Unveiling Key Biscayne’s Underwater Marvels with Diver’s Paradise
I never quite grasped Ariel’s desire to live on land when her underwater realm dazzled with vibrant colors, enchanting aquatic creatures and the joy of effortlessly floating amidst it all. When the team at Diver’s Paradise in Key Biscayne extended an invitation for someone from Tampa Magazines to join in one of their diving adventures, I gladly accepted, ready to embrace my inner mermaid.
Located just minutes from Miami, Diver’s Paradise caters to divers of all skill levels, from certified to aspiring, snorkeling to scuba-capable for the day; the organization can accommodate it all.
With approximately 25 dive sites on rotation, over 75 wrecks and numerous reefs, any expedition with Diver’s Paradise promises to be unforgettable. And it’s not just tourists who think so. Film crews with National Geographic, 60 Minutes and CNN have chosen its boats to capture underwater scenes. Even a few undisclosed celebrities have entrusted the Diver’s Paradise crew to guide them on their underwater adventures.
Moreover, it’s fostered a partnership with the nearby University of Miami, providing boat charters for coral restoration projects, Rescue a Reef and shark-tagging programs, the latter of which I witnessed as I arrived for my schedule snorkel time.
Though my initial plan was to embark on a scuba diving trip, I quickly learned that for a diving weekend in Miami, PADI E-Learning completion and necessary paperwork are prerequisites, including a doctor’s approval note if required. As it was a Saturday, I seamlessly transitioned to a snorkel trip while waiting for the shark-tagging group to disembark.
In the meantime, Ben, my guide for the day and Diver’s Paradise instructor, gave me a tour of the center. The facility boasts nearly 200 tanks for divers and offers rental equipment such as fins, snorkel masks, wetsuits, and more. It also provides a small pool for classes, ensuring students feel confident before venturing into the open water.
Once the research team docked, we boarded the nearby boat for a roughly 40-minute journey to Key Biscayne National Park. Diver’s Paradise holds the exclusive permit to bring divers into the park, a certification obtained just this year. The ride provided a refreshing breeze against the Miami heat, and Ben shared his wealth of knowledge of the area, pointing out Stiltsville, historic wood stilt houses once used as an outpost for smugglers during prohibition, and the Miami shoreline view featured in Lonely Island’s music video for “I’m on a Boat.”
Despite not being able to dive, I lived vicariously through the other divers, absorbing their stories of what they saw below a snorkeler’s range of view at the two designated sites, Brewster Canyon and Fowey Rock Lighthouse. I also enthusiastically watched the underwater footage they graciously took for me, revealing the fish and reefs existing just out of my reach.
The rocky waves made sea sickness inevitable, but the expert crew had us covered with water, ginger chews and insights on the best spot to sit for those, like myself, still developing their sea legs. However, the return journey made my temporary nausea worthwhile as we witnessed the sun paint the sky pink and set over the Miami cityscape.
Listening to the divers’ tales left me eager to return for a proper scuba dive to witness the beauty beneath my feet. Don’t worry, Flounder, I’ll see you soon!
Holiday in the Sun
Dreaming of a holiday in the sun? Why not plan a staycation for an easy getaway that will feel worlds away. After all, a trip to Miami isn’t complete without a stop in Key Biscayne, just a short – and gorgeous – drive away.
From sunny beaches to deep sea diving, Key Biscayne offers all the allure of Florida on a tiny piece of land. Best of all, there is something for everyone, whether you are traveling alone, as a couple or a family, everyone will be entertained this holiday season.
Where to stay:
For that quintessential sunny Florida experience, it doesn’t get much better than a hotel in Key Biscayne — a small island located off Miami with swaying palms and long stretches of beautiful white sand beaches. The best hotels in Key Biscayne lean into luxury and generally have numerous amenities — making this as appropriate a destination for a family break as it is for couples.
Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne is a luxury resort set along its own stretch of private beach. Elegant rooms have stately décor, large windows and private balconies that offer coastal views. Escape to a luxury Miami Beach resort that exudes the classic charm of South Florida. Located on an exclusive five-mile-long barrier island, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne is minutes from dynamic downtown Miami.
