It’s the summer dive season in the northern hemisphere, which for many of us means local diving and air travel to resort destinations. But, if you’ve not done it – or have not done it in awhile – there’s a third option that can get you underwater even more. As I learned to love while living in the midwest, it’s the diving road trip going by car (or truck, van etc.) beyond what you’d call “local” diving. In some locations there’s great destination diving with only 1-2 hours, but depending upon where you live, 4-6 hours may be reasonable and well worth the drive time.

Among its advantages, compared to other dive travel road trip diving is spontaneous – and in more than one way. You go on your schedule, and if you’re an hour behind, your car doesn’t leave without you. Short notice isn’t usually an issue – I’ve had friends say “hey, let’s go to (wherever)” on Wednesday and Friday afternoon we were well on our way. Beyond spur-of-the-moment departures, side trips, new dive sites and unpreplanned stops are fair game. My Florida road tips often detoured, like to the Florida springs coming back from the Keys, or jogged over to the coast (and even some lakes and rivers) just to see what there was to see above and below the surface. And it’s not just diving. Heading north to Monterey, California  from where I live now, for example, it’s hard not to stop every few kilometers/miles to take in the sights, wine country  or check out interesting restaurants.

A coral reef in the Florida keys

Dive road trips also offer convenience. Compared to air travel, you’re not leaving spare gear behind because of baggage limits, and you’re not worried about getting around at your destination. And here’s a tip – is your car or truck a bit small? No worries. Rent a bigger one. Depending on how far you go for how long, a hired vehicle may cost little more (sometimes less) than taking your own when you consider the mileage and maintenance you’re saving on your own car. Share costs with two or three other divers and road trips can be a surprisingly affordable  way to travel longer distances.

Another advantage of road trip diving is that it’s a good family option. Like camping? Camping and diving go together lots of places. Amusement parks? Swing by for a couple days inbound or outbound from diving. Road trip for the kid’s band, team sport or class outing? More likely than not you can add diving – remember diving is almost everywhere, like some mentioned in this blog.

Like a lot of options in diving, however, the main reason to go road trip diving is that it is fun. Some of my fondest memories are traveling with friends and family and the sights, experiences and time I’ve shared on the road. Go with the right people, plan plenty of stops, and be flexible, and you’ll have them too. And if you don’t know where to begin, contact your PADI Dive Center. In many areas, coordinated road dive trips are SOP for them and they’ll love having you along. But either way, don’t let summer slip by without getting out there.

Seek adventure. Save the ocean.

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

Share This

Related Posts