Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in United States

Divers will travel far and wide to find the best diving. But those who live in the United States have plenty of great diving on their doorstep as well, with plentiful access to the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. From warm-water reefs to temperate seas, here are some of the top places to scuba dive in the United States.
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Epcot Dive Quest

Florida, USA East

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(24)
EPCOT Dive Quest is an exciting experience offered at the Living Seas at EPCOT Center Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL which gives you the chance to perform on our underwater stage- a 6 million gallon aquarium which houses over 65 different species of fish, sharks, turtles, and stingrays. The program, which lasts for about 2 ½ hours, begins with a backstage tour of the Living Seas- a functioning marine research facility. You will learn about marine wildlife conservation and Disney’s efforts all around the world to protect our oceans. After watching a short film about how the Living Seas was created, it is time for the ultimate dive. We provide all of the gear, while you supply all of the fun when you SCUBA dive in our main aquatic environment for 40 minutes. You’ll be part of the Disney show as you get to dive in a place that millions have visited but few have been able to go beneath its surface. All guests are given a T-shirt and a certificate of completion at the conclusion of the program. Certified divers ages 10 and up are welcome. The cost is $140 per person (group rates available- other discounts may apply). This includes all gear, the dive, refreshments, a T-shirt, certificate, and a dive log stamp. Equipment includes mask, fins, tank, buoyancy compensator, regulator, weightbelt, and a 2.5 mm shorty wetsuit. Water temperature is in the mid-70s. Personal masks are acceptable. To make a reservation for Dive Quest, please call 407-WDW-TOUR (407-939-8687) In addition to Dive Quest, we also offer two programs for non-certified guests- Seas Aqua Tours and Dolphins in Depth. Aqua Tours involves surface-assisted-snorkeling in our main environment, while Dolphins in Depth involves in-depth information and interaction time with our two resident bottle-nosed dolphins.
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Rainbow River

Florida, USA East

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(13)
Spring fed river, incredibly clear. In addition to abundant underwater wildlife, see springs bubbling into river (looks like bubbling sand). Easy snorkel since you get taken upriver in a boat and "float" down. From Orlando - Approximately 83 miles ( time 1 hour & 40 min) 1. Take I-4 East or West or Florida Turnpike North exit #77 2. Go North on the Florida Turnpike approximately 55 miles 3. Turnpike will turn to I-75 North 4. Take I-75 North for 10 miles to Hwy.484 exit # 341 turn left 5. Take Hwy. 484 West to Dunnellon Fl. Approximately 20 miles to Hwy 41 6. Go right , North 3 miles to SW 99th Place. Turn right at light go 1 mile cross RR track then go left after crossings, 1 mile on right is KP Hole County Park
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Lake Wazee, Black River Falls

Wisconsin, USA Mid

Not ranked yet
(7)
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Biddeford Pool

Maine, USA East

Not ranked yet
(7)
During proper weather conditions, this is a pleasant area to dive and explore. All the sea life you would expect should be here. Beginners will enjoy the easy entry and relative shallows, while the advanced divers of your group will desire to explore beyond outer rocks. From Kennybunk Port, you can take Rt. 9 North for about 9.3 miles. Turn right onto Bridge Road, and then in another mile, left on Mile Stretch Rd, bear right on Orcutt Blvd, and go to the end. You can also take Rt. 208 East (Pool Road) out of Biddford for about 5.5 miles, bearing left onto Bridge Road, then left onto Mile Stretch Rd., bear right on Orcutt Blvd, and go to the end.
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Crystal River

Florida, USA East

Not ranked yet
(7)
Crystal River is a fresh water river complex fed by warm freshwater springs. It offers a variety of fish (mullets, catfish, tarpon, etc.) and many Manatees. I found the manatees were friendly and unintimidated by SCUBA. Sadly, all of the manatees I saw had suffered multiple prop injuries. If you do boat in manatee territory, please look out for them. This is an easy site to dive and offers a good environment for beginners. Maximum depth is around 40 feet. The water is in the mid 70s to low 80s year round and I was comfortable diving in a 3-mil skin. I know it can be shore-dived, but, I don't know a lot of the details of shore diving this site. I dove it from a small inflatable. I know it's in the North Western section of the Florida Peninsula, and, I believe it's a state park. Sorry I don't have more information. I only dove there once.
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King's Beach Fishing Area

Rhode Island, USA East

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(5)
A lovely, almost secluded beach area that leads down an old boat ramp to an easy entry into about 20-30 fsw after a short to moderate swim. Lots of eel grass, flounder, small fish, and other life. Not an amazing dive but it does the trick. Frequented by classes on weekends so it may get crowded. Viz ranges from 3-20 feet, mostly about 8-10 on a calm day. Route 138 east takes you to the Jamestown bridge. Continue over the Newport Bridge and exit at Scenic Newport. R on Farewell, R on America's Cup Ave, R on Bellevue, L on Ocean, to sign on L for King's Beach Fishing Area. Drive to the parking lot, plenty of room, not crowded, and free. GPS: N 41 27.234 W 071 20.543(parking lot)
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40 Steps

Massachusetts, USA East

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(4)
This is fine cove for casual diving. Easy entry and mostly sheltered from the sea. Coming from Boston, take 1A North. It will become North Shore Road, and then Lynnway. Continue to stay on Lynnway, wrapping around the coast, bearing right onto Nahant Road. From that intersection, the site will be on your left in 3.25 miles.
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Dutch Springs

Pennsylvania, USA East

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(8)
It's used a lot for training and open water checkouts because there are numerous platforms submerged at 25 - 30 ft. There are also quite a few attractions including a sunken fire truck, Cessna air plane, school bus, Sikorsky helicopter, trolley car, several boats and other assorted vehicles. There are also remnants of some of the quarry equipment.
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The Maury Island Barges

Washington, USA West

Not ranked yet
(7)
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Front Beach

Massachusetts, USA East

Not ranked yet
(3)
Front Beach is best as a swimming beach for the kids. The area is mostly sandy and shallow, with a few patches of rocks. It is, however, an excellent starting point for those willing to make the swim around the point to the left and end up in the next cove over, Back Beach. At the intersection of SR 127 and SR127A in Rockport (NE Cape Ann), turn South on SR 127A (Beach Street) to head into Rockport. In .3 miles, Front Beach will be on your left. You will pass Back Beach along the way.
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Deception Pass

