arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin
San Diego's

Snorkeling & Scuba Diving

Immerse your self in an underwater adventure

Adventures filled with sights and aquatic wonders

What makes San Diego scuba diving and snorkeling so unique is the kelp. Kelp can grow as much as 30 inches per day and forms an undersea forest with an overhead canopy. Just like a terrestrial forest, the kelp is a teeming three-dimensional realm, extending from the sea floor to the surface, and to dive the kelp is to soar weightlessly through that undersea forest. Garibaldi fish, colorful nudibranchs, bat rays, sea lions and numerous indigenous species all make the kelp forest their home.

Gearing Up

San Diego has a central role in the relatively short history of diving, with many key dive equipment manufacturers, underwater photographers and filmmaking pioneers based here in town. So it's no surprise that you'll find world class dive shops and dive instructors, ready to help you gear up and get down in the water. In fact, you can start in a classroom on a Friday evening and be diving in the ocean by Sunday morning. Experienced divers can rent gear, fill tanks and book dive boat charters to San Diego's local dive sites and far-flung offshore islands.

Dive Sites

Geographically speaking, the more rugged and rocky the coastline, the better the diving, so the most popular dive sites are centered around La Jolla and Point Loma. La Jolla Cove is perhaps the best place for shore diving with an easy entry point, a short swim to the kelp, and abundant marine life, due to the longstanding protection of the underwater ecological park. A must for adventurous divers is San Diego's Wreck Alley and its star attraction, the Yukon, a decommissioned 366-foot Canadian Destroyer intentionally sunk to form an artificial reef and recreational dive site. Charter dive boats based out of Mission Bay offer half-day trips to the Yukon and other local wrecks. To experience the very best of Southern California diving, consider a dive adventure to the islands, where the water is clear and blue and the wildlife always seems larger than life.


Summer and fall months are the most reliable for diving in San Diego, but select days in the winter and spring can often be the best. The water temperature varies drastically - from the high fifties to the mid-seventies. A 7mm full wetsuit with hood, booties and gloves are standard fare for scuba divers, with a 3mm suit recommended for even casual summertime snorkelers. Similarly, the conditions can range from flat calm to dangerously rough, and the visibility from 100 feet to practically nothing. The local dive shops and lifeguards can provide dive reports and direct you to the best sites based on the current conditions.

Browse the articles below to find out more about scuba diving in San Diego and to find scuba diving charter companies.

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Related Articles and Features

Find Scuba Diving & Snorkeling in San Diego


Scuba Diving


Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up




Follow Us


English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish