Top 5 Family Vacation Dive Sites
Holiday with spouse and kids?
And looking to get some diving done?
Here’s a Top 5 of locations to make both the diver and the family happy.
Choosing the right location for your holiday is key to keeping everyone happy, divers and non-divers alike.
Make sure that the location offers both interesting diving, and also caters to the desire of non-diving family members.
Consider the time commitment required for diving.
Even if a location offers great diving and good land-based activities, in a number of locations the diving is fairly inaccessible and requires long day-trips by land or sea.
This will keep you away from early morning to late at night, and your family is likely to miss you.
So choose places where diving is convenient and it is inspiring, and make a good plan for the amount of diving versus family time, to ensure everyone is happy.
Below are 5 locations that offer this.
1. Egypt; Sharm el-Sheik or Hurghada
Egypt, in spite of the recent unrest, is still a very safe country for traveling, and a perfect fit for divers traveling with non-diving family members.
A few locations in Egypt are particularly suited, Sharm el-Sheik and Hurghada, though El Gouna, a bit north of Hurghada, is an up-and-coming location as well.
The weather is good most of the year. The diving in the Red Sea is amazing. And between hotel and resort facilities and sites to be seen, there are plenty of activities to keep the rest of the family happy and entertained.
If you’re looking to dive Thistlegorm, the WWII wreck, it is best done from Hurghada, as a trip to the wreck from Sharm el-Sheik is a very long day trip, often from 5 am to 8 pm, as it takes around 3 hours to sail there. From Hurghada, it is only a 30-45 minutes trip.
The Thistlegorm is among the top 10 best dive sites in the world so it’s definitely worth a visit.
Note: when doing land-based excursion, check the authorities’ web sites to make sure the area you’re heading to is safe. Especially northern Sinai has seen some troubles lately. The British Foreign Government’s Travel Advice is quite good.
One of the cheapest countries in Asia to travel to and stay in, Thailand has become of the major tourist countries of the region. Known for being a fantastic place for kids, the locals are among the friendliest people on Earth, and the local cuisine, at least the less-spicy versions, are very child-friendly.
Sites abound, from Bangkok to temples to jungle treks.
The diving, in particular around Koh Samui and Koh Tao is world-renowned for water clarity and temperature.
Read everything there is about Scuba Diving in Thailand.
3. Amalfi Coast, Italy
Italy, and Italian food, is always a hit among children, and non-diving adults will enjoy the people, climate, geography, and history of the country. Amalfi is home to Napoli and the pizza, to Pompeii and Herculaneum, and a host of other interesting sites.
The diving in this area is also very, very good, with the entire coastline dotted with a rocky coast and plenty of caves.
Check out which Italian site made the top 10 of the best Diving in Europe
Malta is a diver’s paradise, in particular, if you’re into caves and wrecks. On the landside of things, hotels and resorts abound, the island has a rich history, steeped in crusades and World War II, and the city of Valletta offers both medieval mystery and great shopping. The small, neighboring island of Gozo is much more rural and feels almost like a Greek island before the tourists.
In the south part of Malta, you’ll find the oldest building structures in the world, predating Stonehenge and the Pyramids.
Read the full guide to diving in Malta
Shopping, world-class beaches, Kennedy Space Center, and Disney World for the kids. Add to that year-round summer temperatures and good diving, and you’ve got a perfect holiday destination.
If you’re a highly advanced diver, there’s plenty of cave diving to be done, but the shoreline offers tropical waters for non-tech divers. For wreck lovers, there’s the USS Vanderbilt, a US Navy ship deliberately sunk as a diving wreck, and one of the largest in the world.
Both the largest US-based dive organizations, PADI and NAUI have their HQ’s in Florida, which speaks of the Sunshine State’s diving pedigree.
Traveling with non-divers doesn’t have to be problematic, as long as everyone has each other’s’ interests in mind, and time is allowed for both individual pursuits and family time. And the locations above offer plenty for all.
Do you travel with non-divers?
How do you travel with your family? What is your best diver tip for traveling with a non-diver? Share it in the comments below!
I have heard that there are a lot of amazing diving spots in Turkey. Next summer I am travelling to there and hoping to dive in different parts of Turkey. Do you have any bad diving experiences in Turkey?
Started diving again last year with eldest son. We stayed in Gozo, very short ferry from Malta. Loads of easy close to shore dives. My eldest son dived with me and wife and two youngest we’re fine at Villa pool, beach or just going round this tiny great island.
We dived with Bubbles Dive Centre, would highly recommend them for dive courses and accompanied dives. We did Blue Hole, Cathedral Cave amongst others.
Gozo people were very friendly, welcoming and soooooooo chilled . I did loads of research and decided on Gozo for the amount of beginner dives, that you could get to easily, which meant you were only away for a 3 – 4 hours from rest of family at the most.
Hope this helps.
In May, the waters in Europe are just warming up, so to get water that isn’t cold, you’ll want to go as far south as you can. Malta is a reasonable choice, seeing as it is the southern-most point in Europe. Greece and Mallorca can also offer up decent temperatures that time of year. Depending on what you definition of “Europe” is, the Canary Islands are a good choice. Warm weather and water year round, and the chance of some pretty nice pelagic life. They’re technically Europe, though the islands are off the west coast of Africa.
Definitely shouldn’t go anywhere where you can’t get travel insurance! Good news is that things have been quieting down quite a bit in Egypt, so hopefully you’ll be able to go in no too long.
As for Malta, from a diving and beach perspective, I’d stay up towards the northern part, such as Mellieha, which has a great beach that is very suitable for kids, and a nice town area, too. Quite touristy area, but very convenient. The best beach is Golden Bay, and there are hotels there, but its a bit more remote.
Diving-wise, the best sites require Advanced Open Water or similar, and the top ones include Cirkewwa, in particular the P29 Patrol Boat wreck, The Blue Lagoon, and Um-Faroush. A bit of a hidden gem is Anchor Bay, which offers a great shallow dive, and an easy cave dive. Only do the cave dive with an instructor if you’re not certified cave diver.
Hi Thomas, thanks for a great article, the answer and the beach advice for Malta. We are looking at hotels now so it’s very helpful! You seem to know Malta very well, any specific dive spots that is a must there?
I’m quite sure we can’t go for Egypt as the foreign affairs still don’t recommend travel there, and therefore we can’t get travel insurance. And the conflicts are still a bit too much for my taste. I would love to dive the red sea and see the pyramids, but it has to wait until all is settled.
Yes, Malta is quite a good family dive destination. Do note that there are very few sandy beaches, as Malta is a rock island. So if your family are beach goers, make sure you chose a hotel near a beach.
Egypt is on the list for many reasons: plenty of good beaches and resorts with loads of activities, not to mention great diving. Whether anyone choses to go there or not (or bring their kids) is of course an individual choice, but there’s been relative calm in Egypt for quite some time now, and in fact the Red Sea areas have been almost completely spared any problems during the troubles in other parts of the country, and official recommendations have by and large been lifted for those parts of the country. But again, it is a personal choice whether one choses to go there, or anywhere.
I’ve never dived Malta and I think that could be a good fit for diving next with the family.
Why is Egypt on the list? As a country that doesn’t seem to stable these days and diving or no diving that is not where I would bring my kids!
What could be a good diving site in May end in Europe. Wet suit. Not cold water.