Washington, USA West

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(3)
Why dive this site? If things go well, and so far they have for me, (I've been diving with a buddy who lives near the site) you drift with the slack current east past three separate steep walls and sometimes even into a group of pinnacles, until the tide turns and you drift right back to the eddy you started in at the end of the trail. The walls are absolutely covered with life - the colors are more intense and varied than any Hawaiian dive and rival South Pacific dive sites. After the bland dives you've just done in southern Puget Sound, it's hard to believe you're in the same waters (unless you're just coming from the San Juan Islands.) The main difference is that you've diving a solid rock structure, unlike South Sound clay and muck, that is capable of holding securely the filter feeders that live off the potent Deception Pass currents. Once you get used to all the lingcod, painted and kelp greenling on this site, it's time to examine all the different colored anemones and search out the Irish Lords and grunt sculpins. And what are all those other long, pastel filter feeders? You'll never find out unless you try this site! Deception Pass has tons of tourists in season gawking at the whirlpools a couple hundred feet below the bridge connecting Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands. I have never met another diver there, however, though this is the best shore dive I've yet been on in Washington, a state known for its shore dives. Pick up a copy of Henry Powers The Whidbey Island Dive guide or go to his former shop in Oak Harbor or the Anacortes dive shop for information. Here's Henry's drive directions: from the north (I-5 just north of Mount Vernon) head south on SR20 until passing over Deception Pass Bridge onto Whidbey Island. Once on Whidbey Island, take the first right turn into Deception Pass State Park. Next take another right turn into the North Beach area. Park in the upper parking lot. From the South, head North from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island on SR 20. Just before reaching the bridge turn left into Deception Pass State Park. Next take a left into the North Beach area. Park in the upper parking lot and gear up there (restrooms nearby,) packing your equipment down to the beach. (I'm guessing it's a downhill football field and a bit.) Remember that the park opens on April Fools Day and closes right around October 1st (usually).
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Lanai Cathedrals

Lanai, Hawaii

beginner
(3)
Off the island of Lanai is a remarkable dive spot known as Lanai Cathedrals. Inside pockmarked lava tubes, beams of light stream in with an ethereal glow creating an underwater cathedral. This beautiful dive is one you won't soon forget. After you take in the gorgeous views, exiting the cathedral can be quite a rush. There is a fun spot where there is a lava shoot where the surge can shoot you out as you exit the cathedral called 'shot gun'. Reef sharks, turtles, and many species found only in Hawai'i live around Cathedrals I and II (First Cathedral and Second Cathedral). With a max depth of 19 metres/65 feet and reliable visibility, Lanai's Cathedrals are accessible for divers of all experience levels. The most common way to dive Lanai Cathedrals is by booking a boat trip from Maui.
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La'ie Point

Oahu, Hawaiian Islands

Not ranked yet
(3)
An Advanced Dive to soon be Documented.
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Wells Beach

Maine, USA East

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(3)
For an easy sandy entry, try Wells Beach. This intermediate dive offers a view of the typical critters found in this area: lobster, crab, and flounder. A dive flag is required in this area since boats are plentiful. At about 4 miles North of Ogunquit on Route 1, turn right onto Mile Rd. Go about 1 mile to the end, where you will find parking. Park next to the benches, since that is the closest to the stairs to the beach.
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Mackerricher State Park

California North, USA West

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(3)
Mackerricher State Park has an excellent cove for a relatively sheltered dive. The park area itself is open year-round with 140 campsites for tent and RV's. The board walk that winds through the area allows easy access to wildlife and tide pool viewing. Located 3 miles North of Fort Bragg, off Highway 1. For more information on California parks, call 1-800-444-7275 or go to their website <a target="_new" href="http://cal-parks.ca.gov">here</a>.
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Homestead Crater

Utah, USA West

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(3)
An old hot spring provides a fun and inexpensive dive for beginners and advanced alike. It is a 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock that nature has hollowed out and filled with 90' to 96' crystal-clear mineral water. The Homestead Crater is the only warm water scuba diving destination in the continental US and it attracts many diving enthusiasts and those wishing to get certified in a comfortable environment. The hole in the top of the dome lets in light while keeping in the heat. You can dive this year-round and it is a popular place for scuba classes and in-water certification. Homestead Crater is located in Midway, Utah, just outside Park City.
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Stillwater Cove

California North, USA West

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(6)
Stillwater cove is recognized for its relatively undisturbed marine environment. Due to the sensitivity of this habitat, only 10 divers a day are allowed access. Sorry, there is no night diving. The Beach and Tennis Club provides the coastal access from sunrise to sunset, and there is a $10 gate fee to gain access into Pebble Beach. Located in the heart of Pebble Beach, the drive here is worth the effort, even if you are not going to dive! Drive South of Carmel on Highway 1 to Ocean Ave. Take Ocean Ave West and turn right on San Antonio Ave. Wind your way North until you find yourself on Carmel Way. You will soon intersect with the famous 17 Mile Drive. A gate guard will welcome you and relieve you of some money for the privilege of hobnobbing with the Rich and Famous. Travel North West for about 1 mile, and turn left on Palmero Way. Travel approximately 1/2 mile and then make a left on to Cypress Drive for about 1/8 of a mile which ends at Stillwater Cove.
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The Cave

California South, USA West

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(6)
This dive was recommended by a certified Gorilla. We've only included The Cave to show how difficult it can be to access. If you aren't comfortable climbing on sandy rocks, try a kayak dive instead! Located in the heart of La Jolla, this entry accesses some very nice coastline. 11 miles North of San Diego, take the Ardath Road exit to the West. In 1.4 miles bear left on Torrey Pines Road. In 0.85 mile, turn right on Prospect Place. In 0.2 miles, bear right down Coast Blvd, and turn right into the parking.
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Hospital Point

California South, USA West

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(2)
If you enjoy exploring the nooks and crannies of rocky channels, this is the place! Because of the rugged nature of this site, however, wait for very calm conditions before trying an entry. Otherwise, you may find out why they call it Hospital Point! 0.8 mile South of La Jolla Cove on Coast Blvd. (See driving directions for La Jolla Cove)
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Point Whitney

