I’ve always wanted to scuba dive, but I live in the Midwest. Are there any good places to dive in the U.S. that don’t require a long flight? Jamie Hoffman, Topeka, Kansas Answer
The U.S. offers plenty of exciting scuba destinations, and believe it or not, one of them is practically in your own backyard. Oklahoma’s Lake Tenkiller Scuba Diving Park—hundreds of miles from any ocean—is one of the country’s top scuba diving destinations. The park features a variety of underwater attractions, including an abandoned jailhouse, a submerged 1965 school bus and an entire town that was left behind when the Illinois River flooded the area.
The land’s rolling hills and rock cliffs delve into the depths of the lake, creating breathtaking underwater terrain that reaches depths of 165 feet. Divers will discover roads, houses, buggies and rare Native American artifacts such as pottery, jewelry and arrowheads along Tenkiller’s floor. Other fascinating objects are frequently added to the park’s underwater landscape, such as submerged boats. Water temperatures are comfortable, reaching up to 90 degrees in summer, and with the lake’s clear, blue waters, divers have a visibility range of 8 to 35 feet.
If sightseeing isn’t enough of an underwater thrill for you, try spear fishing along some of the lake’s
islands. These dive sites offer dramatic overhangs that create caves where several types of fish lurk. Catfish as large as 65 pounds have been speared in Lake Tenkiller. For more information about Lake Tenkiller Scuba Diving Park, click here
And if ocean diving is more to your liking, check out some of the country’s top-rated saltwater diving destinations. You can come face-to-face with sharks or go for a wreck dive in the Atlantic’s graveyard in Morehead City, North Carolina, one of Scuba Diving magazine’s top diving destinations. Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, gives divers the opportunity to get up close and personal with the loggerhead turtles that live there year-round, and in the Florida Keys you’ll find beautiful coral formations, a variety of aquatic life, and the famous “Christ of the Abyss” statue.