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Destin v Pensacola

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Bookmon, Sep 22, 2019.

  1. Bookmon

    Bookmon Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Alabama
    62
    25
    8
    looking for input, personal preference concerning these two Florida sites. Any input greatly appreciated.
     
  2. AustinV

    AustinV Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: NoVA
    397
    185
    43
    Pensacola has a ton of good sites, including the Oriskany. I have never been to Destin. Panama City Beach has good diving as well.
     
  3. RyanT

    RyanT ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
    2,043
    1,839
    113
    What kind of diving are you looking to do? The reefs off Destin tend to be a little more accessible. There are several in the 80' range that are not too far off shore. If you want to dive the reefs out of Pensacola, you'll have a longer boat ride. Its been a long time since I dove the Destin reefs, but I seem recall that they were a little nice then Pensacola's reefs. If you want to dive wrecks though, Pensacola has a much greater variety.
     
  4. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    13,673
    3,456
    113
    For the charters I've taken (inshore) in both places, I would rate them pretty equal. Destin has the Jetty and Marler Bridge (rte. US98) shore dives, so I'd say shore diving in Destin is better. There are some man-made structures on the Gulf and Bay side (I believe) in Pensacola.
    In PCB, the St. Andrews Park jetty dive beats Destin/P'cola, providing good viz.
     
  5. Bookmon

    Bookmon Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Alabama
    62
    25
    8
    Thanks bunches! Yes, PCB St. Andrews jetties are very nice.
    Plan to do the Navarre Sanctuary.
    Boat dive something on a day. That's why asking. Not 100% sold on a wreck. But, not wanting too long of a boat ride.
     
  6. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    13,673
    3,456
    113
    If you mean the structures on in the Bay side, I've been there in winter. Not much to look at that time of year--fish wise, etc. They are in 15-20' of water I think. But there may be some in the Gulf side off the beach as well.
     
  7. Bookmon

    Bookmon Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Alabama
    62
    25
    8
    I am thinking beach Gulf side. They remind me of concrete mushrooms.
     
  8. topher10

    topher10 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Baton Rouge, LA
    75
    22
    8
    I dont have a lot of experience with Destin or a ton of diving experience total, so this is mostly a comparison of Pensacola/Orange Beach/GulfShores vs. Panama City from a lifetime of beach vacations and more recent dive trips. In my experience, the farther you get from the Mississippi River, the better the water quality/vis. So on average PCity is better than Pensacola. But on any given day its unpredictable.

    I think the near/mid shore 2-tank boat dives in PCity are excellent. Not too expensive, not too long, often combine a wreck with a Bridge Span, usually vis is pretty good, nice operations, boats, etc. So for an easy, 'vacation' style dive, I would personally choose PCity all things being equal. However, I have done really nice dives that are similar out of Pensacola, and I am trying to plan a quick fall trip there now (its a shorter drive). So that is not putting Pensacola down.

    Contrastingly, Pensacola/GulfShores has nice deeper wreck dives. Most notably the Oriskany, but also the Lulu and New Venture. These are very nice dives on very large ships in deeper water, and the vis tends to be nicer. I wouldn't argue with a person saying that these dives are better than anything PCity has to offer. However, the boat ride is longer and the price is higher.

    So, in my opinion, each place has certain unique things to offer, depending on what you are looking for. This is mostly from a boat dive perspective.
     

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