Key West Ultimate Guide to the Best Diving

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Are you an avid diver looking for the best diving spots in Key West? Look no further! In this ultimate guide, we will explore the top diving locations in Key West, known for their crystal-clear waters, vibrant marine life, and unique underwater landscapes. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced diver, Key West offers something for everyone. So, grab your gear and get ready to dive into an unforgettable underwater adventure!

Related: More Diving Destinations

Reasons to Dive in Key West

  1. Vibrant Marine Life: Home to the only living coral barrier reef in the continental U.S., offering diverse marine life including tropical fish, sea turtles, and more.
  2. Historic Shipwrecks: Several historic wrecks, such as the Vandenberg, attract wreck divers.
  3. Clear Waters: Typically excellent visibility, ideal for both beginners and experienced divers.
  4. Year-Round Diving: Warm waters and favorable weather conditions make it a year-round destination.
  5. Diverse Diving Options: From shallow reefs to deep wrecks, catering to all skill levels.

Dive Requirements

  1. Certification: Open Water Diver certification for basic dives; Advanced Open Water Diver for deeper wrecks and more challenging dives.
  2. Medical Clearance: Some dive operators require a medical clearance, especially if you have health conditions.
  3. Dive Insurance: Highly recommended to cover potential medical expenses related to diving.
  4. Equipment: Either bring your own or rent from local dive shops.

Types of Diving in Key West

  1. Reef Diving: Explore coral reefs teeming with marine life.
  2. Wreck Diving: Dive historic shipwrecks like the Vandenberg.
  3. Night Diving: Experience the underwater world after dark.
  4. Drift Diving: Utilize currents for a unique diving experience.
  5. Cave Diving: For the experienced, explore underwater caves and caverns.

Top Diving Destinations in Key West

  1. The Vandenberg Wreck: A 522-foot artificial reef, one of the largest in the world.
  2. Sand Key: A coral reef popular for its abundant marine life and clear water.
  3. Cayman Salvage Master: Another notable wreck, teeming with marine life.
  4. Joe’s Tug: A well-loved site for its accessibility and variety of sea life.
  5. Eastern Dry Rocks: Known for its beautiful coral formations and marine diversity.

Packing List

  1. Dive Certification Card
  2. Logbook
  3. Dive Gear: Mask, snorkel, fins, wetsuit, BCD, regulator, dive computer.
  4. Personal Items: Swimwear, towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat.
  5. Health & Safety: Dive insurance card, medical kit, water bottle.
  6. Documentation: ID, money, travel documents.
  7. Other Gear: Underwater camera, surface marker buoy, dive light for night dives.

Expert Trip Planning Tips

Best Time to Dive

  • High Season (December to May): Best conditions, calm seas, great visibility.
  • Off-Season (June to November): More affordable but higher chance of hurricanes and storms.

Ways to Save Money

  1. Book in Advance: Secure better deals on accommodations and dive packages.
  2. Off-Season Travel: Lower rates on flights and hotels.
  3. Group Discounts: Many operators offer discounts for groups.
  4. Local Dive Shops: Rent equipment locally to avoid airline fees.

Guides and Resources

  1. Local Dive Shops: Offer guided dives, equipment rental, and dive courses.
  2. Dive Charters: Provide transportation to dive sites and often include guides.
  3. Online Resources: Websites and forums dedicated to diving in Key West for reviews and tips.
  4. Dive Maps and Apps: Handy tools to plan your dives and navigate dive sites.

With these tips and resources, you’re well-prepared to plan an amazing diving adventure in Key West!

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Hi!I’m Kim!

A passionate adventurer, homesteader, home cook and food lover who loves nothing more than sharing my favorite trips, skills , and recipes with the world.



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