The 15 Best Scuba Diving Spots in California

By submitting your email you agree to receive communication from Forty Meters. We promise not to spam you, and you have the ability to unsubscribe at any time.
The 15 Best Scuba Diving Spots in California

If you’ve never been scuba diving before, California is the perfect place to start. The water is clear and warm year-round with many different types of fish to see.

You’ll be surprised by how large the kelp forests are and how many sea lions there are here too! There’s even a chance that you might spot one of the state’s beautiful orcas while you’re out on your dive excursion.

And if it happens to be summertime then make sure not to miss the Giant Kelp forest – they grow fastest in summer when their growth rate can reach up to ten feet per day!

Before checking out the below list, also have a look at the latest California scuba diving laws so that you’re fully aware of the legal side of things (always good to take note).


15 of the best places to scuba dive in California (CA)

1. Wreck Alley

Address: Mission Beach, San Diego, CA

This is by far the most interesting dive site in California. There is so much to explore here with a total of 8 underwater wrecks 6 of which were purposely sunk. At around 100ft you will discover a 366ft long intact Canadian Destroyer.

All these wrecks offer great hiding places for sea life so you never know what you might discover. 


2. Arroyo Burrow Park

Address:  3019-3101 Cliff Dr, Santa Barbara, CA, 93109

This saltwater shore-accessible dive site is great for both advanced divers and those who are looking to expand their diving skills in open water. Sea life such as rays and crabs have been spotted at this site as well as reefs ready to explore.

There are lots of restaurants nearby that are all perfect for something to eat after a long diving day. 


3. Shark Dive Adventures – The Farallones

Address: Farallon Islands, San Francisco, CA

Shark Dive Adventures are an expeditions company who offer day trips across the world including The Farallones in California. This site is home to great white sharks, and you don’t need any diving experience to go on the trip but the more comfortable you are with diving the more you will get out of the trip.  


4. Baldwin Beach

Address: Hwy 89, South Lake Tahoe, CA

This freshwater shore-accessible dive site has a maximum depth of 81-90ft. According to past divers there is lots of odd treasures in the water that has dropped off boats over the years.

This site has parking although it isn’t free. As well as picnic tables and bathrooms. 


5. Anacapa Island

Address: Channel Islands National Park, Anacapa, CA

If you want to see plenty of sea life, then this site is for you. Anacapa Island is a small volcanic island that is home to a great saltwater boat-accessible dive site. Previous divers have reported seeing sea lions in this area, an opportunity that doesn’t come along often. But this site isn’t the best for beginners as it does get quite cold. 


6. Eco Dive Centre

Address: 4027 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City (West Los Angeles), CA, 90230

This place is perfect for all things scuba diving. If you want to learn how to dive you can take beginner open water classes here, as well as private lessons and refresher courses. For the more advanced divers there are also various qualifications you can achieve at this school. They also offer day trips to various dive sites which are chosen based on the weather conditions and visibility on the day. 


7. BeachHopperII

Address: 250 Figueroa Street, Monterey, CA, 93940

This saltwater boat accessible dive site has a maximum depth of over 150ft. This makes it more suited to well experienced advanced divers. The boat can carry up to 12 divers and has food and drink as well as a bathroom with a hot shower, simple luxuries that most diving sites do not have. There is plenty of sea life to discover at this site. 


8. Aliso Beach Park

Address: Laguna Beach, CA

This saltwater shore accessible dive site is the perfect place to go if you want a day of diving. There is plenty of places to have a picnic nearby. This site is full of plants and is a very beautiful place to dive. But it’s not ideal for beginners and you should not swim anywhere near the reefs as it is really dangerous and has a really strong current. 


9. Zach’s Scuba Shack Scuba Tour

Address: La Jolla Cove, San Diego, CA

If you are looking to have a guided tour of one of California’s popular coves, then this dive experience is great. You do have to have a scuba certification to do this experience as it does included diving in kelp forest and amongst sea life such as Garibaldi fish and sea lions. 


10. Avalon Banks

Address: Santa Catalina, CA

If you are a major thrill-seeking diver then this saltwater boat accessible dive site is for you. This site has a maximum depth of over 150ft and gives you the opportunity to witness blue and mako sharks. It’s safe to say this place is dangerous and should never be explored by beginners. 


11. Angel Wings

Address: Monterey, CA

This saltwater boat accessible dive site will be a great place for the intermediate level divers who want to advance their skills even more, as it has a maximum depth of 81-90ft. This site is home to some essential amenities including airfills and bathrooms. 


12. Lover’s Point

Address: 631 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA, 93950

This site is great for beginners as it has calm water and good visibility even in the shallow water. Starfish, crabs, and small jellyfish are the sea life that is more commonly spotted at this site. 


13. Arches

Address: Anacapa Island, Channel Islands, Ventura County, CA

This saltwater boat accessible dive site is the perfect place to go if you’re a beginner or if you just want to go for an easy training dive. The maximum depth is 41-50ft and there is plenty of sea life out there to explore 


14. Aferica Cove

Address: Catalina, CA

This sandy saltwater boat accessible dive site is perfect for beginner divers who want to get more diving practice in. It has a maximum depth of 36-40ft and there is a chance you could see some sea life, but this is more of a practice site, so there won’t be too much to see.


15. Big Rock

Address: CA

This saltwater shore accessible dive site is home to a large reef. This site can be a great place to dive but only when the conditions are right, so it is a bit of a chance place to dive. When the tide is low this site is too rocky.