Scuba Diving in Florida

Florida is the second southernmost state of the U.S., a melting pot of cultures that can be observed in everything from dialect to cooking and entertainment. The state’s coastline is renowned for its world-class beaches and water activities. What makes Florida unique is the presence of a small chain of subtropical islands called Florida Keys that have their own geography and offer plenty of attractions for water lovers.

Florida Scuba Diving Info

Florida is a leading vacation destination in the U.S., and part of it is due to the excellent diving that takes place here. There are four regions popular among divers: Florida Keys, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and the Boynton Beach.

christ of the abyss
Christ of the Abyss, Key Largo. Photo by Sebastian Carlosena

When to Visit

It mostly depends on the area you wish to dive in. The West Coast enjoys nine months of warm to hot temperatures, while the three winter months bring cool but not cold temperatures. The East Coast experiences both tropical (in the Keys) and subtropical weather (in the northern and central part of the state). The Southern Coast, however, has a tropical climate with frequent rain from May to October.

Water Temperature

The water temperatures in Florida range from 63° F/17° C - 73° F/23° C in January (the coldest month) to 84° F/29° C - 86° F/30° C in August (the warmest month). The Southern Coast and the Keys enjoy the warmest waters.

Types of Diving

  • Reef diving
  • Wreck diving
  • Lake diving
  • Cave diving

Florida Diving Highlights

Wrecks

Florida offers some of the most interesting shipwrecks in the world. The two unmissable shipwrecks are the USS Vandenberg and the USS Spiegel Grove, which you can penetrate if you have experience with advanced wreck diving. The USS Oriskany – located south of Pensacola - is also a sight to see, being the largest artificial reef in the world. It’s actually nicknamed the Great Carrier Reef.

USS Vandenberg wreck
The USS Vandenberg wreck. Photo by Florida Fish and Wildlife

Reef

The Florida Reef is the only living coral barrier reef in continental U.S. and the third-largest (although this is up to debate) coral barrier reef system in the world. The reef tract starts near Miami and extends to the islands of Dry Tortugas. Patch reefs continue up to Palm Beach county. It encompasses over 45 species of stony corals, about 35 species of octocorals, and more than 70 species of marine sponges.

Marine Life

The state of Florida offers about 1,350 miles (2,172 km) of coastline and over 30,000 lakes. The diversity of marine life can be seen through the hundreds of native and non-native species. Florida is a perfect destination for observing dolphins, manatees, barracudas, groupers, yellowtail snappers, loggerhead sea turtles, stingrays, spiny lobster, nurse sharks, reef sharks, and hundreds of other species of fish. Each area has its own ecosystem, so it would be best to ask a guide what each region has to offer in terms of marine life.

Dive Site Map
Hydro Atlantic

Florida, Usa

Dive Site Map
The Point

Islamorada, Florida Keys

Dive Site Map
Spiegel Grove

Key Largo, Florida Keys

Dive Site Map
Eagle

Islamorada, Florida Keys

Dive Site Map
Jim Atria

Florida, Usa

Dive Site Map
Lowrance

Florida, Usa

Dive Site Map
Sucre

Florida, Usa

Dive Site Map
Guy Harvey

Florida, Usa

Dive Site Map
Joe's Tug

Key West, Florida Keys

Dive Site Map
Long Key Reef

Bush Key, Dry Tortugas National Park

Explore dive centers in the area

Check out other diving destinations