Top Ten Off-the-Rails Adventure

Scuba Diving in Miami, Florida
  |  Gorp.com

You might think all of Miami's wrecks are clustered around the bars of Miami Beach's Art Deco district. However, offshore lies one of the world's largest collections of diveable wrecks, downed not by forces of nature but as part of a government-sanctioned program to increase the diversity of undersea habitats. This "junking" of the ocean floor is all good news for the first-time or expert scuba diver. Many outfitted trips will take you from the Sunshine State's hedonistic heart to one of 50 diveable wrecks submerged about 45 minutes offshore. Such artificial reefs include the shells of decaying cargo ships, abandoned oil platforms, and crustacean-dotted army tanks, now home to moray eels, stingrays, turtles, and hordes of tropical fish. These "shipreefs" are anchored in formerly barren areas of the ocean floor, where they won't disrupt other natural, living reef systems. The best dives sites are to be found at Government Cut, Key Biscayne, and Haulover. More skilled divers might want to try a night dive, adding to the haunted atmosphere surrounding the wrecks and their reconstituted cargo.

Quick FAQs

Rail Info (www.amtrak.com/holiday.html for full details)

Route - Union Station, Washington, D.C., to Miami, FL

Line - Silver Service

Duration - 24 hours

Price - $176 to $474 (cheaper Monday to Wednesday and non-holidays; additional for coach seat sleepers)

Scenery - Pine trees, ocean views

Arrival transportation - Taxi ($30) or bus to Sunny Isles Beach (North Miami Beach)

Activity Info

Outfitter - H20 Scuba: 1-888-389-DIVE; www.h2oscuba.com

What to bring - Personal dive equipment, food, sunscreen, towel, and camera

Duration - 4 hours (two tank dives)

Price - $35 to $85 (more if you require equipment rental)


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