Miami Beach is a barrier island made of limestone coral rock. The Florida Straits, the third largest barrier reef in the world, stretches south along The Florida Keys, and Miami serves as a gateway to its uppermost stretch. This destination has many coral shelves, patch reefs, and shipwrecks perfect for scuba diving in Miami or snorkeling.
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Neptune Memorial Reef
The world’s largest artificial reef is 3.5 miles east of Key Biscayne. It resembles the lost city of Atlantis and boasts of exceptional beauty.
The Neptune Memorial Reef, which spans 16 acres, is a popular destination for scattering the ashes of loved ones in the ocean. The calm and serene ocean waters have an above-average depth of visibility of 35 feet, making it an ideal spot for open sea divers.
Divers can explore the scattered dome structure, columns, arches, and statues by hovering around them and admiring their beauty. They can also discover the new marine life in this area.
Tarpoon Lagoon Dive Center
Tarpoon Lagoon Dive Center, a PADI 5-Star Center, is an excellent choice for scheduling classes or recreational dives because it is directly located in the Miami Beach Marina.
This family-owned business, founded in 1952, offers vacationers and locals the convenience of having a training pool adjacent to their location and a boat dock across the parking lot.
The center provides various scuba diving classes ranging from Discover Scuba Diving & Open Water to Scuba Divemaster and more. In addition, you can easily access their calendar for scuba diving courses and recreational dives on their website.
The Miami dive charters have a popular bottom diving site called Emerald Reef, which ranks second in visitor numbers. Even though it has a maximum depth of only 30 feet with three shallow patch reefs, it’s an excellent choice for snorkelers and freedivers. Expect to see elkhorn and pillar coral, various sponges, and schools of young tropical fish such as sergeant majors, blue tangs, and other damselfish. You can see down to the bottom when the conditions are right.
Miami’s most extensive and healthiest reef is home to marine life, including reef fish, nurse and lemon sharks, sea turtles, and barracuda. This location can also be great for lobstering during certain seasons.
Maximum Depth: 30 Feet
Wreck Diving in Miami
Many deep scuba dive sites in Miami were intentionally sunk for diving or reef development purposes.
Maximum Depth: 55 feet
Reef Diving in Miami
Some of the best deep dive sites in Miami are reef dives, wreck dives, and drift dives, and most of them are artificial reefs formed by purposely sinking ships or concrete blocks. Additionally, all of the dive sites in Miami have some degree of overlapping.
The county works with anglers, certified divers, and other individuals to support the local wildlife through an artificial solid reef program.
Half Moon Shipwreck
The Half Moon Shipwreck is situated in shallow waters as deep as 10 feet. It can be found near Virginia Key and Key Biscayne and is accessible to snorkelers and divers at Half Moon Preserve.
The Half Moon, named after the half moon, eventually the German sailing yacht captured by England during World War I and 154 feet long, ended up in Miami’s waters, where it ran aground in 1930. As a result, the wreckage became an underwater archaeological preserve.
The shallow and calm waters are home to many tropical fish, and soft coral surrounds them.
Maximum Depth: 10 Feet
Jose Cuervo Artificial Reef
To dive and reach an artificial reef near South Beach, go to the Second Street lifeguard stand and swim about 150 yards from there. Remember to bring your fins, mask, and snorkel. You’ll discover an unexpected underwater marvel: a giant concrete bar transformed into an artificial reef.
On Cinco de Mayo 20 years ago, the Department of Environmental Resources in Miami-Dade County intentionally sunk a concrete bar called the Jose Cuervo artificial reef. It now serves as a habitat for various tropical fish, including yellowtail snapper, parrotfish, and spiny lobster.
Maximum Depth: 20 Feet
Maritime Heritage Trail At Biscayne National Park
Biscayne National Park is mostly underwater, with only 5% on land. It is located in Biscayne Bay, off the coast of South Dade, and is bordered one mile east by the northern islands of the Florida Keys, just before reaching Key Largo.
The Maritime Heritage Trail offers an entire dive experience and various underwater wonders, including shipwrecks from different eras, natural reefs, and a lighthouse. Divers, scuba divers, and snorkelers of all skill levels can enjoy the shallow and deep water dives available here.
South Florida Reef Tract
The South Florida Reef Tract is a significant barrier reef from Miami to Palm Beach. Within just a 23-mile portion extending south out of Fort Lauderdale’s reef, more than 100 dive sites feature wrecks and reef formations.
Sites in the southern area, such as beautiful reefs like Mark’s Reef, are easily accessible. The Nursery, named after its many nurse sharks, is also shallow enough for snorkelers to enjoy.
Maximum Depth: 33 feet
Looking for other activities on your Miami vacation? Read Best Places to Kayak in Miami Beach
When to Dive Miami
Diving allows you to discover a new world of beauty beneath the blue waters. Miami’s beauty extends beyond its land, with diverse marine wildlife and a stunning underwater environment that is difficult to describe.
For calm, flat seas and clear blue water, the ideal time to plan a visit to Miami would be during the summer months of June through September. No wetsuit is necessary during summer when the water temperature typically ranges from 84-86 degrees F (29-30 degrees C).
A Fantastic Diving Site awaits you to explore the ocean’s depths. But why settle for any old hotel when you can stay in complete extravagance at a Luxury Rental Miami Beach? Imagine coming home after a day of diving to a spacious and elegant suite with an ocean view.
You can relax on vacation rentals Miami Beach with a private balcony sipping a cocktail while the sea breeze gently sweeps your hair. Miami Beach luxury rentals offer unparalleled comfort and sophistication, making your diving vacation memorable.