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Scuba Diving in San Diego

Famous for its long sandy beaches and perfect weather, San Diego has earned the nickname of America’s Finest City. Tourists won’t have to look too long for fun attractions in this Californian city; one of the things it’s most renowned for is its word-class scuba spots.

San Diego Scuba Diving Info

San Diego is home to one of the country’s largest U.S. naval bases and many retired Navy SEALs and divers live in this area, so it comes as no surprise that the region is a renowned diving destination.

la jolla diving
Diving with a sevengill shark in La Jolla. Photo by Kyle McBurnie

When to Visit

A perfect time to dive in the San Diego region is August to October, when you can enjoy the best visibility and calmest sea conditions. Conditions can get rough in the winter, so it’s advisable to check with a dive center before planning a trip.

Water Temperature

The water temperatures range from 59 to 72°F (15-22°C) on the surface and 50 to 56°F (10-13°C) at depth. Consequently, most divers wear a 6mm/7mm wetsuit or a dry suit.


The intensity of the currents varies from dive site to dive site, but they can get very strong.


Visibility also varies; in La Jolla, where most of the shore diving occurs, the average visibility is 10-20 feet (3-6 meters). The visibility gets better offshore, though. To enjoy the best visibility, as noted above, you should come between the months of July and February.

Types of Diving

  • Drift diving
  • Wreck diving
  • Reef diving
  • Wall diving
  • Kelp diving

Diving Highlights

The Kelp Forests

When mentioning San Diego, those familiar with the area will most likely recommend you dive one of the kelp forests. The region is home to some of the most spectacular giant kelp in the world. Some of the best spots to kelp are Boomers’ Kelp Forest, Rock Pile at La Jolla Cove, and Point Loma Kelp Beds. Besides the giant kelp that can grow to exceed 100 feet (30 meters), there are also hundreds of species of fish and large mammals such as sharks and seals.

Wreck Alley

Wreck Alley is an area off the coast of Mission Beach which got its name because of the collection of ships which have been intentionally sunk as artificial reefs. The most impressive wreck of this reef system is the HCMS Yukon, a 366- foot (111-meter) long Canadian destroyer.

Marine Life

Seals and sea lions are a major attraction for divers in La Jolla, a seaside area situated north. The nutrient-rich waters are teeming with marine life. Among the other animals you can spot here there’s also the gray whales, sevengill sharks, soupfin sharks, leopard sharks, market squid, grunions, green turtles, and even dolphins.

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Dive sites in the area:

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Hmcs Yukon

California, Usa

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Vallecitos Point

California, Usa

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Nosc Tower

California, Usa

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Ruby E

California, Usa

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East Wall

California, Usa

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Old Ingraham St Bridge

San Diego, California

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Mission Point

San Diego, California

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Marine Room

California, Usa

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Point Loma Kelp Beds

San Diego, California

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Train Wheels

San Diego, California

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