Washington, USA West

beginner
(2)
A life-encrusted intake pipe extends out, running north-south. You'll find the pipe starting at about 15' and running down to 100 feet, more or less depending on the tides. Look for GPOs under the supports. The start of the pipe is located near the center of the parking area. (There's really two pipes, but one is shorter.) Octopus Gardens Dive Shop has a good map and write-up of this site on. Point Whitney (near the Washington State Shellfish Laboratory) is a fine site on the Hood Canal north of Hoodsport.
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The Wreck of the Islander

New York, USA East

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(2)
One block from restaurants and easy free parking feet from the entry down a short ramp. Swim less than 25 yards and descend on the wreck in about 15 feet. No current. 30 feet viz. Easy as a shore dive can get! Google for more info and start by going here: http://www.1000islands.com/wrecks/ St. Lawrence River, Clayton NY side. This side wheel steamer was built in Rochester, N.Y. in 1871 and launched as James H. Kelly later changed to John Thorn. The Islander measured 125 ft. x 20 ft. x 7 ft. and weighed 118 gross tons. As well as a regular mail carrier between Clayton and Alexandria Bay, the Islander began island and river tours on July 31, 1893. The Islander burnt on Sept. 16, 1909 while at dock at Alexandria Bay. Since the tragedy the Islander has become a favorite dive site for many divers. The Islander is located just off the shoreline of Alexandria Bay. She is angled slightly upstream with a very slight current, which makes this a very pleasurable dive. The stern is in 15 ft. of water with the bow in 60 ft.. The best access to the wreck is to park in the town parking lot in front of the pavilion, just west of the hospital.
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Police Beach

Oahu, Hawaiian Islands

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(2)
Police Beach is a remote beach on Oahu's North Shore, even though it lies between other popular surfing beaches. It is not remote in terms of distance, but rather in terms of accessibility. The beach encompasses a large stretch of shoreline, all the way from Papa'iloa Beach to Pua'ena Point. To get to Police Beach, one either has to walk along the shoreline from Papa'iloa Beach or Pua'ena Point Beach Park because the backshore of Police Beach is private property. Episodes of the popular TV series LOST were filmed on Police Beach. The beach is sandy, but many areas on the water's edge are covered by a lava rock shelf. The ocean bottom offshore is rocky too, so swimming isn't possible here (also because of strong rip currents, especially when the surf is up). Several surf spots are located offshore. Also, local fishermen come here for shoreline fishing.
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Malibu - Redondo

California Mid, USA West

Not ranked yet
(2)
From TJ Jones
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Molokini Backwall

Molokini, Maui, Hawaii

advanced
(2)
An advanced dive, the Molokini Backwall is a world class wall and drift dive for certified divers only. The Wall is approximately 300ft in depth, however, divers will level off at 80 ft or less. You may see white tip, black tip, and gray reef sharks, manta rays, dolphins and schooling fish.
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Hookena State Beach Park

The Big Island, Hawaiian Islands

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(2)
We will be "hooka" diving using an inflatable boat on the big island of Hawaii this Thanksgiving, so shore entry is very important too us. We are sure some of the dive sites you have described will be visited. One beach not mentioned on your site is Hookena state beach park south of Kona. Having snorkeled there I wonder how it compares with the other sites you've reviewed. Thanks for a very good web site.
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Forty Fathom Grotto

Florida, USA East

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(2)
40 fathoms deep, spring water, good viz. Platforms to take a break every 15 feet. 40 Fathom Grotto<br>9487 NW 115th Ave<br>Ocala, FL 34482<br> (352) 368-7974
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Dive Stop

Missouri, USA Mid

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(2)
The Dive Stop is a commercial operation that features (generally) excellent visibility year round. Nearly all of the area around the quarry drains away from the lake, which minimizes visibility loss due to runoff. The quarry features several sunken 'toys' including a 32 ft. cabin cruiser, two trucks, 16 ft. open bow boat and a motorcycle along with several other items. There are two new docks, a newly installed beach, two training platforms, a picnic area, primitive camping and several canopied covered tables. Wildlife includes bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, turtles and a beaver. The vis usually ranges 15-25 feet at the surface, 20-25 feet at 20 feet, and deteriorates below the thermocline to 5-10 feet. The quarry is approximately 70 feet deep. The quarry owners have developed it into a commercial venture over the last two years, and all of the amenities are less than 2 years old at the time of this writing (Spring, 2009) and in excellent condition. Hours and pricing are available at the quarry's website, http://www.dive-stop.com The Dive Stop is a commercial dive quarry located at 3960 Highway Z New Melle, MO 63365. The quarry is located about 30 miles west of downtown St. Louis, just south of I-70. From St. Louis, drive west on I-70 until you get to Wentzville. The turnoff for Route Z is JUST past the I-70/Highway 61 (to Troy & Hannibal) cloverleaf... be in the right lane after the 61 North exit. The highway Z exit is less than 1/2 mile past the cloverleaf. When you exit, turn left (south) of the ramp and follow highway Z about 6 miles. The Dive Stop will be on the left (lots of flags and an office structure will be obvious... it is well marked).
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West Point Dive Park, Lohrville

Wisconsin, USA Mid

Not ranked yet
(2)
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Perdido Pass

Alabama, USA East

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(2)
Visibility can be very good but with lots of plankton. Lots of marine life to see. Look for juveniles and other tiny things. Going either direction on main road, exit on service road just east of bridge; park near the beach at the northwest corner of the service road. Short walk to beach and dive between first piling on shore and first piling in water. Quick drop off to 25 feet and dive around the piling. Dive at high tide or just before (8 a.m. is a good time to get there). Lots of locals dive this site but usually you will have it to yourself or just a couple of other divers. Strong currents with gentler areas near the piling.
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McGregor Point Site 2

Maui, Hawaiian Islands

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(2)
This is the North side site of McGregor point found at the mile 7.7 mark. Entry should only be attempted in calm seas. There are no facilities here, so bring water. Look for the light house at about the 7.7 mile mark of Highway 30. Turn onto the dirt road.
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Lake Jacossee

South Carolina, USA East

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(2)
In Salem
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Nags Head

