6/7/10 Days Diving SE Florida, the best dives along the coast to sample SE Florida? and Dive clubs?

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NYCDiverBlue

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Location
New York, New York
# of dives
50 - 99
Hello Everyone,
I have scoured the SB posts on as far as diving SE Florida searching for the best diving from Key Largo to Jupiter which seems to be the best diving. I have not seen a post that puts the inquiry the way that I will.

Most people will do a 7-10 day trip to visit SE Florida to do diving, losing a diving day before flying back.

QUESTION: Ranked 1st-10th, what would be the best dives to do between Key Largo and Jupiter(didn't put Key West as this adds a good deal of driving time) so that one could drive north to south or vice versa sampling all the different types of diving(shore, boat, inlet(Blue Heron Bridge), drift, wreck etc) SE Florida has to offer. Ordinal ranking allows for the reader to pick the best sites to dive based upon the number of diving days he/she can do. Please put the type of dive in parentheses after the name(see below for example) This would allow someone to do a return visit to focus on what they like best. For example if you recommend a boat dive, it should be among the best boat dives in SE Florida

The below is just an example and info below may not be accurate. I tried the best with what I read.
From reading SB, the dives not to miss in order of preference/popularity SEEMS to be:
  1. Key Largo (shore,snorkeling, boat) (name of dive club & shop for this dive)
  2. Blue Heron Bridge (inlet,shore, some recommend hiring guide) should be done during high tide
  3. Jupiter (drift/boat, bigger fish Goliath Grouper, lemon shark winter/early spring)
  4. West Palm Beach (drift/boat)
  5. Fort Lauderdale By The Sea (shore)
Back up due to bad weather conditions, one local cave diving as a backup , which would be the top 3?

Recommended links:
Seasonal observations:
The winter time here tends to bring bigger waves and cooler water temps but as a result viz tends to be better​
Dive Clubs: check Meetup.com and this thread
Dive clubs in south Florida

Book on Diving SE Florida:
https://www.amazon.com/Reef-Smart-Guides-Florida-Lauderdale/dp/1633539768
Thanks in Advance
 

Trailboss123

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Pacific Northwest, USA
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Hello Everyone,
I have scoured the SB posts on as far as diving SE Florida searching for the best diving from Key Largo to Jupiter which seems to be the best diving. I have not seen a post that puts the inquiry the way that I will.

Most people will do a 7-10 day trip to visit SE Florida to do diving, losing a diving day before flying back.

QUESTION: Ranked 1st-10th, what would be the best dives to do between Key Largo and Jupiter(didn't put Key West as this adds a good deal of driving time) so that one could drive north to south or vice versa sampling all the different types of diving(shore, boat, inlet(Blue Heron Bridge), drift, wreck etc) SE Florida has to offer. Ordinal ranking allows for the reader to pick the best sites to dive based upon the number of diving days he/she can do. Please put the type of dive in parentheses after the name(see below for example) This would allow someone to do a return visit to focus on what they like best. For example if you recommend a boat dive, it should be among the best boat dives in SE Florida

The below is just an example and info below may not be accurate. I tried the best with what I read.
From reading SB, the dives not to miss in order of preference/popularity SEEMS to be:
  1. Key Largo (shore,snorkeling, boat) (name of dive club & shop for this dive)
  2. Blue Heron Bridge (inlet,shore, some recommend hiring guide) should be done during high tide
  3. Jupiter (drift/boat, bigger fish Goliath Grouper, lemon shark winter/early spring)
  4. West Palm Beach (drift/boat)
  5. Fort Lauderdale By The Sea (shore)
Back up due to bad weather conditions, one local cave diving as a backup , which would be the top 3?

