America is huge, there’s no two ways about it. So huge, in fact, that it’s not even all in one place. Having been born and raised in the country, and a traveler by profession, I feel lucky to have driven across it a few times. But some come from far, some stay close to home, and some simply don’t have the time. For them, it’s hard to pick a region. There are so many distinct and beautiful ones that most will never be able to do them in one trip.
For those not from the nation, picking the right place to spend a dive holiday can be hard. Like its many terrestrial landscapes, there are plenty of diverse dives to devour in this large swath of mass. In addition to the continental U.S., you have Alaska and Hawaii to think about, and things get even more complicated when you include territories. When you remember that you’ll also be seeing George Washington in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Mariana Islands, it all gets a bit vexing. Let’s give you five quick, rich, and diverse dive destinations with dive spots worth sinking into.
When you party in the city where the heat is on, there are several ways to cool down. Overpriced cocktails at fancy resorts are one way to take a load off and meet new friends for the weekend, but there are also plenty of sharks that would love to see you. If you’re looking to get away from the clubs, definitely check out underwater Miami.
Where better to observe some truly stunning marine life than a town that turned a fish packing plant into a world-class marine preserve and aquarium? In his novel Cannery Row, based in Monterey, John Steinbeck said “being at ease with himself put him at ease with the world.” When you enter Monterey you can sense a certain ocean-bound crispness in the air, and while the dive is going to be quite chilly, wetsuits abound on the left coast of the United States. Find your sense of ease here.
Like many aquariums, the National Aquarium in Baltimore, just up the highway from your mandatory Washington, D.C. trip, offers a chance to hop into their massive reef exhibit through their guest diver program. The multi-story complex has several species of sharks and small reef fish, and like our friendly user in the picture, you can become part of the exhibition.
Not a “state,” but firmly a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico is full of exciting dives and in many ways feels like an escape to a completely different culture. Its flavors and sights excite the inner traveler, and dive spots like Crash Boat are a great hideout for tropical fish. This calm dive provides a nice place to play when in the region.
There are plenty of great dives away from the coasts in the United States, and one of them is just a thirty minute drive outside of hip, trendy Austin at Mansfield Dam Park. While not much to look at on first sight, as much of the landscape is dry, it’s a great place to get a diving fix without having to go far out of your way. It’s not the dive a lot of people are used to making the trip for, but it’s a good dam park.
– Todd Allen Williams, Senior Editor