North Carolina, USA East

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(2)
I have a friend who has a beach house in NC in the Nags Head area. We did shore diving there. Since none of the 'shore sites' are marked, it's a situation of where you have to know where on the beach to start, where to park, find the condo or beach house you use to reference the dive, then go X amount distance offshore and dive down and look. For example: The Tri-Wrecks. There are 3 wrecks (trawlers) in one place in 30-45 feet of water that are 100 yards offshore of a beach house. Two of the boats collided years ago and both sunk. Another hit the wreck years later and sunk. So all three together. Lots of fish and even sharks can be found on the wreck. It's a great dive, close to shore and a boat is not needed. The surf can be kinda rough and so can surface conditions, but it's as free as the cost of an air fill. If you go up there, most of the dive shops can probably draw you a map of how to find it. Not a recommended dive for a first time diver due to rough surface conditions swimming out to the wreck or for somebody who doesn't swim well. The surface swim is rough, but conserves air. In heavy surf, you'll have to dive and swim under the waves or get beat to heck and then re-surface past them and surface swim. There are also several other dives from the shore. One south of nags head that even sticks up out of the water, so it's easy to find, near Orgeon inlet. A little web research found the OBX dive shop we use. They have a list of wrecks on their website obxdive they also give shore dives. They talk about the tri-wreck calling it the 'triangle wreck'. You'll need to get a little more info that what they have to find the tri-wrecks underwater as they aren't right on the 2nd street access, but just probably about 40-80 yards south of it on the beach. The last date we went we were lucky as a group of spear fishing skin divers took a raft out and had it tied to the wreck, so was really easy to find. :)
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Illahee State Park

Washington, USA West

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(2)
Check tide charts! Went out during low tide which, when the tide started to come in, the current made visibility hard at upper level (6to12ft)but once at the bottom cleared up. Very diverse sea life in less than 15ft of water, clams, conch, Dungeness crab, halibut, starfish and very very large sea-cucumbers. Other fish were there but being from the East coast I was not familiar with the species. Eastern Bremerton, across Warren street bridge, make right beside 7-11 follow to end and make left. Follow to the bottom. Beach dive or pier. Fishing is allowed here so be careful!
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True Blue Quarry

Vermont, USA East

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(2)
I dove this site about 4 times now. Twice for my Advance certification and a couple other fun dives. I travel about 1 1/2 hours south to enjoy it and I know others that travel even farther. There is a car to explore at about 40 feet down, the quarry walls are so cool, especially if you've never dove in a quarry before. This quarry has some of the best viz as it gets very little top soil run off. Another car to check out at 80 feet down. I'm not a cave diver, however there is a network of caves from when they mined the marble. I believe there is a map available that some divers have made of the underwater cave system. You would want to ask Bottom Time Scuba in Rutland or Victory Sports in Colchester Vermont. Go from Rutland Vermont to West Rutland on route 4 B. When in the center of West Rutland turn right onto Marble street extension and follow for about 3 miles on your right. There are about 4 large Marble blocks that are place at the entrance where you need to park on the right side of the road. You can't see the quarry from the road. You need to walk in your gear about 150 yards. There are two common entrances. One to the left is a giant stride entrance and the one to the right is a walk in spot.
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San Juan Islands

Washington, USA West

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(2)
I've been diving in the San Juans for about five years now and love it. We are fortunate to have some excellent shore dives available. There are several sites on San Juan island with varying degrees of difficulty. The most note worthy in my opinion is Lime Kiln state park. Not the easiest shore entry and some potentially devastating currents, hitting this site on slack is well worth the effort. A series of beautiful terracing walls, you can hit 200' within 50' of the shore. Rock fish, wolf eels, octopus, pacific king crab, walls of metridium anemones, the list goes on. If you aren't familiar with the area, it's well worth the trip
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Wreck of the Wandby

Maine, USA East

Not ranked yet
(2)
For an advanced wreck diver, this is a great site. The Wandby ran aground here in 1921, and has since been mostly scavenged for its metal. Large and small pieces, however, are still around for investigation. We recommend you be guided through your first dive here, as the swim to the wreck can be challenging in even calm conditions. Located in scenic Kennebunk Port, this site is on the other side of the super-secret compound of the Bush's summer home on Walkers point. Driving through Kennebunk Port on Rt. 9, turn South on Ocean Ave and drive for about 2.3 miles. Just past Walkers Point (you can't miss the to-die-for residences), is a small dirt turn-out on the right.
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Turtle Heaven

Oahu, Hawaiian Islands

intermediate
(2)
This site is half the distance from Turtle Street and is inshore. The reef peaks at 10 feet below the surface and, because of seismic activity during its formation, has a valley below it that drops to a depth of 100 feet. The wall is on a vertical drop and it has a partner another 100 yards inshore. The main focus of the site is along a 200 yard section of the seaward side of the wall and its top has a wide variety of fish, corals, overhangs and arches. Small pukas are found through the side of the wall leading to Turtle Street. The characteristic valley is called the Haleiwa Trench. Another attraction is a substantial coral mound, 20 yards off the wall, which seems to be a remnant of the original structure. The pinnacle of this mound is 100 feet wide and stops 35 feet below the surface. About a dozen turtles sit on the mound and are at ease with visiting divers.
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Lake Okoboji, Arnolds Park

Iowa, USA Mid

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(2)
West Lake Okoboji is the jewel of Iowa. This 4000+ acre natural lake offers great diving for everyone. Clarity ranges from 70+ feet in the winter months to 40+ feet in the spring and fall to 12+ feet during the summer months. Depths up to 136 feet can be reached, but most aquatic life will be seen from 10 to 40 feet. There are several thermoclines that can be reached so a 5-4-3 wetsuit is recommended most of the year. Dry suits are recommended for winter, early spring and late fall diving. There are many points of interest throughout the lake. There are 3 different pipelines that are enjoyable to tour: Pillsbury point, The Milford Tower and The Inn. In Smiths Bay you can find a truck that fell through the ice in the 1940's. There are remnants of several boats in the lake. There are also many rocky points and drop offs. Aquatic life is abound everywhere. You will see fish species including bluegill, smallmouth bass, northern pike, muskies, white bass, walleye, perch, buffalo carp, and more. Blue Water Divers, a Padi 5 star dive center, is located on the lake at Arnolds Park. There you can get any supplies you need plus directions to favorite dive sites.
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Biddeford Coast Guard Station

