Explore the Depths: Scuba Diving in San Diego


Scuba diving, short for ‘self-contained underwater breathing apparatus,’ is a thrilling underwater adventure that allows you to explore the mesmerizing depths of the ocean. In the same way that San Diego is a playground above water, the Pacific is a playground below water. In San Diego, the average temperature in August is 69 degrees, and the coldest it gets is 57 degrees in February. This means that divers don’t have to deal with icy water. Also, the waters off San Diego have many places to go and things to see for people who dive for fun.


The beautiful Scripps and La Jolla Canyons can only be seen by swimmers in San Diego. Or the 10-mile-long, 3-mile-wide San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park, where the depth drops from the beach to 900 feet? Or the enormous fields of kelp off Point Loma? San Diego even has its own marine Ecological Reserve, a 533-acre area near La Jolla Cove where fishing and boats are prohibited. In 1975 and 1979, mining rocks were dumped into 70 feet of water in the park to make fake reefs. This gave fish and swimmers a beautiful place to live.

Since there are a lot of former Navy SEALS and divers in the San Diego area, many experienced workers have spent a lot of time in the local waters. They will tell you that the best beach dives are along the coast of La Jolla, the center of shore diving in San Diego. From Mission Bay to San Diego Bay, boats leave almost every day for many of the best dive spots in the area that can’t be reached from the shore. Trip prices range from $50 for a half-day dive off a local boat to around $300 for a shark-diving trip into Mexican waters. No matter where you dive in San Diego, it’s a fun trip with many things to see and unique items in the water.

Scuba Diving

Cost of Scuba Diving in San Diego

Beginner prices for scuba diving in San Diego start at USD 170. You don’t need to know how to dive before these deals. People must be at least 13 years old and learn how to swim. These dives take 4 hours, and they start with a 2-hour class on the basics of scuba diving. After this, there is a one-hour short dive where people can get used to the tools and learn how to communicate and send messages underwater. Then, the trainees can do an open-water dive with the teacher, which can go as deep as 25 feet. As part of the experience, you can see the rich sea life and unique underwater landscape off the coast of San Diego.

People must take classes and do multiple dives with trained teachers for certification. The essential qualification starts at USD 495 for group lessons and includes four dives with a teacher in open water. 

Certified divers can see famous dive spots off the coast of San Diego for as little as $100 for a single tank dive. On the other hand, Wreck Alley and Islas Coronados packages are much more expensive because divers have to take a dive boat to get there.

Best Diving Schools in San Diego

California law says that scuba operators must have a license to dive without a guide. The following organizations recognize these certificates as valid: Scuba Schools International (SSI), Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), Rebreather Association of International Divers (RAID), National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), and Scuba Schools International (SSI).

The licenses help schools and groups determine a diver’s skill level, ranging from the essential Open Water Certification to the much more advanced Divemaster rank. Most dive schools and tour companies will want to see your Scuba Certification Card as proof that you meet the standards.

Here is a list of a few diving schools in San Diego that can help you start scuba diving.

  • San Diego Scuba Center
  • Dive California
  • Scuba Diving San Diego
  • Scuba San Diego
  • San Diego Scuba Guide
Scuba Diving

When San Diego is Best for Scuba Diving

Between August and October is the best time for scuba diving in San Diego. During these months, the sea is calm, and visibility is suitable for dives, so it’s a great time to explore the marine wonders of San Diego. On the top, the water temperature is between 59°F and 72°F, and it gets more relaxed as you go deeper. The diving experience in San Diego is also a unique one because the weather on the top is so good.

Winter is not a good time to go scuba diving because the water currents are powerful and can be challenging for even the most experienced dives.

6 Best places to go diving in San Diego

Most people think of scuba diving as something you do off the coast of La Jolla. However, a few other places in San Diego are great for scuba diving. 

La Jolla Shores Canyon

La Jolla Shores is a beach that slopes into the Pacific Ocean. Along the sand shores, swimmers can find rays and angel fish. At the hill’s end is a vast 600-foot drop into the Canyon. One can be amazed by the beautiful marine environment that has grown here. Octopii, crabs, and a wide variety of nudibranchs live in grasses and hard reefs.

Giant Kelp Forest and La Jolla Cove

Undoubtedly, one of the most exquisite locations for diving off the coast is La Jolla Cove. Sea lions may be there to meet you when you walk in, and they may even play with you. Then, at about 35 feet, divers will reach a beautiful green kelp forest that will take your breath away. Divers can also see horn sharks breeding and the Garibaldi, California’s state fish. On the rough bottom, many crabs and octopuses will blow your mind.

Wreck Alley

Wreck Alley is a world-renowned scuba diving spot. It is a few miles off the coast of San Diego. Eight ships that sank in the alley are now at rest there. The HMCS Yukon and the Ruby E. Coast Guard boat are the most well-known. The quick changes in the current make these wreck dives hard. But you can still see the impacts of these ships. Anemones and California scorpionfish still cover the Yukon’s background, bunkers, red gorgonians, and pink corydalis. Resembling the Rose Bowl, surround the Ruby E.

Point Loma

Point Loma is much farther inland than La Jolla. Its calmer and ocean waters add more nutrients to the marine environment, making it a unique mix. The dive goes as deep as 120 feet down. Divers can see a wide range of colors because there are many kinds of nudibranchs, Garibaldi, and kelpfish, all of which live in the kelp forests.

Marine Room Reef Dives

This dive is great for people who don’t dive often but love marine life. Aside from the schools of anchovies and mackerels, baby seals are playing in the area. In the fall, you can also see grey whales on their way north or south. Spiny kelp and sheep crabs, which blend in with the rocks on the bottom, live on the seafloor.

Islas Coronados

Islas Coronados is 20 miles off San Diego’s coast and can only be reached by boat. Divers can swim with sea lions and harbor seals here. The sea lion colony on the island is one of the most active, and even though the dive is only 40 feet deep, swimmers get their money’s worth by watching these animals do funny things.

Scuba Diving


San Diego scuba diving is an excellent way to discover the diverse underwater environment of Southern California. It’s a must-visit location for divers of all skill levels, with various diving locations, amenities, and opportunities to interact with marine life. Remember to prioritize safety, respect the environment, and enjoy the breathtaking experiences of San Diego’s underwater realm.


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