View Full Version : FL trip planning, need advice

03-04-2008, 21:38
My girlfriend and I are planning a trip for our spring break from March 21st to the 30th. We are both students (studying to be elementary school teachers) and therefore have very few funds to draw upon, so we are planning on camping our way through Florida and doing as much shore diving as possible. We are both open water certified, I have about 50 dives logged with about half of those in salt water. She only has about 20 and only 4 of those are salt. We are definitely at the beginner level both in skill and in what it takes to impress us and have a good time on a dive. We will be driving from South Carolina, and I would love to make it all the way down to the keys on this circuit because neither of us has ever been there. The only two places that we have been diving in Florida are Devils Den, and at Crystal River with the manatees. So, what I am asking for is suggestions on where to go and what everyone’s opinions are on the best shore dives in the state (at our skill level), along with any camping and sight seeing suggestions you might make. Also, we might find the funds to spring for a day of boat diving so if anyone knows of a reasonable yet extraordinary boat dive chime in and let me know. Any help would be greatly appreciated, we have both definitely fallen in love with diving and are taking every chance we can to get our feet wet.

03-05-2008, 08:37
Trey, by far the best ocean shore diving is in the Ft. Lauderdale area. There are several shore accessible sites in that area. Ned DeLoach's Underwater Florida is a great reference. Most of the sites are in the 15-20' depth range. But that means more bottom time. The reef is only a few fin kicks out and there's lots of life.

As for the Keys, you won't find any shore diving there. It's too shallow and the reef is too far out. Head down there for the topside sites. If you can spring the money for an air boat tour of the Everglades, I would do that. Otherwise stick to Lauderdale and the springs for all your diving.

Check out the Florida State Parks website for places to camp. They're fairly inexpensive and well maintained.