50 Stellar American Dive Sites | Scuba Diving

50 Stellar American Dive Sites

The triggers are everywhere: a diver-down bumper sticker, the lobster tank at the seafood market, a faint whiff of a far-off sea. We can’t make the call fast enough to our go-to buddy or dive shop. Then the question becomes which site to target. That’s why we’ve put together this collection of the country’s best scuba diving — spots to visit this weekend or to add to the agenda the next time you’re in a new city with time on your hands. After all, if you’re like us, there’s nothing you’d rather be doing than diving.

America's 50 Best Scuba Diving Sites

America's 50 Best Dive Sites

Dale Kobetich

Sea lions underwater in Alaska

Wall of Life (aka Susan’s Hooters) Inian Islands, Alaska

A stellar example of prolific diversity, this site — beloved and nicknamed by DUI’s Susan Long — explodes with yellow, pink and purple soft corals, and nudibranchs by the hundreds. Divers will also encounter sea lions, octopuses and wolf eels, and can see a 40-foot-long patch covered with a just-discovered species of soft coral.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Alex Mustard

Cold water muck diving in Yakutat, Alaska

All You Can Eat Shrimp - Yakutat, Alaska

A cold-water muck dive, this newly found pinnacle site lies within swimming distance of the SS Princess Kathleen in the Lynn Canal near Glacier Bay National Park. “We found macro critters that we hadn’t seen anywhere else,” says photographer Jason Bradley. The site is also home to “disgustingly large swarms of skeleton shrimp,” as well as lumpsuckers, nudibranchs and crimson anemones.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Advanced Dives, Small Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Alex Mustard

Scuba diving Baranof Island, Alaska

Wooden Fingers - Baranof Island, Alaska

This site off the south end of Baranof Island offers a sweeping diversity of marine life among its rocky outcroppings. Dive the sand channels in between to encounter giant Pacific octopuses, free-swimming wolf eels, red Irish lords, krill and lots of metridium.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Cornforth Images/Alamy

Scuba diving with octopus in British Columbia

Browning Wall - Port Hardy, British Columbia

Browning Wall — 12 miles north of Port Hardy — is the premier dive destination in the region. This sheer vertical drop starting at 120-feet deep is blanketed in at least 140 unique species, says marine biologist Andy Lamb. You also might encounter wolf eels, seals and Pacific octopuses.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Sumer Trip

Alex Mustard

Scuba diving a sea lion rookery in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara Island, California

Sea Lion Rookery - Los Angeles/Santa Barbara Island, California

Bring a video camera to this popular site on the southeastern side of Santa Barbara Island: Face time with dozens of these super-playful and agile mammals is guaranteed. The tricks and acrobatics that they perform vary wildly, but their curiosity for divers is a constant.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Large Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Reinhard Dirscherl

Blue shark underwater photo Santa Barbara Island, California

Ralph’s Ridge - Santa Barbara Island, California

“This is a true haven for all that arrive to the Channel Islands from the open Pacific: giant sea bass, blue sharks, sea lions and harbor seals,” says award-winning photographer Ernest Brooks of this site off Santa Barbara Island. “It’s a place where I could hang out for days, observing the overhead canopy of kelp swaying.”

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Andy Murch

Jellyfish in Monterey, California

Metridium Fields - Monterey, California

Most divers get a rush just swimming to this site. It can be hit or miss: Pelagics pass by regularly and you may get lucky. Seeing what is considered Monterey Bay’s best metridium stretch is a sure thing, but encounters with mola-molas, gray whales and other species can be a huge payoff.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Self-Guided, Summer Trip

Jim Patterson

Wreck diving on the HMCS Yukon in San Diego, California

HMCS Yukon - San Diego, California

Part of San Diego’s Wreck Alley — a series of six artificial reefs — this Mackenzie-class destroyer purpose-sunk in 2000 now lies on its port side at a depth of 100 feet. Aside from a slightly tricky orientation, the 366-foot-long wreck is ideal for penetration thanks to numerous entry and exit points cut into the steel hull. Expect marine life to be on the macro side: The wreck is dripping with white metridians and red strawberry anemones.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Advanced Dives, Small Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Andy Sallmon

Kelp forest and Garibaldi on Catalina Island, California

Kelp Forest - Catalina, California

Some of the more popular dive sites around Catalina Island include Casino Point Dive Park, Ship Rock, Farnsworth Banks, Lover's Cove, Long Point, Blue Caverns, Yellowtail Point, Bird Rock and and Sea Fan Grotto. Expect to see abundant kelp forests, giant black sea bass, sheep crab, sea lions, and of course, garibaldi.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Kelp Dives

