Ten Best Dive Spots in Broward and Palm Beach

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 brain, star, and staghorn. Peek inside the crevices along the 15-foot-high ledge to find crabs and lobsters as well as a cornucopia of colorful reef fish.

7. Mercedes

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 ledges are an ideal spot to score some dinner. Great for novice divers and/or snorkelers, the series of ledges located two to three miles north of the Port Everglades inlet are a great place to enjoy a casual, underwater expedition. With the hogfish and yellowtail populations, spear fishing is popular here and lobsters are also abundant.  Depth ranges from an easy 15 to 20 feet and visibility is typically good, from 15 to 25 feet.

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