Miami-Dade County bills itself as the wreck-reational diving capital of the world, thanks to more than 100 artificial reefs sunk in local waters over the past 25 years to attract both fish and divers. Wrecks open for scuba diving include surplus U.S. Army tanks, oil rigs, tugboats, radio towers, coastal freighters, sewer pipes, and Miami Beach’s old water tower. Here are a few dive operations that can take you there:
Divers Paradise, 4000 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne, 305-361-3483, www.keydivers.com. Offers dive instruction; equipment rentals; and scuba and snorkel trips to artificial reefs for around $55 for a four-hour trip.
DiveStop, 16602 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, 305-940-0926, www.miamidivestop.com. Offers dive instruction in on-site pool; equipment rentals; and scuba trips to artificial reefs, including the Miami Wreck Trek, a trail of materials including surplus U.S. Army tanks in 50-60 feet of water. A two-tank dive, about four hours, costs $55.
RJ Diving Ventures, Miami Beach Marina, 300 Alton Rd., Miami Beach, 305-861-6277, www.rjdiving.com. Offers scuba trips to many Miami-Dade County artificial reef sites from North Miami Beach to Key Biscayne for $60 for a two-tank dive. The dive boat, Big Com-ocean, is used by several Miami-Dade County scuba centers that don’t have their own boats for check-out dives and charters.
Your best bet for diving beautiful natural coral reefs and walls is with Biscayne National Underwater Park, 9710 SW 328 St., Homestead., 305-230-1100, www.nps.gov/bisc. The park’s deep drift dive passes over human-sized barrel sponges, numerous species of tropical fish, and colorful coral walls. Shallow reef dives are equally pleasing to the beginning scuba diver. Snorkel trips cost $38; scuba trips, about $75.