Florida’s oceans contain pelagic such as sea turtles, sharks, whales, and sailfish with its elongated bill and distinctive sail that often stretches the entire length of its back. If the manatees haven’t satisfied you, then during the summer months lemon sharks can be found in the shallower waters around the reefs. The corals are alive with knobbly sea rods – grey and naked like a tree after a forest fire – and stony symmetrical brain coral.
A two hour drive north of Tampa, dive in Crystal Rivers King Spring. For those with proper training and experience, caverns start at 30 feet (9 meters) and drop down to 50 feet (15 meters). Expect to see the manatee often referred to as a sea-cow, this relative of the elephant has a docile face dominated by its whiskered, upper lip.
Located 50 minutes from Miami is the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park with 40 living coral species and 650 varieties of fish. The Molasses Reef has spur-and-groove formations, boulder corals, caves, lobsters, turtles and rays.
Gulf (West) coast - For nine months of the year the Gulf coast temperatures run warm to hot; while three of the winter months bring cool (or rarely, cold) weather mixed with mild temperatures.
Atlantic (East) coast - It’s mostly humid and subtropical in northern and central Florida. The further south you go (from Jupiter to the Keys) the climate changes to tropical.
Southern coast - The southern tip of Florida is a true tropical climate with rain expected from May through October.
Find local PADI dive shops and explore the top dive sites with our map.
Depending on your destination, Florida has three main international airports located in Orlando (mid central), Tampa (west coast), and Miami (south). The state is well served by domestic airports to the major cities, including Key West.
Independent travelers can easily rent a car at the airports.