The World's Best Shore Diving Destinations

If you love to go scuba diving, but don't want to spend hours on a dive boat (especially in rough water) just to reach the best coral reefs, check out any one of these islands, which offer spectacular scuba diving right from the shore. And since most resorts charge less for shore dives, chances are you'll end up saving some money along the way too. 

  • 01 of 07
    Scuba diver going down from surface, Bonaire, Caribbean Sea, Dutch Antilles
    ••• Wolfgang Poelzer/Getty Images

    Bonaire is a beautiful island that sits just off the coast of Venezuela. In actually, it is the peak of a submerged mountain that happens to have deep sloping reefs surrounding most of its shores. There are 86 markers along the beaches there that indicate where divers can simply walk off into the water and find spectacular coral within a few hundred yards. Image just wading out into the water, swimming for three or four minutes, and being in the middle of an underwater art museum in pristine condition. That's exactly what travelers can expect when they visit Bonaire.

  • 02 of 07
    Lady Elliot Island - Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
    ••• Bob Charlton/Getty Images

    Humans wearing scuba gear are in the minority during shore dives, but they can be spotted as part of the parade of sea life cruising in the multi-hued coral canyons just off Lady Elliot Island. This fragile coral cay is the southernmost in a line of interconnecting set of reefs that form Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park just off the coast of Queensland. It is known as a destination with incredibly clear water, an abundance of sea turtles, and excellent whale watching from June to October each year. 

  • 03 of 07
    Spotts Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, West Indies, Caribbean, Central America
    ••• Sergio Pitamitz / robertharding/Getty Images

    The Cayman Islands are famous for spectacular dive sites that are easily reachable by boat, but they also have some terrific shore dives that are available 24 hours a day. You can do night dives around the pier in George Town or instance, or visit "Babylon," an East End shore dive on the North Shore that is a favorite with the locals. Stingrays are amongst the most popular sea life in the Islands, with many visitors opting to swim with curious creatures which can sometimes be found not far from shore. 

  • 04 of 07
    High angle view of beach and sea, Westpunt, Curacao, Caribbean
    ••• Cultura RM Exclusive/RUSS ROHDE/Getty Images

    Another member of the ABC islands in the southwestern Caribbean, Curacao, is also surrounded by reefs, walls and even some sunken ships. You can walk off the beach of some resorts or into the water on some secluded beaches and see multi-hued corals, sunken ships and even airplane wrecks. Spotting brightly colored fish and even large barracuda are some of the most impressive draws, but don't miss the island's famed "Blue Edge," which is a dramatic drop off of the nearby sea shelf. It is an impressive and imposing sight to behold. 

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  • 05 of 07

    Oahu (Hawaii)

    Oahu Shore Diving
    ••• Shore diving in Oahu is spectacular. Cristo Vlahos via Wikimedia

    Hawaii has always been seen as great destination for divers, but not everyone know it is good for shore diving too. Head to Oahu for calm waters and easy shore diving along the island's southern side. Experienced divers can head to the north shore as well, where they'll find caves to explore  at Shark's Cove. Only attempt those dives during the summer months however, as that's when the swells are much calmer there too. That is an experience that is tough to top, and one that can only be found just off shore.  

  • 06 of 07

    East Bali (Indonesia)

    East Bali shore diving
    ••• Shore diving in East Bali includes the wreckage of the USS Liberity. San Andreas via WikiMedia

    The wreckage of the USS Liberty is just one of the great sites that can be reached by shore divers on East Bali island in Indonesia. Found just 25 meters from shore, and resting just 5-30 meters deep in the water, the sunken vessel is easily approachable at all times, including at night. Elsewhere in Indonesia is great for shore diving too, with hundreds of small islands for travelers to explore and plenty of natural wonders to discover. 

  • 07 of 07 is an online scuba diving community whose members love shore dives. The site lists dozens of dives primarily off shores around the U.S. and the Caribbean, but with suggestions from all over the world. If you're looking for opportunities to dive from the shore, it is a great resource to have at your disposal.