Recommended links:
Seasonal observations:
The winter time here tends to bring bigger waves and cooler water temps but as a result viz tends to be better​
Dive Clubs: check Meetup.com and this thread
Dive clubs in south Florida

Book on Diving SE Florida:
https://www.amazon.com/Reef-Smart-Guides-Florida-Lauderdale/dp/1633539768
Thanks in Advance
I am going to let someone like @scubadada weigh in, as he has vastly more experience than I do. He is a bit busy diving there right now and giving us daily updates, so he might be delayed in responding. I will say that you need to add Boynton Beach (Drift/Boat) to your list. Whereas it is close to West Palm Beach, the diving is quite different and distinct. Of those locations on your list, I have dived Blue Heron (dive guide definitely recommended the first time), West Palm and Boynton. Of those 3, I really like the diving out of Boynton the best and I liked diving with Loggerhead. The reef is shallower here compared to West Palm which allows for longer dives where you are close to the action versus coming up from the reef and being further away from the action due to NDL obligations. I find the reef around Boynton to be fishier as well. West Palm is also great and interesting diving and I can speak positively to my experiences with both the dive ops I have been with (Narcosis and Walker's Dive Charters). I have often been told that people consider the diving out of Jupiter and West Palm to be "sharkier" than Boynton. I don't know if that is true or true during certain aggregation seasons or not necessarily true.

Blue Heron Bridge is its own thing. Super shallow 10-20 feet. Only diveable at certain tide times and it is all about the macro/small critters. I have not dived in Jupiter, but if you were interested, you could stay in West Palm and be able to comfortably dive Jupiter, West Palm, BHB and Boynton without having to change accommodations.
 

NYCDiverBlue

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New York, New York
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Thank you so much,

I was trying to write my post so that it would be useful for those who read later as many posts focus on what the best diving is in SE FL. I would like to sample it all.

So far these are the places we have booked in SE Florida. Part of this is due to my girlfriend loves shelling(so we are doing Sanibel and San Marco but that is not inquired about in this post) so we will do a couple of nights near Jupiter Island as that is the 2nd/3rd best shelling in FL after Sanibel. My hope is to get her to do a Discover Scuba course and will get certified. Plan to do that in Key Largo or Blue Heron. Also she is a beginner snorkeler so shore diving is a plus.

Here are the nights booked. This is due to I have to stay in Marriott properties and was able to get these at best prices/best places near beach/on beach if girlfriend won't dive and will only shell collect/snorkel.

I am willing to drive a bit each day if that diving will be different from the other days.

Courtyard Fort Lauderdale East/Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
Courtyard Fort Lauderdale East/Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
TownePlace Suites Miami Homestead (Drive down Key Largo each day)
TownePlace Suites Miami Homestead
Fairfield Inn & Suites West Palm Beach Jupiter
Fairfield Inn & Suites West Palm Beach Jupiter (21 min drive to Blue Heron)
Fairfield Inn & Suites Palm Beach
Fairfield Inn & Suites Palm Beach
Fairfield Inn & Suites Palm Beach

Thanks in Advance.
 

Catito

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Palm Beach County, Fl
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Thank you so much,

I was trying to write my post so that it would be useful for those who read later as many posts focus on what the best diving is in SE FL. I would like to sample it all.

So far these are the places we have booked in SE Florida. Part of this is due to my girlfriend loves shelling(so we are doing Sanibel and San Marco but that is not inquired about in this post) so we will do a couple of nights near Jupiter Island as that is the 2nd/3rd best shelling in FL after Sanibel. My hope is to get her to do a Discover Scuba course and will get certified. Plan to do that in Key Largo or Blue Heron. Also she is a beginner snorkeler so shore diving is a plus.

Here are the nights booked. This is due to I have to stay in Marriott properties and was able to get these at best prices/best places near beach/on beach if girlfriend won't dive and will only shell collect/snorkel.

I am willing to drive a bit each day if that diving will be different from the other days.

Courtyard Fort Lauderdale East/Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
Courtyard Fort Lauderdale East/Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
TownePlace Suites Miami Homestead (Drive down Key Largo each day)
TownePlace Suites Miami Homestead
Fairfield Inn & Suites West Palm Beach Jupiter
Fairfield Inn & Suites West Palm Beach Jupiter (21 min drive to Blue Heron)
Fairfield Inn & Suites Palm Beach
Fairfield Inn & Suites Palm Beach
Fairfield Inn & Suites Palm Beach

Thanks in Advance.

I live in Delray; work in West Palm; and dive with Pura Vida on Singer Island.
Don’t stay in Wellington.

The Fairfield Inn in Lake Worth is not a bad location. I’d stay at the Marriott in WPB but frankly...the Marriott on the beach in Delray is best.
 

