We asked PADI Chief Brand Officer Kristin Valette-Wirth to recommend some of her favorite places to scuba dive in the national parks. Here’s what she had to say.
Kelp forests and sea caves make for extraordinary diving within Channel Islands National Park. Expect to see a host of marine life, including sea lions, bat rays and sea bass.
"The park is lively with fish, mollusks and crustaceans – and dozens of wrecks for divers to explore," explains Valette-Wirth.
“One of the most unique diving opportunities is the ability to dive the Graveyard of the Atlantic off of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where some 600 ships have sunk since 1526," says Valette-Wirth.
“The chilly waters of the San Juan Islands offer incredible underwater biodiversity. Divers can swim through kelp forests to encounter nudibranchs, giant Pacific octopuses & wolf eels,” says Valette-Wirth.
“Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park’s offshore lava tubes and clear water teeming with life...draw divers from near and far,” says Valette-Wirth.
The waters of Lake Superior surrounding Isle Royale are home to 10 shipwrecks, each wonderfully preserved by the cold water. Options include everything from passenger steamers to bulk freighters.
“Spectacular dive sites are scattered throughout the islands,” says Valette-Wirth, “ranging from protected shallow bays and reefs to drift dives and wrecks."
“Abundant sea life, shallow waters and easy access from Miami make Biscayne National Park an ideal location for beginning divers and families,” says Valette-Wirth.
“Divers (with experience diving at high altitude and in cold waters) can discover submerged trees, underwater geology and wrecks, including a 100-foot stern paddle-wheeler,” says Valette-Wirth.
“Acadia National Park’s topography continues below the surface, covered in mussels, barnacles, anemones, sea urchins and sponges for divers to encounter,” says Valette-Wirth.