By: Vince Terry
Florida is synonymous with and one of the best places to scuba dive. There are over 1500 diving destinations that are as wonderful as any place in the world. With numerous ship wrecks, coral reefs and calm clear water the Keys are scuba diving heaven.
The Keys are a chain of small islands split in three sections. The upper Keys, middle Keys and Lower Key each with their own unique diving opportunities. All are easy to reach by flying into Miami or Fort Lauderdale, renting a car and driving down.
The upper Keys begin in Key Largo, through Tavernier Key and down to Islamorada. Along the way are many dive shops that have been in business for years. The Keys has a unique system to find business based on route one mile markers. There are two sides to the water – the bay side and the Atlantic side.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is a fabulous dive spot. If you are looking for lodging that includes a dive package, you’ll find many along the way. Many facilities include parasailing, wave runners, kayaks, spa facilities, great food and night life.
Going further south past Islamorada until the Seven Mile Bridge is considered the middle Keys. The largest town is called Marathon and there is a small airport here. If you want to avoid the drive down, you can hop a plane into Marathon. At mile maker 61 you will find Duck Key, famous for Hawk’s Cay Resort.Key West, Florida is a popular destination for scuba divers.
The other side of the bridge from Big Pine Key south to Key West is known as the lower Keys. Beyond this point you are almost in Key West. When you get there you will not be disappointed whether you’re playing above or below the water.
Many dive sites along the way offer diving and snorkeling. Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary offers reef dives, all night dives and wreck dives. One of the wreck dives, the Vandenberg, is over 520 feet long and is the second largest artificial reef in the world.
No matter where you choose to scuba dive, it will be a dive you won’t forget.
Vince Terry is an avid scuba diving enthusiast who has gone diving in the Florida Keys for many years.
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