Diving: Explore the Ocean Deep!
FLORIDA SCUBA DIVING VACATIONS
From Florida reefs to wreck diving, venture below the surface
The St. Pete-Tampa Bay area is home to some of the best family scuba diving vacations in Florida. Enjoy a memorable shore dive off the Florida Gulf Coast. Venture to one of the largest artificial reef systems. Explore the area’s crystal clear freshwater river springs. Or discover sunken history during a wreck dive among Florida’s lost treasures.
Reef building first began in the Gulf Coast in the 1960s to improve the marine environment and the fish population while providing areas for diving and fishing. The reefs consist of bridge rubble, concrete culverts, shipwrecks and even army tanks. Meanwhile, Florida’s ancient shoreline is made up of natural offshore formations where currents have created deep undercuts, home to large schools of fish. Varying in height from 2-12 feet, the ledges can be found 35-60 feet deep for breathtaking Florida reefs.
POPULAR SCUBA DIVE SITES IMMEDIATE TO ST. PETE BEACH
Betty Rose/Permit Barge — The broken-up, 75-foot barge is located in 45 feet of water. The dive site is very active with marine life. Caution: fishermen trolling for kingfish.
Chassahowitzka River Springs — More than a dozen freshwater springs feed this river.
Crystal River — This very popular freshwater dive site is one of the best in the world. Water temperature averages 72 degrees F year-round, which attracts manatees during the cooler months.
Gunsmoke — Local legends speak of modern-day pirates as the 65-foot shrimper was scuttled by her crew while the Coast Guard was in pursuit.
Hudson Grotto — With walls that lunge to 130 feet, this Gulf Coast sink resembles a pond and is only for experienced divers with advanced certification. However, this is a good spot for deep-water experience for beginners under the supervision of a dive master or instructor.
Joe’s Sink — With two non-connecting holes, this peanut-shaped sink is one of Florida’s coldest freshwater diving spots. Only experienced cavern and cave divers should attempt this low-visibility dive.
Mexican Pride — For experienced divers only, the 200-foot wreck rests in 120 feet of water.
Sheridan and Blackthorn — Sheridan, an 180-foot ocean-going tug, is one of our coast’s most spectacular dives. The tug sits upright in 80 feet of water. The Blackthorn Coast Guard cutter lies nearby. Barracuda frequent this superstructure.
Tramp Steamer and 10-Fathom Wreck — This is the broken remains of a 150-foot tramp steamer in 60 feet of water. You’ll see a lot of hogfish, barracuda and jack around the site.
Tugboat and Barge — A 105-foot tug and 80-foot barge sank in 85 feet of water during high seas. The tug rests upside down, while the barge is one mile north.
Weeki Wachee Run — This is a great place to snorkel or drift dive back downstream.