Little compares to the feeling you get when you introduce your child to the wonders of the underwater world for the first time. If you are among the lucky few that have decided to get the entire family certified as Open Water divers, you are probably always looking for the world's best family-friendly destinations to take your family diving. The best destinations for young divers include those that are not too remote and have shallow reefs, family-friendly resorts, and clear, calm, warm water.
Not all dive destinations are suitable for families with certified children. Some of the most popular dive destinations such as Cozumel, with its deeper reefs and grand wall drop-offs, are best left for more advanced divers. There are, however, plenty of destinations around the globe that offer pristine dive conditions perfect for the younger divers in your family. The following are some of the best destinations worldwide for families with child divers.
If you are looking for an exotic adventure for your family, look no further than Fiji. A strongly family-focused culture, Fijians are famous for their love of children. The locals will welcome your family with open arms and warm smiles. Not only is the diving in Fiji fantastic, but children will not get bored of going surfing and exploring waterfalls, sandy beaches, and rivers. Plus, evenings full of traditional song and dance are sure to entertain the kids. And with many all-inclusive resorts throughout the islands, you will have no shortage of resorts from which to choose.
Family diving in Bonaire is near the top of our list, not only because the dive sites are some of the best in the world, the water is warm and clear, and marine life abounds, but because most of the diving on this small island is shore diving. Boat diving is available, but shore diving is so prevalent that many resorts actually include a small truck with room rentals. The vast number of shore accessible dive sites makes diving with children a breeze and allows you to go at your own pace, something families with kids will fully appreciate. If you do choose to boat dive, the trips are short, and the water is always calm.
A world-class dive destination, Grand Cayman is at the top of every scuba diver's bucket list. With shallow, thriving reefs, clear, warm water, and long stretches of white sandy beaches, Grand Cayman is the perfect spot for family diving. The famous Oro Verde wreck is even accessible to young divers, sitting in only 60 feet of water. Grand Cayman is full of fun things to keep kids busy like the local turtle farm, beach bonfires, and the well-known Stingray City, where friendly stingrays get up close and personal as you snorkel among them.
If you are looking for luxury and family fun all wrapped into one, look no further than the Maldives. This string of picturesque islands strewn throughout the Indian Ocean is home to some of the most luxurious family-friendly resorts on the planet. There is no shortage of beach accessible house reefs, and boat dives are calm and comfortable. Diving the Maldives is one of the best places in the world to really wow your kids with large pelagic sightings like manta rays and whale sharks, while still diving in shallow, calm, safe conditions. We do have one warning: if you spoil your family with a dive vacation to the Maldives, all other diving they do may pale in comparison.
Sea turtles are high on any child diver's must-see list, and Maui is full of them. The commonly seen mystical green sea turtle populates these Pacific waters. They are so abundant it is not uncommon to see one on every single dive. Your kids will love following these graceful animals throughout the dive while observing coral, triggerfish, and butterflyfish galore. Topside, Maui offers more family-friendly excursions than almost any other destination on our list. Start your day biking down Mount Haleakala, then hike to spectacular waterfalls, visit impressive blowholes, go surfing, and end your day with a luau. You will never hear the words "I'm bored" from your kids on a family vacation to Maui.
Easy to get to, especially from the United States, the welcoming islands of the Bahamas sit like jewels scattered throughout the Caribbean Sea. Historical tales of pirates and treasure make visiting the Bahamas a mystical adventure for the younger members of your family. The Bahamas offers shallow, clear, warm, busy reefs to explore with an added sense of excitement for kids who think they may find a gold doubloon buried as they swim along the sandy bottom. Nassau, the capital of Bahamas, is especially kid-friendly with resorts such as the famous Atlantis, where your kids can play to their heart's content at the resort's own water park.
If you are looking to expose your children to rich culture along with fantastic diving, look no further than Thailand. An exotic, affordable dive destination, Thailand is perfect for divers with children in tow. Your money will go farther here than in some of the other destinations we have mentioned, plus the food is fantastic, and nothing beats the overabundance of sand, sun, and sea. Phuket is easily accessible from around the world with international flights daily. Expose your kids to nature at its finest by escaping the city crowds and making your way to Koh Tao. Not only will you have fantastic family dives amongst colorful coral reefs, but you can explore the dense jungle, spectacular waterfalls, or just lounge on the beautiful beaches. Thailand's family dive vacations are what adventure is all about.
Taking your family to the Florida Keys is probably the easiest of all family dive destinations if you are traveling from the United States. Daily International flights to Miami put you only a couple of hours' drive from Key Largo. For those that feel flying with kids is too draining, the Keys are easily accessible by road trip from anywhere in the USA. Diving in the Keys is all about shallow reefs, making it safe and easy to dive with children. After your family is done diving for the day, the Florida Keys are full of kid-friendly activities like bike tours, paddle boarding, jet skiing, parasailing, dolphin interactions, wildlife refuges, and much more. However, don't leave the Keys without trying a slice (or two) of the delicious dessert this area is famous for: key lime pie.
Wherever you decide to take your family diving next, be it nearby or on the other side of the globe, keep in mind that the best family dive destinations are not only about calm, warm water and sunny skies. Make sure you do your research to ensure that there are plenty of shallow dive sites, family-friendly resorts, and adventurous topside activities to keep your kids busy when they are not underwater blowing bubbles and chasing fish.
Find all important information of these dive destinations on MyDiveGuide.