If you've only ever been scuba diving on tropical vacations but have always longed to become a more skilled and experienced diver, exploring the ocean floor unimpeded by a need for surface oxygen, you may be wondering where to begin. Just about every beach town on the southern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans offer scuba training, but not all locations are created equal, and training at a world-class scuba destination can give you the confidence and the knowledge you'll need to make diving a priority. Read on for some of the best locations for scuba training for a diver just getting started.
What are some of the best locations in North America to scuba train?
Unsurprisingly, scuba enthusiasts have voted the warmest and most tropical U.S. waters--those around Florida, California, and Hawaii--as the friendliest for beginner scuba divers.
Key West, Florida
Situated at sea level off the tip of the Florida archipelago, the Florida Keys can be one of the best locations for new divers to get their fins wet. This area's shallow reefs can allow you to see a variety of tropical fish, from snapper and grouper to blackfin tuna, all without going any deeper than 20 to 30 feet. While Florida isn't the only U.S. state to boast a coral reef, it is the only continental state to do so, which makes it an ideal location if Hawaii isn't in your travel, hobby, or entertainment budget.
The Hawaiian islands are home to some of the most famous and breathtaking scuba diving sites in the world, and with so many tourists visiting the islands each year, most Hawaiian scuba instructors are leaders in their profession. And while the prospect of being swept away into the open ocean may leave you reluctant to go too deep (or too far from shore) during one of your first trips out, Hawaii boasts a number of reefs that are somewhat shielded from larger waves, allowing you to explore a truly one-of-a-kind environment at your own speed and without worry for your physical safety.
San Diego and La Jolla, California
Not far from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, several famous scuba sites in southern California can offer fascinating shipwrecks and unique rock formations. Some destinations that are especially popular among novice scuba divers include the Channel Islands and Point Lobos, as well as parts of La Jolla and San Diego. If you're a quick learner, the diving sites throughout southern California can allow you to venture further than you thought possible after just a few beginning dives, challenging you to reach new depths.
Look into lessons, such as at Scuba Haven, for more help.