Where should I take my new-diver 11 year old to start?

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doctormike

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A slightly different take on this.

My kid did a bootleg dive during a boy scout campout. He was on the octo. Totally hooked, even to this day. He is 30 y/o. Now owns all his own stuff.

At ten or eleven just being competent at breathing under water and have a sense of buoyancy is the 'be all and end all'.

All the destination brags are totally lost on me. Who is that for?

I mean, I don't really see anyone bragging - no one suggested Bikini or Truk. Pretty sure an eleven year old is going to have a significantly better time on a pretty, warm water reef than just being underwater in a Colorado pool or a quarry. The OP is exactly right, that some people never dive again if their OW dives are somewhere unpleasant.

Would not go with the Keys unless you absolutely have to stay in CONUS. I like them a lot, and it's great wreck diving, but the shallow reefs are not that terrific (in my opinion), and conditions can be rough with currents.

If you want US territory, I would say St. Croix. I could dive the Frederiksted pier every day for a month and find new things in easy, shallow water. Bonaire probably is the best bet anywhere within a reasonable flight for you if you want a lot shallow, accessible reefs that are good for a new, young diver.
 

BoundForElsewhere

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Isla Mujeres is like diving in a big warm bathtub with fish. Easy dives and plenty of bars for grownups.
 

jadairiii

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.....Would not go with the Keys unless you absolutely have to stay in CONUS. I like them a lot, and it's great wreck diving, but the shallow reefs are not that terrific (in my opinion), and conditions can be rough with currents....

Sure, some of Key Largo's reefs are beat but you can always drive to Tavernier or Marathon, or even Islamorada for less traveled reefs. The added benefit is if you get all the way here and Key Largo (and the keys) are blown out, Ft Lauderdale may be calmer and lots of beach and boat dive opportunities. Their blown out too? Blue Heron bridge is always an option.....and if you dont mind driving, last resort is a 4 hour run to Blue Grotto and the surrounding springs in Gainesville area.

With Florida, some areas can be blown out while other areas are still quite diveable. There is always a bail out option.
 

Jcp2

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When are you planning on going? Weather can make boat rides bumpy, which can make getting back on board a bit challenging.
 
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