Beach Haus Key Biscayne comprises a collection of one- and two-bedroom apartments. The chic minimalist units — complete with fully equipped kitchens — are a great option for a home away from home for those on longer stays. Best yet, there is a large pool and the beach is a stroll away.
What to do:
Key Biscayne has terrific beaches and the added appeal of being sandwiched between two major parks: Crandon Park to the north and Bill Baggs Florida State Park to the south — named by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the best beaches in the nation.
While South Florida’s gorgeous turquoise waters are a sight to behold, you haven’t seen anything until you have gone beneath the surface. Biscayne National Park’s snorkeling is some of the nation’s best — complete with colorful coral, shipwrecks, sea life and more waiting to be discovered under the surface.
Not sure where to start? Enter Diver’s Paradise. For more than 40 years, Diver’s Paradise has worked with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) to build scuba programs that teach equality, ecology and safety.
The dive center is a family-run business, owned by son Andrew Jarnryd and father Erik Jarnryd.
Diver’s Paradise is located minutes outside of downtown Miami and Miami Beach. Showcasing an island atmosphere of seclusion and relaxation in Crandon Marina, Key Biscayne, the scuba center features daily diving and snorkeling experiences to the local reefs and wrecks. After all, experiencing nature is on everyone’s list of what to do in Key Biscayne.
Looking to make diving a regular part of your life? Diver’s Paradise is the only state-licensed scuba diving education school in Miami and the surrounding area. The higher learning curriculum covers the PADI programs and courses that scuba divers need to become certified professionals — making it a great gift for outdoor enthusiasts who want more than a one-off dive experience.
Key Biscayne also offers a nearby coastal barrier reef and the only federally recognized underwater archaeological trail in the United States, all of which are major draws for people looking for what to do in Key Biscayne. Biscayne has shipwrecks and lighthouses, mangroves channels and pristine coral reefs, abandoned ocean villages and vibrant wildlife. For those with a keen eye for mystery, visiting this oft-overlooked, 270-square-mile ocean paradise with Diver’s Paradise is the ideal way to experience the aquatic beauty of South Florida.
So what are you waiting for? Book your holiday in the sun today. To learn more, visit www. keydivers.com
Beyond the Beach:
Perched at the southern tip of Florida’s Gold Coast, Miami is the ideal spot for a vacation loaded with sun, sand and plenty of outdoor entertainment. This paradise of interconnected oceanfront cities will satisfy active and leisure travelers with an abundance of water sports, and golf.
While Miami is famous for its miles, Key Biscayne, is a hidden gem found just minutes outside of downtown Miami—that offers an island atmosphere of seclusion and relaxation.
Key Biscayne’s gorgeous, white sand beaches invite you to relax under tall, swaying palm trees and turquoise waters summon you to explore another world.
With the beach and the city at your fingertips, it’s easy to get lost in the seemingly endless choices. However, there are some incredible experiences to keep you busy when you’re not soaking up the sunshine.
For those looking for the ultimate adventure, why not take your trip to new heights with deep sea diving and an amphibious seaplane. Intrigued? So were we.
If you’d rather your pristine coral reefs and pelagic action came with a luxurious private seaplane, and a private charter, you’re in luck.
Visitors and locals alike can now see Florida in a whole new way on an exhilarating seaplane prior to their deep dive excursion or snorkeling tour. Simply book a private charter and they’ll come pick you up from your hotel and fly you to the marina. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t.
Ready to satisfy the whims and wishes of locals and visitors alike looking for a quick getaway, this package is synonymous with luxury.
From ‘bespoke diving’ experiences, to seaplanes and private charters, it’s safe to say this trip will be a memorable one.
Experience Luxury and Adventure with Diver’s Paradise and Tailwind Air
Tailwind Takes Key Biscayne
Are you ready for a vacation? Luxe Life with Derek Z has a find for you. Diver’s Paradise + Tailwind Air is showcasing an island atmosphere of seclusion and relaxation in Crandon Marina, Key Biscayne, the scuba center features daily diving and snorkeling experiences to the local reefs and wrecks as well as luxury private charters for those looking to plunge into adventurers’ paradise.