Scuba diving is hands down the best way to get a glimpse into the colorful and bustling submerged cities of marine life that have been created, both naturally and artificially, along the over 1,000 miles of coastline hugging the state of Florida.
Hundreds of tropical reefs and sunken shipwrecks surround the Sunshine State, the majority of which are located in the warm, Atlantic waters off the southeast coast.
With so many of these sites to choose from, it can be hard to decide which underwater expedition to take on next, so here are ten of Broward and Palm Beach’s best dive spots to help.
Enter the waypoint into your Garmin, or if you're having trouble finding the exact spot, plug the coordinates into your GPS and start exploring!
10. SS Copenhagen
Waypoint: COPENH Latitude Longitude
Degrees/Minutes N 26 12.349 W 80 5.108
Degrees/Minutes/Seconds N 26 12 20.940 W 80 5 6.480
This wreck, originally a 325-foot steamer, sank on its own in the year 1900 and is now a popular site for local and visiting novice divers. It sits scattered in hundreds of pieces in about 30 feet of water, near the Pompano Drop Off Reef. Here you’re guaranteed to see parrotfish, moray eels, many tropical reef fish, and a variety of corals, both hard and soft. While floating around, be sure to check out the beds of the ship’s former boilers, located in the middle of the wreckage. There are endless cracks and crevices here where eels and damselfish routinely make appearances.
9. Hog Heaven
Waypoint: HOGHVN Latitude Longitude
Degrees/Minutes N 26 8.050 W 80 4.850
Degrees/Minutes/Seconds N 26 8 3.000 W 80 4 51.000
This 180-foot barge is unlike other wrecks because it lies upside down due to an unfortunate turn of events while it was being sunk to become an artificial reef in 1986. Its depth ranges from 50 to 65 feet and is a great beginning dive for those who are open-water certified. Blue and French angelfish are regular sights among the tangled looking barbs that form a sort of subaquatic forest of corals. Wade through the jungle gym of openings at the bottom to find yellowtail snapper and more schools of grunts.
8. Barracuda Reef Moorings
Waypoint: CUDARF Latitude Longitude
Degrees/Minutes N 26 4.990 W 80 5.720
Degrees/Minutes/Seconds N 26 4 59.400 W 80 5 43.200
Surrounded by the first-ever mooring buoys installed in Broward County, Barracuda Reef is your local fish watcher's dream. Lying only a half-mile out from John U. Lloyd State Park (6503 N. Ocean Drive, Dania Beach), it’s easily accessible by boat or even a short swim and home to hefty numbers of reef fish and corals, including
Waypoint: MERCED Latitude Longitude
Degrees/Minutes N 26 9.370 W 80 4.513
Degrees/Minutes/Seconds N 26 9 22.200 W 80 4 30.780
The scattered remnants of what used to be a behemoth of a ship, the Mercedes wreck lies about 70-plus feet underwater. She’s been battered and broken over the years to form an extended playground for goliath grouper, amberjacks, and other small critters that climb in and out of the coral wall on the tipped-over top deck. What the Mercedes lacks in structure she makes up for in sheer numbers of fish. Because the reef sites surrounding the wreckage are relatively vast, there’s a good deal of room to explore here and nitrox is recommended to give you more bottom time.
6. The Caves / Twin Ledges and Oakland Ridge Moorings
Waypoint: CAVTLM Latitude Longitude
Degrees/Minutes N 26 7.750 W 80 5.460
Degrees/Minutes/Seconds N 26 7 45.000 W 80 5 27.600
If you’re looking to bring home more than just some sick scuba selfies or sweet GoPro videos, the Fort Lauderdale
5. Hammerhead Reef
Waypoint: HAMMER Latitude Longitude
Degrees/Minutes N 26 5.250 W 80 5.166
Degrees/Minutes/Seconds N 26 5 15.000 W 80 5 9.960
If exploring crevices for lobster, swimming through tight coral passages with yellowtail schools, and getting surprise visits from sea turtles and southern rays is more your style, then Hammerhead Reef is your go-to dive spot. Big parrotfish and bright angelfish will buzz around your bubbles as you glide along the two-and-a-half-mile stretch of
4. Guy Harvey
Waypoint: HARVEY Latitude Longitude
Degrees/Minutes: N 26 12.655 W 80 3.946
Degrees/Minutes/Seconds: N 26 12 39.300 W 80 3 56.760
Situated just three miles south of the Hillsboro Inlet, the Guy Harvey wreck is an advanced, deep dive meant for experienced divers. Before sinking, the ship was painted by the famous artist but today the
3. Captain Dan
Waypoint: CPTDAN Latitude Longitude
Degrees/Minutes N 26 13.127 W 80 3.974
Degrees/Minutes/Seconds N 26 13 7.620 W 80 3 58.440
One hundred and ten feet below the surface of the light blue waters off of Pompano Beach lies
2. Fort Lauderdale Wreck Trek
Waypoint: SCUTTI Latitude Longitude
Degrees/Minutes N 26 9.520 W 80 4.760
Degrees/Minutes/Seconds N 26 9 31.200 W 80 4 45.600
This three-wreck drift dive is a must for any intermediate to advanced diver. At depths ranging 60 to 75 feet, you’ll coast from south to north with the current over the Jay Scutti, Tracey, and Mercy Jesus wrecks. You will typically descend on the Jay Scutti first, where if you look closely you’ll catch stingrays hiding in the surrounding sands. As you make your way into stage two, through the large openings of the old Tracey oil rig, you’ll be surrounded by schools of grunts swimming gently around all sides of you as if you’re one of the pack. But beware of the large barracuda that
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1. Blue Heron Bridge
Phil Foster Park, 900 Blue Heron Blvd., Riviera Beach.
If you are a South Florida scuba diver and haven't been to Blue Heron, you need to get out from under your rock and under the bridge instead. This world-famous dive site is home to one of the largest varieties of marine life including seahorses, lobster,