Todd Winner

Scuba diving in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Hebe - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Forty-two miles off the coast, this merchant vessel 115 feet down attracts “pretty much everything — turtles, baitfish, hundreds of amberjack, grouper and stacks of barracuda,” says Cameron Sebastian, Coastal Scuba operations manager. Sand tigers appear in fall and winter.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Marilyn & Maris Kazmers/seapics.com

Pelagic Magic dive on Kona, Hawaii

Pelagic Magic - Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

Avid diver James Cameron found inspiration for The Abyss from deepwater comb jellies. See these and other oddities while cruising through dark, open water three miles off the Kona coast. Sights vary nightly but can include tunicate colonies, bioluminescent pyrosomes and other creatures wilder than your imagination.

**Local Dive Guide: **Warm Water, Advanced Dives, Small Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Josh Lambus

Manta Night Dive on Kona, Hawaii

Manta Night Dive - Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

Shine a dive light, feed a manta at this Kona dive site where up to 30 or more of these giants appear approximately 85 percent of the time. With a depth of 35 feet, the site offers long bottom times, between 45 minutes to an hour. Divemasters have identified 180 of the rays that appear regularly. See recent dive reports and identify individual mantas by visiting mantapacific.org.

**Local Dive Guide: **Warm Water, Beginner Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Masa Ushioda

Scuba diving with frogfish on wrecks in Oahu, Hawaii

Mahi - Oahu, Hawaii

This 185-foot long WWII minesweeper at 90 feet is home to octopuses, frogfish and loads of endemic species.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Claudio Gazzaroli

Sea turtle underwater photo at five caves scuba diving site in Maui, Hawaii

Five Caves - Makena, Maui, Hawaii

Weave through this warren of dramatic arches and lava-tube caverns to find whitetip sharks, frogfish and spotted eagle rays. This site is also called Turtle Town, so you know what else you’ll see there in huge numbers. With a maximum depth around 40 feet, this site is accessible from local dive boats and by a short surface swim from Makena Landing Beach Park. It also makes an excellent night dive.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Beginner Dives, Big Animals, Self-Guided, Year-Round

Masa Ushioda

Salmon schooling in Nevada

Sand Harbor - Incline Village, Nevada

For visibility that can stretch to 75 feet, dive Lake Tahoe. At this site near the Sand Harbor Beach State Recreation Area, choose to stay as shallow as 25 feet while checking out crawdads, salmon and minnow schools, or head to the edge of the wall, where dump-truck-size boulders are a highlight.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Beginner Dives, Small Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Alex Mustard

Jellyfish underwater photo Whidbey Island, Washington

Keystone Jetty - Whidbey Island, Washington

A go-to location for giant Pacific octopus encounters, this Whidbey Island site 30 minutes north of Seattle is also prime ground for spotting well-camouflaged red Irish lords, cod, kelp and big schools of rockfish. Unless you’re a pro at handling strong currents and extreme tides, it’s best to dive the jetty with a local guide.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Winter Trip

Tom Radio

Strawberry anemone underwater photo in Washington

Strawberry Wall - Strawberry Island, Washington

So named for the blanket of strawberry anemones, this San Juan Islands dive site is “mind-bogglingly beautiful,” says Anacortes Diving’s Tracy Peterson. Found off Strawberry Island in the Rosario Strait, this area is home to bull kelp, rockfish, plumose anemones, green sea urchins and orange slipper sea cucumbers. Currents run upwards of 10 knots; depth varies from 70 to 100 feet.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Advanced Dives, Small Animals, Self-Guided, Winter Trip

Tom Radio

Scuba diving with sand tiger sharks in the Denver Aquarium

Denver Aquarium - Denver, Colorado

Meet the resident 400-pound grouper, as well as yellowfin tuna, 300-pound sea turtles, eels, nurse sharks and barracuda that live in this 200,000-gallon environment. For a more hair-raising experience, try the Sunken Shipwreck experience: Learn about the rotating cast of up to 15 species of shark — including sand tigers, lemons, sandbar and zebra sharks — and then dive among them.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Beginner Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Doug Sloss

Scuba diving Bonne Terre Mine in Missouri

Bonne Terre Mine - Bonne Terre, Missouri

Twenty-four numbered dive trails weave through this flooded former lead mine that boasts 100 feet of visibility. Ore carts, trestles and trains remain, as do the structures of the maintenance shop, theater and more. Guides are required, and divers of all experience levels must start with Trail One.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Andy Morrison

