The most well-known diving sites in Florida are to be found in the Florida Keys area. Florida Keys is located between Floridas southernmost tip and Miami, a 150 mile long coastline with more than 1,700 islands. Florida Keys harbour over 5,000 shipwrecks, making it an ideal place for those found of wreck diving since wrecks of many different ages and sizes can be enjoyed in a relatively small area.
If you wish to get away from the popular Keys to less famous dive sites, we suggest a visit to the porous limestone terrain, especially the one found across the central region and the Panhandle. The limestone and the sea have created an abundance of divable springs, more than 1,000. Some of them are located on private lands, while others reside in state parks and preserves. One of the most intriguing springs is Blue Springs, where you can experience a 120-foot throat inhabited by gar, bass and tilapia. Blue Springs is also the place where the manatees migrate from the St. Johns River. If you are found of cave diving, Peacock Slough is one of your best choices. Peacock Slough is composed of two major springs, six sinkholes and several earthen depressions. Among other springs definitely worth visiting for any diver is the Alexander Springs, the only scuba-sanctioned spring in Ocala National Forest, and Ginnie Springs, the best of the privately owned spring systems. The legendary Jacques Cousteau described Ginnie Springs as “visibility forever”.
Many divers and snorkelers come to Florida to fulfil a childhood dream – swimming with the dolphins. Florida is home to the Spotted Dolphin, a playful and curious mammal. Be sure to choose a trip organiser that respects the animals. The dolphins should always be in control of the situation and approach the humans by their own free will and curiosity. Follow the instructions given by your trip organiser and never to anything that might hurt or stress the dolphins. A lot of dolphins genuinely like to swim with humans and can even form social bands with individuals.
If nigh diving is your cup of tea check out the Sugar Wreck while staying in Florida. This is a 330 feet, four masted steel sailing ship located at a depth of 15-20 feet. She was carrying a cargo of molasses from Central America via Havana, but was caught in a hurricane before reaching the United States. The ship has been sunk for a century now, and has broke apart and opened up over time. It is now home to nurse sharks, moray eels, octopuses, big loggerhead turtles, black groupers and barracudas - just to mention a few of the biggest inhabitants.
If you visit Florida during the summer, i.e. April to September, you can expect water temperatures around 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit and calm seas, seldom more than 3 feet. You won’t need a wetsuit to keep you warm, but it can still be a good thing to use one since there are jellyfish in the water. With the beginning of October, water temperatures usually drop to 75 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and a wetsuit is highly recommended. The seas are rougher, usually 3-6 feet, sometimes restricting the diving possibilities.