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7 top American scuba diving destinations

scuba diver with fish, coral

Photo: kradk/Flickr

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Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu is the epicenter of Hawaii's tourism industry. The state's most populous island, it holds a majority of the resorts and most of the islands' tourist traffic. However, once you head offshore and drop below the waves of the Pacific, the tourist hordes disappear. In fact, with its wealth of dive shops and resorts that offer scuba tours, Oahu is an ideal place for both novices and experienced divers. The sheer number of dive sites (from wrecks to reefs) means that it is possible to enjoy the social scene on the sands of Waikiki and still be only a 30-minute boat ride away from quiet, pristine surroundings. Oahu is also an ideal destination for wreck diving as a number of World War II-era planes and ships sit mostly intact in the waters around the island.