Scuba diving the PS Lady Elgin in Highwood, Illinois

PS Lady Elgin - Highwood, Illinois

When shipwreck hunter Harry Zych rediscovered this 252-foot-long wooden-hull steamship in 1989, he launched a controversy regarding archaeological rights. The remains lie in four debris fields starting at a depth of 60 feet. Swim among them to find the bow, boiler, machinery and side wheels downed in 1860.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Small Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Alex Mustard

Scuba diving wrecks in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Michigan

Cornelia B. Windiate - Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Michigan

Only technical divers can behold this 138-foot-long three-masted schooner at a depth of more than 180 feet. Highlights of the ship — which sunk in 1875 — include the masts, bowsprit and spiral staircases leading to the interior.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Advanced Dives, Small Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Vlada Dekina

Wreck diving the Mary Alice B wreck in Lake Huron, Michigan

Mary Alice B - Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve, Michigan

Lake Huron claimed the 65-foot-long propeller tug in 1975 off Port Sanilac. The wreck now sits upright at a depth of more than 80 feet. Divers can explore around the machinery on the aft deck, the intact pilothouse and the wheel; penetration-trained divers can venture inside.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Advanced Dives, Small Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Thomas Hassenberger

Scuba diving wrecks in Tobermory, Ontario

Forest City - Tobermory, Ontario

Fathom Five National Marine Park at Georgian Bay has claimed 22 ships to date, including the Forest City propeller steamer — one of the largest (216 feet long) and most intact. The depth ranges from 60 to 150 feet, with some the most notable highlights — the smoke funnel and boilers — found between 110 and 130 feet.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Advanced Dives, Small Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Vlada Dekina

Freshwater scuba diving in Port Washington, Wisconsin

Northerner - Port Washington, Wisconsin

One of the highlights of diving this 80-foot, mostly intact wooden schooner is the well-preserved fiddlehead. Sunk in 1868, the wreck lies at a depth of 135 feet with visibility around 40 feet. Open-circuit divers will see schools of baitfish, and closed-circuit divers will witness salmon and trout.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Advanced Dives, Small Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Simon Brown

Crab underwater photo from Cape Neddick Lighthouse in Maine

Cape Neddick “Nubble” Lighthouse - York, Maine

Suit up next to a still-working lighthouse, and then wade into this lagoon where lobsters, skates, crabs and flounder take shelter among the granite rock. The on-site facilities make it a popular spot; the lit parking lot makes night diving especially attractive. Go after dusk to experience bioluminescence, squid and small sharks.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Small Animals, Self-Guided, Summer Trip

Ethan Daniels

Scuba Diving the African Queen in Ocean City, Maryland

African Queen - Ocean City, Maryland

This 590-foot-long tanker ran aground on Gull Shoal in 1958, prompting the captain to command “full astern,” resulting in too much pressure on the vessel, snapping it in two. Today, only the bow section remains, upside down at a depth of 73 feet. This site is excellent for finding lobsters, flounder and barracuda.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Small Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Reinhard Dirscherl / age fotostock

Scuba diving with harbor seals in Monterey Bay, California

Harbor Seal, Tanker Reef, Monterey Bay, California

Harbor seals congregate in Monterey Bay.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Kawika Chetron

Scuba diving with mako sharks in Montauk, New York

Shark Diving - Montauk, New York

Witness the curiosity of blue and mako sharks from within the safety of an aluminum cage. Make the two-hour trek to open water, 20 miles off Long Island, June through September, when the sharks appear. Visibility fluctuates between 20 and 100 feet.

**Local Dive Guide: **Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Terry Goss

Scuba diving with lobster in Atlantic Beach, New York

Old Atlantic Beach Bridge - Atlantic Beach, New York

For a great lobster spot, check out the remains of this old causeway off Long Island. Best accessed from a boat, this site also offers encounters with huge schools of bass.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Small Animals, Self-Guided, Summer Trip

Solvin Zankl

Scuba diving Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Dutch Springs - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

More than 30 vehicles — including a helicopter, trolley and fire engine —lie submerged in this 50-acre lake. Expect impossibly clear visibility — and lots of friendly divers —when the park is open from April through November.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Small Animals, Self-Guided

Larry Cohen

Grouper underwater photo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Aqua Zoo - Fort Lauderdale, Florida

