnels. The clear, cool water provides excellent visibility, allowing divers to explore submerged mining equipment, railway tracks, and artifacts from the mining era. Guided tours take divers through various “rooms” and passageways, offering a fascinating glimpse into industrial history combined with the thrill of cave diving. It’s a must-visit for those looking for something different from the typical ocean dives.

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5. Puget Sound, Washington

Puget Sound in Washington offers a diverse range of dive sites with rich marine life and unique underwater landscapes. The cold waters are home to giant Pacific octopuses, wolf eels, and a variety of colorful invertebrates. Popular dive spots include Edmonds Underwater Park and the artificial reef at Alki Beach. The area’s tidal currents and nutrient-rich waters create ideal conditions for thriving marine ecosystems. Divers can explore rocky reefs, kelp forests, and even shipwrecks, making Puget Sound a fantastic destination for underwater photography and marine life enthusiasts.

6. Flower Garden Banks, Texas

Located in the Gulf of Mexico, the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is one of the premier offshore diving destinations in the U.S. The sanctuary is known for its vibrant coral reefs and crystal-clear waters. Divers can encounter large pelagic species such as whale sharks, manta rays, and hammerhead sharks, along with an array of colorful reef fish. The coral formations are stunning, and the biodiversity is remarkable. Due to its offshore location, diving here typically involves liveaboard trips, offering an immersive experience in a pristine underwater environment.

7. Blue Hole, New Mexico

Blue Hole, New Mexico

The Blue Hole in New Mexico is a geological wonder and a popular inland diving destination. This circular, bell-shaped pool is 80 feet deep with incredibly clear water, providing excellent visibility. The Blue Hole is a great spot for training and recreational diving, offering a unique freshwater diving experience. The constant water temperature of around 62°F makes it an ideal spot for diving year-round. Its unique geological formations and the thrill of diving in a deep, clear pool in the middle of the desert make it a must-visit for divers.


Scuba diving in the United States offers a diverse range of underwater experiences, from exploring vibrant coral reefs to navigating through historic mines and encountering unique marine life. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or just starting out, these seven destinations provide some of the best diving adventures in the country. Dive in and explore the incredible underwater worlds waiting for you!