California has a very long coast with many diving opportunities. Here are some of the best sites to explore in the Golden State.
Italian Gardens, Catalina Island
Long Point State Marine Reserv
Besides epic wine mixers like in the comedy Stepbrothers, Catalina Island offers a beautiful marine protected area to dive around. Here, thick kelp and many boulders are featured. Commonly, divers will sight rare giant sea bass that can weigh up to 400 pounds.
Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve
Laguna Beach was made famous from he self titled reality show, but it also has fantastic diving opportunities, but the most popular is called Shaw’s Cove. This site provides an exciting outer reed with plenty of colorful nudibranchs, reef fish, and gorgonian sea fans.
This dive will feel more remote in the wilderness and is recommended for more experienced divers. The reef has distinctive features like pinnacles, arches, and ledges covered with vibrant anemones, nudibranchs and cowries. In addition, it is easy to spot reef fish such as kelp bass, shepherd, and if sometimes a white sea bass or yellow tail. Other exciting spotings of sea lions and harbor seals happen often.
The Farallon Islands
Southeast Farallon Island State Marine Reserve
More than just underwater ecotourism, the internationally recognized Farollones host a wide variety of birds, marine mammals, whales, sea lions, great white sharks. In addition to diving at this lively site, special boat tours are available for whale watching, or cage diving with great white sharks.
Terrane Resort/ Old Marineland
Point Vincente State Marine Conservation Are
Great for diving and snorkeling alike, a gorgeous shallow reef and a green kelp forrest are home to sea urchins, octopus, garibaldi, anemones, and many fish species.
La Jolla Cove
Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve
Just above San Diego, beautiful La Jolla is well known in Southern California for its sea lions and leopard sharks. It is possible to dive in the sheltered kept forrest with lobsters, octopus, garibaldi and many fish at this sight.
Uncap (Island) State Marine Conservation Area
Off of college town, Santa Barbara, the northern Channel Islands is a protected marine site to preserve the wonderful wildlife in the area. Scientist observe the abundant marine life here, conducting research. You will likely encounter shepherd, kelp bass, and rock wrasse. These fish are curious so you can get pretty close while swimming through the large kelp forrest.
Point Lobos, Carmel
Point Lobos State Marine Reserve
As this has become one of California’s most famous dive sites, divers must reserve their visit ahead of time because there is a limit on the number of visitors to help preserve the spectacular dive site. The wait may be an annoyance, however, the result is a better quality dive. It has been protected from harvest and fishing for a long time, so there is a fantastic display of of diverse wildlife in the area. Playful sea lions and sea otters are fun to dive with, and finding wolf eels, lingcod, colorful anemones and nudibranchs are always satisfying.