You’ll wonder where the drum sounds are coming from — that is, until you realize it’s a local goliath grouper contracting its swim bladder to create a loud, low rumbling at this South Florida fish magnet that also attracts heaps of southern stingrays.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Beginner Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Shen Collazo

Scuba diving Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in Marathon, Florida

Sombrero Reef, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary - Marathon, Florida

Off the funky hamlet of Marathon, this spur-and-groove site —one of the largest coral colonies in the region— is home to angelfish, grouper and nurse sharks that seek the shelter of the 30-foot-deep reef system. Its signature lighthouse is a Florida Keys landmark.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Beginner Dives, Large Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Robert Zimmerman

Wreck dive on the Oriskany in Pensacola, Florida

USS Oriskany - Pensacola, Florida

Granted, one of the world’s largest artificial reefs is best appreciated by those trained to explore the flight deck at 145 feet, but it’s still worth the 22-mile boat trek from Pensacola to witness sections of this 911-foot-long aircraft carrier (the decking island starts at 84 feet). Spanish hogfish, butterflyfish and other angelfish are common; the lucky diver can encounter anything from passing whale sharks to mantas.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Shen Collazo

Wreck dive the Spiegel Grove in Key Largo, Florida

USS Spiegel Grove - Key Largo, Florida

This 510-foot-long landing ship off Key Largo rewards divers of every level. The top deck at 65 feet offers gun turrets, an expansive bridge and more. Plus, the top three levels have long swim-throughs where light (aka exit points) is visible the entire way. Be warned: Should you square off with a goliath grouper in a hallway, know that it won’t budge. Penetration-trained divers have many available routes to explore.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Stephen Frink

Scuba diving Florida's freshwater Rainbow River in Dunnellon

Rainbow River - Dunnellon, Florida

Prehistoric and sort of creepy, alligator gar swarm this site by the dozens. It’s a fun drift down a fast-moving stream that’s also home to snapping turtles the size of beach balls. The flow of the grasses is mesmerizing, as is raking your fingers through the sand boils in search of fossilized shark teeth.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Tanya G. Burnett

Scuba diving on Vandenberg wreck Key West, Florida

USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg - Key West, Florida

Scuttled six miles off Key West in 2009, this 520-foot-long retired Air Force missile-tracking ship sits at a depth of 140 feet, but even snorkelers can swim close to the antennae and upturned radar dishes. Large holes allow trained penetration divers to explore the engine room, 11 elevator shafts and cargo hold shafts.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Beginner Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Brandon Cole

Scuba diving with seahorses and macro critters at Blue Heron Bridge in West Palm Beach, Florida

Blue Heron Bridge - West Palm Beach, Florida

Dive this muck wonderland during a high slack tide to find batfish, flying gurnards, snake eels and other odd finds.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Beginner Dives, Small Animals, Self-Guided, Year-Round

Steven Kovacs

Wreck diving on wrecks with ragged tooth sharks in Beaufort, North Carolina

USCGC Spar- Beaufort, North Carolina

You’ll feel like you’re being followed — and you’ll be right. Sand tiger sharks, also known as ragged tooth sharks — or “raggies” — aren’t an aggressive species, but they are exceptionally curious and seemingly enjoy playing chicken with divers. They swarm this 180-foot-long wreck in groups of six or more, joined by schools of amberjack, vermilion snapper, Atlantic spadefish and silversides.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Karen Doody

Wreck dive on a German submarine in Cape Lookout, North Carolina

U-352 - Cape Lookout, North Carolina

This German sub will elicit a visceral response from any diver. First, the visibility typically allows you to take in its 220-foot entirety as you descend. Swim the length of ship and try to comprehend that a minimum of 45 men worked inside. Lastly, the site is a war grave memorializing the 15 lost.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Advanced Dives, Small Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Michael Patrick O'Neill

Scuba dive WWII shipwrecks in North Carolina

SS Caribsea - Cape Lookout, North Carolina

Torpedoed in 1942, this 261-foot-long cargo freighter is mostly intact at a depth of 85 feet. The structure draws spadefish, amberjack, stingrays and sand tiger sharks, sometimes as many as 50 per dive. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, visibility can range from 60 to 90 feet.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Michael Patrick O'Neill