Maine, USA East

Not ranked yet
(2)
This is another relatively shallow dive in the Biddeford area.. You will have more of a chance to see seals on this dive, since the rocks offer a good place for them to hang out and consume the abundant Striped Bass.<br><br>October 2004 - Received from Art Wallace: This is just to thank you for the Biddeford, Maine former Coast Guard site page. I remember many hours on watch in that tower (but I don't remember seeing any divers) from 1963-64, under Chief Boatswain's Mate Lee Merrick (d. Portland, Me. in the 1980's; he also had been keeper of nearby Wood Island Light). The official name was Fletcher's Neck Lifeboat Station, from back in 19th century, and is included in the National Registry of Historic Places. When I was there, lifeboats were no longer hauled out into the surf through those doors opening onto the road; the crew drove to the Pool Harbour to a 30 footer and a self-righting 36 footer; to maintain them, a 1st class Engineman was included in the station complement. It's great to see how beautifully it's been restored after its closure in the early '70s and subsequent neglect for many years. It's a long way from here on Lake Erie and hardly rates mention in the USCG's net files. Thanks very much. From Kennybunk Port, you can take Rt. 9 North for about 9.3 miles. Turn right onto Bridge Road, and then in another mile, left on Mile Stretch Rd, bear right on Orcutt Blvd, and go to the end. You can also take Rt. 208 East (Pool Road) out of Biddford for about 5.5 miles, bearing left onto Bridge Road, then left onto Mile Stretch Rd., bear right on Orcutt Blvd, and go to the end. The station is .3 miles further.
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Hood Canal Bridge

Washington, USA West

advanced
(2)
This is an advance diving site mainly because of the swim and the currents. You must time your dive rather precisely to ensure you are not swept in the wrong direction! For those who can brave the hardships, some fascinating sea life awaits you on the bridge piers including some spectacular anemones. From Seattle, take the Edmonds/Kingston ferry to 104. Continue North to Port Gamble, and you'll see the following street just before the turnoff to the bridge.
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Balmorhea Springs

Texas, USA Mid

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(2)
Oasis in the middle of nowhere, Texas. This natural spring is 72 degrees year round! Texas has a wonderful state park system, and Balmorhea State Park in West Texas is no exception. Located a few hours southeast of El Paso, Balmorhea boasts a large natural spring with views of the Davis Mountains. Stay in the cabins or camp on location. This is a great place for year round scuba diving and swimming (if you're really motivated!) where the water is consistently 72 degrees. Divers will see a variety of fish, and a rather feisty turtle. Entry is free for State Park Pass holders, and is otherwise $7. Pool hours are 8am-7:30pm. Check it out!
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Blue Water Adventure

Alabama, USA East

Not ranked yet
(2)
I was certified here, and as far as it goes it was a pretty good setup. There was a small dive shop for small things that may have been forgotten, and they did refill tanks. There was also an area for kids or non-divers to sit and watch the action from above. In the water, there is several wrecked vehicles (one, a 65 Mustang was supposedly Janis Joplin's, don't know how true that was!) , boats, a school bus, 2 fire trucks and several other odd attractions. And a few fish too! Visibility varies, as more people come and go the water gets murkier, but it had pretty good visibility. Web address is http://divealabama.com/ I-65 to exit 246, Pelham… Take a right at the light, follow signs for 31S. Turn Left at Pelham Parkway (still following 31 S). Turn Right on Industrial Park Drive, you will see the huge dive sign. Park is on left past sign.
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Point Pinos (Sewer Plant Beach)

California North, USA West

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This site is as close to Gorilla diving as you get in Monterey. Rocky entry, ocean currents, kelp beds, surf and breakers are your obstacles. Do not dive unless you have ideal conditions. Double check your dive plan with a local dive shop or guide. Once you've navigated the gauntlet, you'll be rewarded with nudibranches, starfish, anemones, and a variety of fish life. In Monterey, heading West on Del Monte, bear right onto Lighthouse Ave, then bear right onto Foam St. Make a right onto David Ave, then a left onto Ocean View Blvd. Continue past Lover's Point Park, and about 1 mile beyond, past Asilomar Blvd, you'll see the water treatment plant on your left and the beach on your right.
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Fortune's Rocks

Maine, USA East

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For you novices, this is considered an easy dive, with plenty to see. At the time of this writing, however, this site appeared to be inaccessible. We'd like to get a few reviews on the area, so if you've been here, write away! From Kennybunk Port, you can take Rt. 9 North for about 8 miles. Bear right onto Fortune's Rocks Road. In a half a mile you will be at Fortunes Rocks. You can also take Rt. 208 East (Pool Road) out of Biddford for about 7 miles.
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LA - Wreck of the Valiant

California Mid, USA West

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www.cawreckdivers.org/Wrecks/Valiant.htm -- From Christian Schulz In Avalon on Santa Catalina Island
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The Scuba Ranch

Texas, USA Mid

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A great local dive site near the DFW Metroplex. It is a spring fed 22 acre lake/quarry. Visibility is usually good. It is limited to divers and snorkelers--no boating or fishing. Catfish and perch abound. There are a number of interesting objects to discover underwater--an American Airlines plane, a boat, and an artificial shark are all marked with buoys but there is also a casket that you might just find while out exploring. Air fills on site. Picnic shelters. Camping. Hot showers in a bath house. www.clearspringsscubapark.com--is their website From Dallas: Take Hwy. 80 East to Terrell exit. Once you exit, you will proceed 7 miles passing through the downtown area of Terrell and turn left at the Exxon (429 North). Travel 7 miles to Cedar Grove Road (Cty Rd 346) and tur4n right. Go 1 mile and the gate entrance is on our left. Be sure to look for the Dive Flag sign.
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Laurel Lake, Corbin

Kentucky, USA East

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Rusland Wreck

New Jersey, USA East

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Kahala Barge

Oahu, Hawaiian Islands

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This dive site features the wreck of a barge that was sunk for use as an artificial reef in roughly 90 feet of water, 250 yards off the Kahala Hilton. The wreck, a 200 foot Matson Barge, lies upright and intact with a pilothouse one can penetrate, this makes for amazing photos. Visibility is great due to the currents cleaning the water, but one should take care not to get swept up in them. Overall, one should have some underwater experience before attempting this dive.
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Scenery Washington

Washington, USA West

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Aquarena Center At Spring Lake

