Few family vacations are more exciting than a scuba trip! Whether you’re all experienced divers or relative newcomers, underwater adventures will leave you all with memories and thrills to last until your next vacation and even longer.
A lot of families are intimidated by the thought of a scuba vacation, since they instantly think of sky-high airfares and equipment costs. Well, we’re here to tell you that scuba can be affordable and highly cost-effective.
That’s mostly because you don’t actually need to leave the country to do it!
Here are our top three destinations in the USA for family scuba vacations:
1. US Virgin Islands
For most of us, the ultimate place to spend a scuba vacation is the Caribbean. That’s why the US Virgin Islands are such a great option. They’re a US territory, so you don’t need to have passports or deal with visas to get there. Most people can get there in a 6-hour flight or less, and you don’t have to deal with learning other languages or overcoming cultural obstacles. And you’re still in the Caribbean!
St. John, one of the US Virgin Islands, is a National Park, so it’s perfect for exploring! You can rent gear at one of the shops in Cruz Bay, then head out to one of the dozen pristine beaches for snorkeling. Check out the turtles at Mahlo Bay, then once you’re warmed up, head out on a scuba trip with one of the many boat tour companies! Guides are super friendly, and there are plenty of shipwrecks and sights galore under the waves.
2. Oahu, Hawaii
Hawaii is a great alternative to the Caribbean if you want to feel like you’re across the world without leaving the USA. It’s probably the best place to scuba dive in the world if you’re into shipwrecks!
The island of Oahu is all about sea tourism, so you can jump in and start scuba diving at any experience level. Hawaii is a different ballgame to the Virgin Islands, but if you want a deluxe experience, it’ll be more up your alley! There are amenities galore.
There’s plenty to do here once you’re scuba’d out for the day, too. You can explore the world’s only black sand beaches, and enjoy the buzzing nightlife downtown once the kids are in bed.
Take a look at our post about Free things to do in Hawaii
3. Florida Keys
Last but certainly not least, the Florida Keys are your best bet for scuba diving within the Continental US. They’re the easiest to get to, and many people can drive there! You don’t need passports, and you don’t even need to deal with finding a cell connection.
The Keys are the perfect place for new scuba divers to explore. There are lots of shipwrecks, and they’re all fairly close to the surface. The Keys are also home to the US’s only live barrier reef! It’s extremely well-protected, so it should hopefully be around for years to come. You can meet lots of exciting wildlife, and it’s nice all year round.
Guess what? We’ve written about things to do in the Keys as well! Take a look at our post: 48 Hours in Key West
If you are new to scuba diving, take a look at our post on scuba tips for beginners.