Planning your next diving trip couldn’t be more exciting. The only difficult part is deciding where to go when there are so many great places to dive.
Here are our recommendations for five places that we would recommend for those looking for a great dive during the winter season while staying along the coasts of the U.S.
Palm Beach County, Florida
Florida’s Palm Beach County offers divers a great wealth of wonder under the waves in the winter, with the Gulf Stream continually bringing through warm water to keep dives comfortable. You can expect to see eagle rays, groupers, turtles, barracuda and lemon sharks when you dive in the winter – not to mention the corals which are always amazing to look at.
Speaking of coral reefs, Oahu is the perfect place to look at these colonial lifeforms, growing amongst the wrecks of former vessels to create unique diving experiences that combine history, vivid colors and interesting architecture.
Enjoy swimming alongside a dozen varieties of butterfly fish, sharks, dolphins, turtles and more – you could even come across a pod of dolphins swimming right by you!
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Texas
For experienced divers wanting to see big pelagics like whale sharks, hammerheads, tiger sharks, etc. The Flower Garden Banks are a lot closer than the Galapagos Islands, and you don’t need a passport!
The water may be on the cool side (low to mid 70’s), and the boat ride is a long one, but these deep water reefs and salt domes provide an oasis for fish in the Gulf of Mexico. The winter sea life is very different than the more tropical species seen there in the summer months.
Catalina Island, California
This area is known for its stunning Kelp Forest. The most popular dive locations here include Casino Point Dive Park, Ship Rock, Blue Caverns and Sea Fan Grotto, says ScubaDiving.com. When diving here, you will be thrilled to see giant black sea bass, sheep crab, sea lions and garibaldi, as well, giving you a great blend of undersea life and scenery.
Kona, Big Island, Hawaii
If you are interested in night diving, this is the perfect spot for you. Slip beneath the waves at night armed with an underwater flashlight and a trained guide to experience swimming with the islands’ giant manta rays.
Best of all: the rays flock to Kona all throughout the year, making the island, not just a great destination for winter but anytime.
Have another destination on your must-dive winter excursions list? Let us know your favorite dive location in the comments below!