Florida is a popular tourist destination because of its stunning bodies of water. The Sunshine State boasts 1,350 miles of coastline and several freshwater springs and lakes. You don’t have to travel far to see beautiful sights and underwater adventures. These Florida dive spots are must-visit destinations for diving enthusiasts.
1. Christ of the Abyss
Under the blue waters of the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, there’s an 8-foot statue of Jesus Christ submerged. This 4,000-pound bronze sculpture is one of the most popular underwater sites of the world. Aside from the mysterious looking figure that creates a picture-worthy scene, the site is also surrounded with coral formations and occasional stingray sightings.
2. USS Oriskany
In 2006, the USS Oriskany (also known as the Mighty O) was purposely submerged in 200 feet of water to create an artificial reef to draw in and house marine life. Located about 22 miles south of Pensacola, this ancient warship is now known as the largest artificial reef in the world. The sunken warship is 911-foot long and makes a unique underwater structure.
3. Devil’s Den
The alluring Devil’s Den is an underground prehistoric spring in Williston, Florida. The stunning 50-foot hidden spring has an unchanging temperature of about 72°F or 22°C, making it a great place to swim and relax. This area is also rich in fossils and artefacts, some of which have been forwarded to the Smithsonian Institute.
4. Blue Heron Bridge
The water beneath the Blue Heron Bridge of Riviera Beach surprisingly houses many little treasures for diving enthusiasts. It is an underrated location but photographers and divers of all kinds visit and explore the local spot. With depths of 6 – 25 feet, you can expect underwater sights like mini wrecks, shark statues, sunken shipping carts and loads of fish.
5. Hog Heaven
Hog Heaven is a sunken barge 180 feet long at the bottom of Palm Beach. The wreck, lying upside down in 65 feet of water, has now become an artificial reef thriving with marine life like snappers, angel fish and more. It is a favorite of open sea divers and even scuba diving beginners.
6. DoD Towers
The Department of Defense Air Force Relay Towers is located in the triangle of the Gulf of Mexico, Key West and Everglades City. The man-made structures have become an underwater reef that attracts schools of fish. This is a great destination spot for both fishermen and divers.
7. Rainbow River
The Rainbow River is situated 20 miles southwest of Ocala. This freshwater diving spot is 25-feet deep and is a favorite among drift divers. Some of the treasures found in this dive spot include shark’s tooth and several species of turtles.
8. Spiegel Grove
Located off Key Largo, the Spiegel Grove is one of the most iconic shipwrecks in the United States. The 510-feet ship was a U.S. Navy Landing Ship Dock that landed on its starboard side and sunk back in 2002. Now, it houses a healthy population of different kinds of fish like huge groupers and schools of silversides. This spot is also ideal for underwater photography.
9. UNSN Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg
The UNSN Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg is an old transport ship used in World War II and now sits 140 feet underwater seven miles off the Key West. The huge ancient ship is as long as two football fields and measures roughly ten stories high. Divers from all parts of the world visit this site to see the captivating warship and its friendly marine life.