The city of Miami needs no introduction. However while many tourists visit the professional sports teams or the world famous Miami Beach, scuba diving and snorkeling enthusiasts can enjoy all that the Atlantic Ocean has to offer.
Entire travel books have been written about all the Miami FL scuba diving and snorkeling sites just off the coast in the Atlantic. While it would be impossible to cover all the many dozens of different diving sites available, this article is going to tackle some of the must see scuba sites so you know what to look for setting out from the Miami Beach Marina.
Finding something to do in Miami or even when restricted to Miami Beach isn't difficult at all. Even finding a good scuba site can be easy, if not a little overwhelming, because of the over 50 well known dive sites off of Miami. However if you want to experience some of the best scuba diving Miami has to offer, then make sure to follow the advice in this article to see some of the best and most interesting dive sites around this section of Florida.
No Miami FL scuba diving and snorkeling report is complete without immediately mentioning the Tenneco Oil Rigs. This is considered the most popular diving site on the entire southeast Florida coast. Also known as the Tenneco Towers, these former oil rigs were moved from the Gulf of Mexico to their current position.
Positioned in their current location at Degrees 25.982167 Latitude and -080.085700 Longitude, this dive site is considered a three part dive with West Tenneco at 105 feet deep, Middle Tenneco at 115 deep, and Deep Tenneco at 185 feet at the base. Soft coral absolutely thrives on the Tenneco diving sites and many harder to find fish can be found here like the queen angels or Spanish hogfish.
C-One is another extremely popular dive site and marks where a 120 foot US Navy tug boat was sunk as making part of an artificial reef. This wreckage is tilted 45 degrees down in 68 feet of water. Many divers love this site and refer to it as the "spooky dive." This particular Miami dive site is located at Degrees 25.909167, -080.090067. This is an intermediate skill level dive and hundreds of fish, including barracuda, are often found around the C-One.
Nearby to the C-One is the White Coast, a forty foot Russian tug that was sunk just east of this site as part of the Coconuts Festival of North Miami Beach. This is a nice little site that offers more underwater gems to visiting divers who want to see as much as possible.
Crane Reef is another site that gets a lot of attention as one of the best reef dives off of Miami. There is a crane boom there, and oddly no one knows how it got there. It's lying in 75 feet of water and is surrounded by large coral growths. Turtles, moray eels, sharks, and many tropical fish can be found here and it's one of the most popular reefs off of the Gold Coast.
For something different you won't find in many places, look at visiting Army Tank 1 and Army Tank 2, sometimes grouped together simply as the Army Tanks dive site. These are two 40 ton combat tanks from the Vietnam era that were sunk in 1994 in about 50 feet of water. Large limestone boulders can also be located close by, and lobsters are already frequently calling this place home.
If you like celebrities, take a look at Graceland Reef, thus named because it is the home of a very large green moray eel nicknamed Elvis by the locals. This is part of a plate reef that broke and dropped a few feet to create its own ledge with small caverns underneath. This is a simple dive and is even home to rare to find fish like Copper Sweepers and some nurse sharks.
Golden Beach Boulder Reef, located at Degrees 25.962667 -080.097750 was created in 2005 with the addition of a staggering 850 tons of limestone boulders. This site is located 45 feet deep and one nautical mile east of the town of Golden Beach. This site offers everything imaginable to Miami FL scuba divers and snorkelers.
The Bimini Chain Bull Run is well known for being the "Home of the Shark Feed" and is an area where you can see Caribbean Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, and Black Grouper compete during feeding times in a frenzy of action. After the feeding there are dozens of popular swim areas throughout the reef system worth checking out, some of which have their own names like Barracuda Reef, which is well known for being very similar to any Florida Keys snorkeling or scuba diving experience.
When it comes to actual Miami Florida snorkeling, it's hard to beat the Twin Ledges dive site. Only 15 to 20 feet deep, this dive site is a favorite among snorkelers everywhere and consists of an east ledge and a west ledge with a nice valley in the middle where the sea life absolutely flourishes!
One fun wreck to dive is the Half Moon, located at Degrees 25.727567, -080.134483. This was a 154 foot sailing yacht and during Prohibition it was a floating saloon. It sank during a storm in 1930 in only 10 feet of water and has been there ever since. The hull is covered with soft coral and sponges, and is easy to locate from Bear Cut Channel. This wreck technically lies within the borders of Biscayne National Park and is an Underwater Archaeological Preserve. While interesting to divers of skill levels, this is especially a good starting point for beginners.
Red gorgonians, jewfish, and pelagic sea life are many of the top draws to the Almirante Dive Site located at Degrees 25.416333, -080.117500. This ship is a 200-foot freighter that actually was moved again and dumped by Hurricane Andrew upside down. The coral growth is beginning to return, and many areas of twisted metal make for exciting exploration although this is somewhat of an intermediate dive in many areas.
The Biscayne Freighter, located at Degrees 25.704383 -080.088367, sits 4.5 miles east of Key Biscayne and is a 120 foot ship located in a shallow 55 feet of water. The hull is completely coral covered and this is considered one of the best locations for night diving. This is a popular spot for underwater photography and the vast schools of fish are hard to compete with. This offers sections that are great for both beginners and advanced divers.
Finally, the Sheri-Lynn is worth a visit if you have the time. The Shri-Lynn is a 235 foot freighter that is in 90 feet of water. Surrounded by concrete blocks and Chevron tanks, there is tons of sea life all around and there are even many holes in the outer hull of the boat to allow inside exploration.