Texas, USA Mid

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To dive in Spring Lake at Aquarena Springs you have to take a special certification class as a scientific diver. The lake is the habitat of 5 endangered species as well as home to archeological digs uncovering history from 10,000+ years ago. Visibility is as good as the Caribbean. Once you are certified you get to come back and do work dives for free. There are no purely recreational dives as it is an endangered habitat. Here's the website http://www.aquarena.txstate.edu/Divingscience.html From Austin, go south on I-35 to San Marcos, take Exit 206, Aquarena Springs Drive, turn right and go through 2 stop lights; immediately after rail road tracks see entrance and sign to Aquarena Center on right side of the road, take a right into golf course, follow the road to the left to the park entrance. From San Antonio, take I-35 North to San Marcos, take exit 206, Aquarena Springs Drive, go left under I-35 and through 3 stop lights; immediately after railroad tracks on right side of the road, see entrance and sign to Aquarena Center, turn right into golf course follow the road to the left to the park entrance. The San Marcos River can be accessed from the town without having to go to Aquarena Center
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Split Rock Light

Minnesota, USA Mid

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Lake Superior, just north east of Split Rock light.
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South Beach Park a.k.a Yankee Clipper Rocks

Florida, USA East

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The first tier of the Fort Lauderdale reef is located about 75-100 feet off shore. Lots of sea fans here, along with other coral growth. Juvenile nurse sharks seen here (I have the pics to prove it!) along with other juvenile fish. Max depth of the 1st reef is about 14 ft max, (average 10). This parking lot is right on the beach. All you have to do is gear up and walk across the beach in. All day parking is $6.00, and the lot has many freshwater showers. Also a picnic area with charcoal grills, and many restaurants, bars and shops within walking distance. A dive shop is located almost right near the entrance to the park on A1A. Lifeguard towers are dotted along the beach. Most lifeguards prefer if you dive during off peak hours (before 10AM and after 5PM). A dive flag is required by local law. This site is best accessed from the South Beach Park parking lot, located off A1A on Fort Lauderdale Beach. South Beach lot is right at the split (where A1A becomes one way), otherwise known as South Atlantic Blvd / Seabrease Blvd. To get there you can take SE 17th St, east to A1A, north to the parking lot, or you can take E Las Olas Blvd to A1A, south to the parking lot.
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Lake Six, Detroit Lakes

Minnesota, USA Mid

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Ahihi Bay

Maui, Hawaiian Islands

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For a more rugged adventure, try Ahihi Bay. You'll find no facilites here, but you will find a private beach some excellent snorkelling and diving. At the South End of Highway 31, bear right onto Wailea Iki. Continue to the T, turn left on Wailea Alanui, which becomes Makena Alanui. After 5.5 miles, you'll see the parking to the right.
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Mattituck Jetties

New York, USA East

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10 Mile Lake, Moorhead

Minnesota, USA Mid

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Elmwood Wreck

Michigan, USA Mid

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Various Marine Life, Old Schooner at 40' depth, Grassy area offers great exploring and includes great marine life viewing along rock jetty. Specific Directions/Briefing can be obtained at Scuba North (231-947-2520) Located at Elmwood Park in West Grand Traverse Bay, M22 north from M72 intersection. North of Old Coal Dock and South of Harbor West.
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L Street Beach

New Jersey, USA East

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Being in the back basin the current is less from tidal changes than in the inlet so you can get in a longer dive. The trade off is there is less to see but it is a good place to practice skills or test equipment. The site is used by some instructors for classes on weekends and can get silted out in the shallows. Best time is early evenings during the week, check the tide tables for high tide. All diving is west of the boat ramp, between the boat ramp and Rt. 35 is a low wall perfect for putting on the tank. Walk down the beach, not the boat ramp! Since you'll be diving next to a boat ramp, in front of a floating fishing pier or west under the sailing school a flag is a must! The second choice for an entry are the steps at the sailing school. In the shallows are sea grasses, as you go deeper (max 20') and under the boat channel it's sand. Things you'll see besides things lost by student divers, fishermen and boaters are the usual Jersey crabs, blueclaws, stone, hermits and horseshoe. Seabass, Sea Robins, Flounder, starfish, some shrimp and the occasional Seahorse. In late summer and into fall we get tropical's, mostly butterflies, some damsels, triggers, small frogfish and I have seen squid. After the dive there is a hose near the boat ramp for washing down boats but it works for divers too. At the west end of the beach near the sailing school is a beach shower but it's not always on and a bathroom that maybe locked if the lifeguard is off duty. If you like this and would like to explore east of the boat ramp contact DiversTwo in Avon about doing the clean-up dive one Saturday morning in October when the USCG closes down all boat traffic. L street beach is located at L street and Rt. 35 on Shark River in Belmar NJ.
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Newport Pier

California Mid, USA West

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The Newport Pier offers an interesting dive for the adventurer. You can dive to 100 feet or more if you want to go beyond the pier; you can traverse the bottom looking for the creatures-of-the-sand; or you can explore under the pier for piling creatures or artifacts from the fishermen above! Head down to New Port Beach. Off the Pacific Coast Highway, turn South on West Balboa Blvd. After 1.2 miles, you should run into the Pier!
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Triton Cove

Washington, USA West

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Hood Canal
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Scenery Central California

California Mid, USA West

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Colony Beach

Maine, USA East

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This is an easy dive that is generally used for classes. Currents and depth will not be a problem here, and you should have plenty of fun searching for critters and relics of days gone by. Located in scenic Kennebunk Port, this site is directly across the road from the Colony Hotel. Driving through Kennebunk Port on Rt. 9, turn South on Ocean Ave and drive for about 1.1 mile. Turn right onto a small dirt road, where you'll find plenty of parking.
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Rubicon Point, Tahoe

California North, USA West

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60' - 100' Viz! ~800' depth. Giant granite walls and lots of fish. 6,223' above sea level. 40-50 degF, so bring your dry suit! Lake Tahoe. Contacts: Sierra Diving Center 775-825-2147 (Reno) or Adventure Scuba 775-826-5333 (in Reno) or Tropical Penguins 775-828-3483 (Reno) or Strictly Scuba 775-884-3483 (Carson City)
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Scenery South California

California South, USA West

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Silver Bay

Minnesota, USA Mid

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Lake Superior
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Lake McConaughy

