Best American Dive Sites | Sport Diver

Best American Dive Sites

No matter where you are in the U.S., these 10 sites show you’re never far from an amazing dive.

spiegel grove

A Diver Explores the Spiegel Grove wreck in Key Largo, Florida.

Shutterstock.com/Brent Barnes

Spiegel Grove — Key Largo, Florida

Arguably the most iconic wreck in the Florida Keys, the Spiegel Grove rests about 6 miles off Key Largo in about 45 to 130 feet of water. The purpose-sunk wreck proudly flies an American flag that’s always billowing in the current, making for the perfect patriotic underwater photo opp.

Ship Rock — Catalina Island, California

Ship Rock is a West Coast gem that lies about two miles off Catalina Island. The site gets its name because the part of the rock that juts above the surface resembles a ship under full sail. Underwater, a keen eye and a bit of luck will help you spot the occasional sea lion or an elusive angel shark in surrounding kelp forests.

Dutch Springs — Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Planes, cranes and automobiles litter the bottom of Dutch Springs, so you can dive the 50-acre spring-fed lake more than once and see something completely different each time. With sunken treasures at depths up to 100 feet, it’s perfect for all levels of certification. Bring your non-diver friends to try a Discover Scuba Diving course or just hang out at the on-site waterpark.

Aeolus — Outer Banks, North Carolina

North Carolina's Outer Banks is an East Coast hotspot for sharks. Dive alongside a resident school of friendly sand tiger sharks on the Aeolus. Sunk as part of North Carolina’s artificial reef program, the 400-foot cargo ship sits in two halves on the sand at about 110 feet.

Stetson Bank — Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Galveston, Texas

Stunning coral reefs off the coast of… Texas? Yep, you read that right. Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is home to a trio of pristine reefs, including a site called Stetson Bank. Sponge-crusted pinnacles rise from the seafloor here, attracting southern stingrays, barracuda and massive schools of Bermuda chub (even underwater, everything’s bigger in Texas).

Grecian — Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Alpena, Michigan

Thunder Bay is full of notable Great Lakes shipwrecks, but the Grecian is a sure stand-out. With a max depth of 100 feet, divers can penetrate wreck and see the engine, boiler and parts of the propeller that are all still in-tact. Although the steel bulk freighter sunk in 1906, it’s been well preserved for the past century in the frigid waters of Lake Huron.

Five Caves — Makena, Maui, Hawaii

This particular site goes by a few aliases: Five Caves, Five Graves (for the ancient Hawaiian burial ground topside) and Turtle Town (for the number of turtles that hang out here). No matter what you call it, one thing’s for sure: this site’s lava tubes, caverns and marine life (whitetip reef sharks, manta and eagle rays frequent the spot) make it some of Hawaii’s best diving.

B-29 Superfortress — Lake Mead, Nevada and Arizona

While most people think of the desert when the southwest comes to mind, there’s surprisingly good diving between Nevada and Arizona. In 1948, a B-29 Superfortress crashed into the Lake Mead, which straddles the borders of both states. Local divers found the sunken plane in 2002, and ever since, divers have come from around the country to see the mostly intact bomber.

Haigh Quarry — Kankakee, Illinois

Take a dip in this Midwestern site to try and catch a glimpse of what’s probably the weirdest-looking creature you’ll encounter underwater — the paddlefish. These primitive freshwater dwellers are known to habituate the rocky walls of Haigh Quarry.

Strawberry Wall — Strawberry Island, Washington

Strong currents make for stellar drift dives in the Pacific Northwest. At Strawberry Wall, fly past an underwater rainbow of green urchins, white plumose anemones, orange slipper sea cucumbers and the bright pink strawberry anemones for which the site is named.

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