You may think that you have to travel to the Caribbean or Hawaii to find places to scuba dive, but there are a some state-side dive spots that offer family-friendly dive experiences. If your family is trying scuba diving for the first time, or you have a tween or a teen looking to get certified, these PADI dive spots offer safe diving with maximum depths of just thirty feet. Here are three off-the-wall yet close-to-home scuba diving picks.
The Old Kenneth Stone Quarry was once a limestone mining operation; today it’s home to France Park, a seven-acre dive site that offers underwater platforms, submerged vehicles, and sunken aircraft, in addition to a diverse array of freshwater fish. The maximum depth in the quarry is about 30 feet and you can easily enter from the beach, making France Park a good spot for young or inexperienced divers.
Be on the lookout for the paddlefish: these creatures boast unforgettable snouts and can average five feet in length and weigh up to 60 pounds! After swimming or diving in the crystal-clear water, you can hike the beautiful trails and then tuck in for the night at one of the 200 campsites.
Dutch Springs is a 50-acre spring-fed lake that offers underwater platforms, submerged vehicles, and sunken aircraft, as well as an array of freshwater fish including Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, Palomino Trout, Koi, Yellow Perch, and Goldfish. The visibility here is extremely high thanks to the clear, spring-fed water.
This popular dive site even boasts an Aqua Park for the non-swimmers in the group, while tweens, teens, and adults can learn to scuba dive in an onsite swimming pool before hitting the quarry.
Haigh Quarry, a.k.a. the “Caribbean of the Midwest,” offers divers of all ages the chance to experience colorful underwater life and even “artifacts” that recreate an archeological diving discovery experience. The spring-fed lake is ideal for first-time scuba divers thanks to outstanding visibility. Onsite classes are available for both inexperienced and advanced scuba divers.
Did you know kids as young as 10 can become Jr. PADI certified? Check out our guide to scuba guide certification for kids.