Nebraska, USA Mid

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Manasquan Jetty

New Jersey, USA East

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Manhattan Beach

New York, USA East

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Scenery North California

California North, USA West

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Natural Springs Resort

Ohio, USA East

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Fairly shallow throughout the quarry, but is more "alive" with plants and fish than any other quarries in the area. It contains the usual boats, cars, etc. The quarry is surrounded by a very nice campground complete with a snack bar, swimming pool and sandy beach area. There is plenty of parking and pavement all the way to the staging area for divers. Air is available on site. All of the park staff are friendly and helpful. With easy access off and on I-70 at exit 156b (Richmond, IN.), your access is via ALL paved roads (including into the park!) and yet far enough away from the freeway (2.5 miles) that you can enjoy the feelings of being in the great outdoors. Directions: East or Westbound, take Indiana exit 156B to Eastbound US 40. Travel 1.5 miles to flashing yellow light and turn left onto State Route 320. Travel 1 mile into village of New Paris, passing a Sunoco Gas Station on your left.. Look for our resort sign just after the Sunoco, on the left.
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Reverse Cove

California North, USA West

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A shallow cove that is relatively well protected from a northern swell. The climb is rough, but the fish and plant life is impressive for a shore dive. Because of the shallow water and hard hike down, this site is better as a free diving site than a SCUBA site, although both are possible. From Carmel or Monterey take the 1 South to Garrapata State Beach. Landmarks get scarce, but you will hit a grove of cypress trees on your left. From there continue a half mile to a dirt turnout on your right. Once you get there, a steep dirt trail takes you into the cove
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Meek's Bay, Tahoe

California North, USA West

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The beach area is marked off to keep out boat traffic, and while Scuba is allowed in the swim area, Viz is much better outside the swim area. Bring a float to warn boat traffic. The depth outside the swim area is about 15-20 feet, and there is a gradual slope that continues down into the abyss. There is a rocky area along the north side of the bay, along with some petrified trees. Not many fish, but a few crawdads in the area. Temperatures are low, but during summer a thick wetsuit is enough. Visibility typically over 30 feet. It's a common training site because of the ideal conditions. There is a wreck in the bay, but it is located close to the boat lanes. Meek's Bay is located north of Emerald bay on the west side of Lake Tahoe. The dive site is located inside a park/campground called Meek's Bay. It's about a 45 minute drive from the south lake area.
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ACME Barge

New Jersey, USA East

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Sand Harbor, Tahoe

California North, USA West

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60' - 100' Viz! ~800' depth. Giant granite walls and lots of fish. 6,223' above sea level. 40-50 degF, so bring your dry suit! Lake Tahoe. Contacts: Sierra Diving Center 775-825-2147 (Reno) or Adventure Scuba 775-826-5333 (in Reno) or Tropical Penguins 775-828-3483 (Reno) or Strictly Scuba 775-884-3483 (Carson City)
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Old Steamship Pier

Maine, USA East

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The premier shore dive site in Maine is the Old Steamship Pier in Eastport. The site is the remains of an old steamship pier used by Franklin D. Roosevelt and others. Campobello Island, Canada can be seen right across the way. Currents at this site can be strong due to tidal differences in excess of twenty feet, after all this is the Bay of Fundy area. Marine life is prolific and immense due to high nutrient flow from the currents and tides. Being the site of an old pier and fishing town there is ample opportunity to gather old medicine bottles, clay pipes and other antiquities long ago cast in to the sea. The only down side of the site is that it is a long way from "civilization". It is over a six hour drive from Boston.
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Nohili Point

Kauai, Hawaii

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Nohili Point is at the far Western edge of the island just North of the Pacific Missile Range Facility. This is an extreme, open-ocean dive with unpredictable currents. Do not attempt this dive without a guide. Directions: From Lihu'e, drive West on Highway 50 until the final fork, bearing right on Kao Road as if you are heading to the Polihale State Park. About .25 mile after the fork, turn left as shown in the picture below.
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Cape Hedge

Massachusetts, USA East

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Cape Hedge is an easy, shallow dive with depths of no more than 35 feet. At the end of SR 128 in Cape Ann, turn Left on SR 127A (Cross Street). In one half mile, turn left (following SR 127A) onto Thatcher Road. After 2.8 miles, turn right onto South Street, and travel almost to the end (.4 miles), bearing to the right when you get to the ocean.
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Lake Greeson

Arkansas, USA Mid

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Lake Greeson is surrounded by woods with almost no development on the lake. This is a beautiful hilly area. Visibility can range from near none to 20 feet. Diving is best done during the week as boat traffic can reduce visibility on weekends. Laurel Creek is a relatively low traffic area and offers easy shore entry. With something as simple as a sit on top kayak, other sites such as rock walls are readily available. Lake Greeson is just north of the town of Murfreesboro, AR. Hwy 19 from Murfreesboro will take you to the dam and parks on the west side of the lake. The best opportunities for scuba are off Hwy 27 between Murfreesboro and Hot Springs. Signs point to park areas such as Cow Hide Creek and Laurel Creek
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Blue Lakes

Utah, USA West

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Blue Lake is a large spring-fed pond out in the wilderness of the Utah-Nevada border (about 20 miles south of Wendover). The warm spring water keeps the lake open to diving year-round. Blue Lake is known for excellent visibility, Blue Lake's water is slightly salty to the taste and light blue in color. Surface water temperature is around 78 degrees in mid-summer. Near the bottom, the temperature increases to 83. (Winter surface temperature is around 69.) There is no thermocline. Depth is 55 feet, with "boiling silt" at the bottom where water comes up from the springs. Visibility is 15-25 feet. Silt is easily stirred up by divers on the bottom. Friendly fish, and warm water. Altitude is around 4,300 feet. Parking area GPS is N 40 30.107' W 114 02.161'. There are several underwater sculptures to find on the bottom of this lake. You can also find two small boat wrecks. The lake covers several acres, and is deep enough to be a good refresher for deeper water dives on the ocean. Blue Lake is a large spring-fed pond out in the wilderness of the Utah-Nevada border (about 20 miles south of Wendover). Parking area GPS is N 40 30.107' W 114 02.161'.
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Sea Brook Beach

New Hampshire, USA East

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This is an easy, sandy dive for beginners. At about one half mile South of the Hampton Bridge, head East from the only stop light, and stop at the beach.
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Shinnecock Jetty