Scuba diving with whale sharks and hammerheads on South Padre Island, Texas

USTS Texas Clipper- South Padre Island, Texas

At 473 feet long, this 1997 purpose- sunk wreck is the third largest in the U.S. The massive wreck attracts passing pelagics — everything from whale sharks to sunfish to hammerheads. Currents permitting, this dive is open to those of all experience levels; depths range from 60 to 130 feet.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Beginner Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Jesse Cancelmo

Scuba dive on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico Texas

Platform 376 - Gulf of Mexico, Texas

Shark sightings occur on nearly every dive: This oil rig shelters everything from silky, blacktip and nurse sharks, to schools of mackerel and amberjack. Look closely at the structure to eye blennies, crabs and other cool macro life.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Beginner Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Carsten Reisinger

Kelp diving on Catalina Island, California

Ship Rock - Catalina Island, California

The kelp grows to epic proportions at this Catalina Island site where the water is especially clear. Everything you want from a California kelp dive is there: lots of garibaldi, sheephead, leopard sharks, angel sharks and giant Pacific octopuses. Note that the currents can pick up here. Fall is the best season; the weather seems more benign and visibility is better.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Small Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

DrKjaergaard via Wikimedia Commons

Cold water scuba diving in Los Angeles, California

Point Dume Pinnacles - Los Angeles, California

At this shore dive, find pinnacles that rise from 50 to 25 feet in depth. The environment is home to sea lions, lobsters, horn sharks, rockfish, lingcod and angel sharks. If you don’t know the area, be sure to dive with someone who can coordinate your entry with low tide.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Self-Guided, Year-Round

James D. Scherrer via Wikimedia Commons

Scuba diving Payette Lake in McCall, Idaho

Payette Lake - McCall, Idaho

At Fireman’s Point on the northeast side of this mile-high mountain lake, a shallow granite shelf extending 40 feet from the shore creates a psychedelic light show when penetrating sunlight hits pieces of quartz, obsidian and mica in the rock. Frequent 50-foot visibility helps the process.

Local Dive Guide: Cold Water, Beginner Dives, Self-Guided, Summer Trip

Fredlyfish4 via Wikimedia Commons

Scuba diving Lake Mead in Henderson, Nevada

Lake Mead - Henderson, Nevada

GPS coordinates, not buoys, mark the smattering of finds in this desert lake. Rail cars, two airplanes and other discards lie on a bottom that’s anything but flat. Aggregation piles left over from construction projects form habitat for largemouth bass, bluegills, striped bass and three-foot-long carp. Expect crystal clear when water temperatures drop below 85 degrees F.
Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Advanced Dives, Year-Round

Rick Pecoraro via Wikimedia Commons

Scuba diving the wreck of the Duane in Key Largo, Florida

USCG Duane - Key Largo, Florida

Thick schools of barracuda collect around this wreck’s crow’s nest and other structures. The 327-foot-long former Coast Guard cutter lies in 120 feet of water, and the deck starts at 105 feet deep. Sunk in 1987, it has amassed a coating of orange cup corals and sponges. Currents here attract the occasional bull shark and other exciting predators.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Terry Goss via Wikimedia Commons

Scuba diving with whale sharks and hammerheads at the Flower Garden Banks in the Gulf of Mexico

West Bank, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary - Gulf of Mexico

The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, 100 miles offshore, is a meeting point for whale sharks in August and hammerheads February through May. This soft-coral-covered reef thrives atop a salt dome rising from the seafloor. Currents can rip, or disappear.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Xvic via Wikimedia Commons

Scuba diving with eagle rays in Lanai, Hawaii

Second Cathedral - Lanai, Hawaii

“You get an idea how the island formed,” says Lahaina Divers’ Erica Heller of this Lanai landmark site with prolific lava structures. Start by swimming through a canyon with walls rising 40 feet, and then descend to 75 feet to a 30-foot-tall lava arch. This site sees a sweeping array of wildlife, including turtles, eagle rays and dolphins, as well as a healthy population of the endemics that have made Hawaii unique: longfin anthias, reticulated butterflyfish and saddle wrasse.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Year-Round

Marissa927 via Wikimedia Commons

Scuba diving wrecks in North Carolina

Hyde - Wilmington, North Carolina

This purpose-sunk 215-foot-long hopper dredge outfitted with guns sits upright in 85 feet of water. Sand tiger shark sightings are common, as are sandbar sharks, nurse sharks, turtles, and schools of barracuda and amberjack. The wreck supports light penetration.

Local Dive Guide: Warm Water, Advanced Dives, Big Animals, Guide Needed, Summer Trip

Tim Sheerman-Chase via Wikimedia Commons

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