Want to freshen up your next diving vacation? Then pass on the saltwater diving, and explore these beautifully cool and clear diving locales that put the often-overlooked joys of freshwater diving on the map.
Cenotes are a unique collection of freshwater caves found on the Yucatan Peninsula. They offer a spellbinding spot to explore and are a must for cave divers.
Best of all, this network of caves is wonderfully accessible, with large air pockets, and many openings to the surface, ensuring beginners won’t be overwhelmed.
This destination requires good timing, as the Sameranger Lake is a meadow in the winter and summer months, and a lake in the spring.
Renowned as one of the clearest lakes in the world, its depths can reach as deep as 30+ ft. with surreal sights such as underwater park benches and walking trails.
Discover a long lost underwater city at this lake found in western China. This man-made reservoir called “Qiandao Lake” is home to the ruins of a 25-200 AD Eastern Han Dynasty town, which remains perfectly undisturbed under the surface.
Because of the freshwater environment, the city’s ruins are remarkably intact, and the water is so clear and fresh that it is a specialized brand of bottled water. Scuba diving is just taking off in this corner of the country, so better visit before the word gets out.
Check out this one and a half minute video of Shi Cheng.
You might initially think of jet skis, boating and skiing when you think of Lake Tahoe, but this massive American destination has more than its fair share of incredible dive sites as well, with visibility of up to 100’ ft.
Besides the added benefit of not requiring a passport to visit, divers will also have incredible views of the site both underwater and close to the surface, where the heavily forested surroundings steal the scene.
You probably head to the Keys and the beaches when you go to Florida for diving, but be sure to make a stop at the inland Crystal River.
You’ll be surprised by a huge local population of manatees who congregate at the site from November through March for the surprisingly warm waters.
Divers who appreciate an other-worldly setting will love this site that looks like it was plucked out of a mythical Fairy Tale. With waters that are almost neon green and large cascades of algae dripping below the surface, this site is beautifully and positively surreal.
No list of freshwater destinations would be complete without a mention of one of the Great Lakes. Tobermory is a few hours north of Toronto in Lake Huron and is a unique spot.
It’s renowned for crystal clear waters, reefs and sponges and incredible wooden schooner wrecks, like the 132’ ft. long Arabia. Just be sure you go during the height of summer, as the waters can be chilly especially at the massive depths, which can extend 120’ ft. to the mud bottom.
While diving is always an adventure, a freshwater dive trip might be just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate your love for exploring the open water. Grab a friend or two, and plan a trip to discover some of the coolest and most vast diving sites that are miles away from the sea.
Check out our travel options. If you live in the Dallas area, swing by our shop in Carrollton, and we’ll be happy to chat with you about our favorite freshwater dive spots.
Any other freshwater dive spots you can share? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/myfwcmedia/