If you’ve ever been to Florida, you know it’s on the map for its breathtaking beaches, world-class theme parks, endless sunshine and shady palm trees. To some people, Florida is paradise on earth. To others, it’s a mecca for discovery below sea level. Florida is a popular destination for scuba divers of all levels.

Offering warm water year round and a remarkable variety of fish and coral reefs, Florida has salt and fresh bodies of water that are free to dive any time of year. So let’s day you’re a first time scuba diver or are planning a dive trip to Florida for the first time. There are a few steps to take before hopping off any boat into the land of the water.

Before planning your trip, make sure you decide what type of diving you want to do. You can try spearfishing to reef diving depending on your level of comfort and experience. After you’ve figured out what type of diving you want to do, the next step is to find the destination. After you found the right location, next would be to find hotel accommodations and a fishing charter that works with your budget.

If you’re new to scuba diving, there are a number of locations in Florida that offer scuba lessons as well. If your biggest struggle is finding just the right destination, than look no further! We hand selected some of the best and most popular scuba dive locations in Florida.

Scuba Diving with a Sea Turtle1. Key Largo

Located in the beautiful islands of the Florida Keys, Key Largo is a scuba dive mecca in Florida and well known for offering a wide variety of other water sports and activity for visitors.

2. Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is located on the Southeast part of Florida and has beautiful salt water diving destinations for both beginners and advanced divers. Divers won’t have a problem finding dive charters and other dive groups to join.

3. Sanibel

Sanibel is a popular island on the West Coast of Florida that also offers excellent dive spots that allow visitors to see life underneath the Gulf of Mexico.

4. Clearwater

Clearwater is another popular west coast destination just a couple hours north or Sanibel and is home to many diving excursions.

5. Blue Spring

If you’re not looking for a salt water diving experience, check out Blue Spring in Volusia Country, FL. Blue Spring has crystal clear and fresh water for diving any time of year.

Have you been scuba diving in Florida? Where is your favorite destination?

Image Credits: PADI