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Best San Diego Diving Spots 2023

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There’s a lot to do around San Diego, including some of the best diving spots you will find anywhere in California. With choices that let you get up close to ocean life in the area, shipwreck dives, and options for various experience levels, it’s no wonder so many divers rank the site highly on their list of favorite destination dive trips.

La Jolla Cove & Shores

There is a lot to see in and around La Jolla, which means attractions for divers of practically any skill level. The way the land protects the cove from open ocean currents winds up fostering warm water at moderate depths, making it a comfortable excursion for less experienced divers. At the same time, the sheer variety of dive locations in and around the area provides diverse underwater experiences that can entice well-seasoned divers.

The cove’s most popular diving spot is accessible via a set of stairs leading down to a small beach, and you will find an offshore buoy in the most popular and accessible site for a descent into the kelp forest there. Garibaldi and lobster are among the major attractions, with several crustacean congregations at different points along the seabed.

On the other side of La Jolla, you will find the La Jolla shores diving locations that bring people from all over the area. Rays and guitarfish are common sightings in the kelp forest offshore during summer and early fall, and you will also be able to see starfish and corals. Summer divers are also likely to see female leopard sharks incubating their young. It is a common sight, with dozens in the area at any given time.

Wreck Alley in Mission Bay

Wreck Alley has the kind of name that screams out how great it is for divers, and it does not disappoint. This artificial reef is famous for the number of shipwrecks and the variety of sunken treasures that can be found in them. It is a challenging dive in places and not necessarily the best choice for beginners. Experienced divers will find it very rewarding, though.

The area’s two most prominent and often-visited wrecks are The Yukon, a Canadian destroyer, and the Coast Guard cutter named the Ruby E. The average depth in the area is 75 feet, so pay attention to your air supplies and the required decompression time.

Point Loma

The kelp forest at Point Loma is a big draw for divers because it is home to a lot of sea life. The waters are a bit colder because of the area’s exposure to the deep-water temperatures of the open ocean nearby, but that exposure also helps widen the diversity of the sea life found in the area. With depths ranging from 45 to 120 feet, it is enjoyable for divers of all skill levels, with seafloor life and fish.

  • Crabs, lobsters, and shellfish
  • Moray eels
  • Bass
  • Treefish
  • Kelpfish

This is in addition to the expected seafloor life, like sponges and tunicates that commonly live in and near kelp forests. That makes it one of the most compelling diving spots in the area for amateur marine biologists and other nature enthusiasts.


The Coronado Islands are a sea lion sanctuary and one of the best places for divers to spot these majestic creatures. There are several underwater sights to see in the area, including the lobster shack and the keyhole. The site includes Mexican territorial waters, so divers must know their position in the area. Still, luckily you can find excellent excursion guides by searching for diving spots near me when you are in San Diego. Give it a try.