Dusty123

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North Dakota
Fort Lauderdale/ Pompano is mostly about the boat diving there is a mess of wrecks not far out of Hillsborough Inlet. The biggest most interesting stuff is in the AOW range and deeper, but there is cool shallower stuff to. It can be hard to stay shallower than 60ft many of the ow wrecks are 75ft ish to the sand.
 

Narcosis Mike

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Living in South Florida these would be my picks. You need an advanced open water cert and Nitrox for my recommendations:

Key Largo - dive either the Spiegel grove, duane, or eagle with Florida Keys Dive Center
Miami - see the Neptune atlantis memorial with south beach divers
Ft Lauderdale - Tenneco Towers with SeaExperience
Boca/Pompano - See one of the several shipwrecks with Dixie Divers or SFDH. I like the Captain Dan and RSB-1.
Boynton - not very familiar with this area! lots of coral reefs.
West Palm - for shore diving you MUST do blue heron bridge. For boat diving see the ana cecelia with Walkers dive charters.
Jupiter - see the Jupiter Wreck Trek and any one of the coral reefs with ScubaWorks.
 

morecowbells

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Stumbled upon this excellent thread. In terms of short boat rides, calmer seas and optimal visibility, how would you rank Jupiter, Palm Beach and Boynton beach in that equation? Thanks for any intel:)
 

Trailboss123

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Stumbled upon this excellent thread. In terms of short boat rides, calmer seas and optimal visibility, how would you rank Jupiter, Palm Beach and Boynton beach in that equation? Thanks for any intel:)
Boat rides seem to be pretty much the same. As for the other 2 questions, they are far enough away from each other that conditions can vary on a daily basis and any one of them could be better or worse on a given day. I have personally seen conditions be very different even within the same area on the same morning or afternoon at Boynton dive sites and Palm Beach dive sites. By that, I mean 2 dives at 2 different Boynton sites on the same morning being very different in terms of visibility and sea conditions. Same for Palm Beach. I would defer to people that have many more dives and experiences at all 3 sites than me- like @scubadada and @JimBlay
 

scubadada

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Hi @morecowbells

I have been diving Boynton Beach, Jupiter and West Palm since 2009, 1100 dives. We've owned a townhouse just north of BB for coming up on 9 years. The diving in the 3 areas is complementary. When seas are up, most common in late fall, winter, early spring, BB is the hardest to get out of and West Palm, the easiest. There are many fine operators, I have developed my own relationships. The operators in BB do not put a guide in the water, you dive in a group or by yourself with a flag. I am mainly a solo diver. The operators I use in Jupiter and West Palm put guides in the water but you are not obliged to stay with them and can ascend on your SMB.

Personally, BB is my favorite. The reefs are the nicest with the best numbers and diversity of reef fish. The west facing reefs are about 60 feet with varying relief. The east facing reefs are more like 70-90 feet and are generally fingers. It is fairly easy to cross the reef, I frequently start outside and end inside. The wreck of the Castor has a year round population of Goliath Grouper and is a prime aggregation site (August-Sept). There are two other fair wrecks, Capt Tony, and Bud Bar. My favorite operator is Underwater Explorers but Kevin Metz is currently not running due to Covid and school obligations. I do most of my diving with Loggerhead Charters and Starfish Scuba is a good backup.

Overall, Jupiter has a higher likelihood of seeing sharks, turtles, and Goliath Grouper. Deep Ledge, usually run as part of the Friday 3 tanker is a good opportunity to see Bull Sharks. During Lemon Shark aggregation (Jan-Mar), Lemon Drop can be phenomenal. The reef dives frequently have Reef Sharks, turtles and grouper. The Wreck Trek generally has Goliath Grouper, and Lemon Sharks, sometimes other sharks at the Esso Bonaire. I use Jupiter Dive Center.

I usually go out of West Palm when seas are up and I can't get out in BB or Jupiter. There are some fun wrecks like Governor's River Walk and the Mizpah Corridor as well as a large number of good reef dives. I generally go out with Narcosis and have also used Pura Vida and Walter's Charters.

So, I love diving in SE FL, I shared my biases, take them for that. @JimBlay is a local and has somewhat different diving practices than I do. He might be willing to share some of his opinions with you.

Best of luck and good diving,

Craig

Edit: I was typing as @Trailboss123 was posting and Jim Blay gets 2 recommendations :)
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/
https://xf2.scubaboard.com/community/forums/cave-diving.45/

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