New York, USA East

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Hillsboro Inlet Jetty

Florida, USA East

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I snorkel the outside part of the jetty (the side facing AWAY from the inlet, towards the beach, and shielded from the tidal currents) all the time. It's an easy swim right off the beach, and drops off quickly to about 20-30 feet of water. Lots of hard corals on boulders on the deeper sections; some ledges; some rubble, etc on bottom. Depending on the season, barracuda, a few jacks and even occasional snook. Always parrotfish, blowfish, stonefish, schools of minnows and pinfish. Some caveats: its dangerous and illegal to swim on the inlet-side of the jetty; currents are very swift, the inlet is narrow, and there's a near-constant flow of yachts, cigarette boats, and day-boaters going through. Also, for max visibility, try to time your dive 3-4 hours after the incoming tide. That brings in fresh clear ocean water (visibility typically 20-30 feet) and leaves time for the tide to push back all the tea-colored water that comes out of the Intercostals Waterway on the outgoing tide. From I-95, exit at Atlantic Blvd (Pompano Beach) and drive east all the way to the coastal beach highway, A1A (about 3-4 miles). Turn left (north) up A1A about 2 miles; just past the traffic light at 14th Street is a small public beach park (at 16th Street), with metered parking, bathrooms + outdoor shower. From there, it's about a quarter-mile walk along the beach to the Inlet (you can't miss it because the Hillsboro lighthouse is on the other side).
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Lake Francis Case

Nebraska, USA Mid

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In southeast South Dakota, not far from the Nebraska border, visitors come to this Midwest site for its variety of recreational opportunities. The lake, formed behind the Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River, covers 100,000 square acres (40,000 hectares). Dive shops use the lake for open-water training, and an annual spearfishing tournament is held there as well. Many divers prefer the east side of the lake where boat ramps are plentiful and the bottom is more rocky and less muddy than on the west side. The lake is named after Francis H. Case, a Republican Congressman from South Dakota, whose main goals were to expand America’s road and waterway infrastructure.
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Blue Water Lake, Joplin

Missouri, USA Mid

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Tech Reef

Oahu, Hawaiian Islands

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Morro Rock North

California Mid, USA West

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What a beautiful dive site! With a nice beach and facilities for the non-divers, you will find a technically challenging adventure at Morro Rock. The entry can be difficult and the swim can be long, so talk to the local dive shop before attempting this one. Found in Morro Bay just 12 miles North of San Louis Obispo on Highway 1. Take the Morro Bay Blvd exit to the West; turn right on Main Street; Left on Harbor Street; right on Front Street to parallel the bay; merge onto Embarcadero; then merge onto Coleman Drive, and continue around the bay. If you get lost, just drive toward the big rock-- you can't miss it!
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Excellsior Bay

Minnesota, USA Mid

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According to the lifeguard I talked to this far beach is the only beach were shore diving is publicly allowed that they knew of. Flags are required, and you are sitting shoulder to shoulder with wind surfers who also use this access. A shallow rocky point comes up and prevents boaters from getting to close to the point. Visibility is roughly 6ft in the summer dropping sometimes to 4ft. But early and late in the year when the water is cold and the wind is down it can get better. This particular beach has a nice assortment of native plants. Parking meters require coins, and the park is relatively safe and heavily used. Bottom is sand. Sunfish and occasional bass are main attractants, occasional musky. This is a fairly typical representative ecosystem for central Minnesota. Close to the cities and definitely public friendly. But I would mention that this lake has had a lot of legislation changes and is under constant change as far as rules go, so I would double check locally before using this at least once a year. It is primarily a shallow dive 10ft or less, it drops off fast out a hundred feet or so from shore, then gets deep 20ft+. Weeds are thick if you plan to move out to the outer edge. For that reason I consider this an ideal snorkeling spot more than diving. Lake Minnetonka depending on its depth fluctuates its position in the top 14 of Minnesota's 10,000+ lakes. Excellsior bay has the largest public park on the lake with two public beaches, the swimming beach is for swimming only, and has a life guard. the far beach on the other side from the point, is the only place were diving is allowed from shore.
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Atlantic Beach Old Bridge

New York, USA East

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Cedar Beach Jetty

New York, USA East

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Mesabi Iron Mine Pits, Crosby

Minnesota, USA Mid

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Howard Park Cave Dive

Florida, USA East

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Thought you might Like to add this to your list of Shore dive sites in Florida This is a wild cave and can be a bit hairy as vis can range from 20 down to < 5 and 65' at the deepest spot I have found. Have Fun --Tim Not so easy to find if you don’t know exactly where it is. And since this winter my markers have been blown off by the storms. The site is listed at http://www.caveatlas.com/systems/system.asp?ID=37
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Morrow Canyon

California Mid, USA West

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Morrow Canyon is at the Southern reaches of Crystal Cove State Park, and is provided to show the length of rocky shoreline you have to explore. Drive 1.3 miles South of the previous dive site.
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Shoreham Jetty

New York, USA East

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Ft. Randall Reservoir, Kearney

Nebraska, USA Mid

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Fox Hill Point

New Hampshire, USA East

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An interesting, shallow dive with plenty of rocks to explore In North Hampton and Little Boars Head, one half mile North of the intesection of 1A and 101D (Atlantic Ave.).
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Bainbridge Sportsman's Club

Pennsylvania, USA East

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There are two entry points to this old quarry, but the best follows sunken road and remains shallow -- no more than 20 feet. During the summer and early fall the dive can be done is a shorty wet suit, and the diver is guaranteed to see bluegill, bass and other freshwater fish native to the area. Of course, there are deeper dives -- 100-feet plus -- in much colder water. Along the east shore of the Susquhana River about 10 miles north of Route 30 or 15 miles south of Harrisburg off of Route 441.
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Canoe Beach, Nahant

Massachusetts, USA East

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Three Sisters Spring

Crystal River, FL

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Three Sisters Springs is a complex of three spring areas, with many vents and sand boils that help feed Kings Bay, the headwaters of the Crystal River. These springs also constitute one of the most important natural warm-water refuges for the endangered Florida manatee. The site entrance is blocked from boats. Fresh Water fish and turtles. Occasional manatees though diving in the area is limited when there are a high number of manatees present.
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Pelagic Blackwater Night Dive

Kailua-Kona, Big Island, HI

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Start the Pelagic Dive in Kona, Hawaii just after dusk, floating tethered offshore in the deep dark sea. Just wait to see what goes by, usually not descending any lower than 50 feet. The mesmerizing jellies put on a colorful display that can only be described as breathtaking. Some zooplankton, that only rises to the surface to feed when the lights go out, are now visible to us. Our lights are but small twinkles in the vast blackness of the sea.