Keeping it Local!

Liz Thompson   Aug 23, 2019

Do you just love diving in the Caribbean? We realize that it can be hard to get there - especially if you’re only looking to dive for a fun weekend. So, we are reviewing some of our favorite local dives that are closer to home!

 

Lake Jocassee, SC

One of South Carolina’s best kept secrets this dive site has visibility that averages out around 20-30 ft and many different sites for you to dive on! You have the option of shore or boat diving depending on what kind of experience you are looking for. With wrecks, houses, and graveyards available to be explored, this site has so much to offer and is only two hours away from our shop. This site is great for a day trip - but if you want to stay longer, they offer camping, lodge rooms, and cabins for rent.

 

Blue Water Park, Alabama

Blue Water Park offers all of the support and service needed to make your dive enjoyable. With depth ranging from 4 to 140 feet this site is open Friday through Sunday - giving you the whole weekend to dive. Blue Water Park also helps to connect you to potential dive buddies! While there is nowhere on the site to stay, they do have plenty of hotels and campground located nearby for you to stay at and some offer discounted rates.

 

Ginnie Springs, Florida

Ginnie Springs has three different distinct dives to experience: The Ginnie Ballroom, The Devil’s Spring System, and the Santa Fe River. The Ballroom is an underwater cavern that has been deemed to be OK for divers who are not cavern or cave trained and entering the Ballroom gives you a chance to see some of the many unusual geological formations that can occur in caves and caverns. For the Devil’s Spring System, you have to be a certified cave or cavern diver, but the sites that you’ll see here are truly breath taking. The final site offered at Ginnie Springs is the Santa Fe River - a drift dive with visibility that can reach up to 40 feet and offers the possibility of seeing fossils! Keep in mind that since it is a drift dive that has boats that run along it, you do need to tow a float and a flag.  Diver entry is $30 for certified divers – and $22 for certified cave divers.

                                 

Blue Grotto, Florida

This site is good for divers of all levels and features one of the safest cavern dives in the area- meaning its open to Open Water Divers! But the fun doesn’t stop there! With depths up to 100 feet and temperatures of 72 degrees all year-round Blue Grotto also features a cave that is reserved only for Cave certified divers! As an added bonus one of our Instructors is a certified guide for this cave system! Along with the cave Blue Grotto also features an airball at 30 feet and a freshwater turtle named Virgil! Entry is $44 for day or night diving – and $66 for the entire day/night.

                                                             

Manatee Springs, Florida

This site is another one that is divided into multiple parts - similar to Ginnie - with two parts accessible to Open Water divers and the third only available to Cave Divers. At this site there is the chance to see Manatees, although divers have to keep 50 feet away from these “Sea Cows”, and catfish - the creature that lends the name to one of the dive sites “Catfish Hotel.” Along with Catfish Hotel, Manatee Springs also has Main Spring and Friedman Sink, with Open Water diving allowed in Main Spring and Parts of Catfish Hotel, and cavern diving being allowed in Catfish Hotel and Friedman Sink. There are no entry fees at this site since it is a State Park.

 

Ocean Voyager at the Georgia Aquarium

That’s right – right here in Georgia you can dive with 4 Whale sharks, 4 Manta Rays, 6 species of sharks and countless species of Atlantic and Indo-Pacific fish. And…of course let’s not forget about the huge Green Turtle … “Tank”. And when you do this dive not only do you get to dive for 30-45 minutes with all gear – and Whalesharks - included, but you also get a t-shirt, certificate of participation, and photo. You will need to also purchase a ticket to the Aquarium – so come early or plan to stay after the dive so that you can enjoy the exhibits and shows. You will also get the chance to purchase a video of your dive! These dives occur daily at 3p.m with an additional dive taking place on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m.