While SCUBA diving in places like the Keys, Bahamas or Cayman Islands are much more scenic and colorful, one advantage of living the past 30+ years in South Florida is the ability to beach dive whenever you have some spare time.
In much of the United States, there is really not much to see underwater within swimming distance of the shoreline.
But in South Florida (starting approximately at the West Palm Beach and southward region), you can strap on your tanks and gear, swim out about 500 yards with a dive flag in tow and drop down to 20-25 feet and spend 90 minutes underwater enjoying the northern-most edges of the tropical reefs that become larger and more scenic as you head into the true tropics of the Caribbean.
So while it may not be as grand and colorful and a full blown dive vacation to the islands, it is nearby and cheap.
At a moments notice, you can throw your tanks and gear in the car — drive 30 minutes to the beach — and be exploring the reefs within the hour.
Figure $4 for an air fill and $6 for a slice of pizza and soda when you get back on land and it makes for a great inexpensive way to spend the day for $10.
This video shows what lies underwater just a few hundred yards offshore at Hollywood Beach Florida.
This beach is pretty much equidistant between Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach along the East Coast.
A much quieter and less populated beach area as the video reveals (although sadly, signs of urban sprawl are getting closer each year)
Duration : 0:14:24