August 08, 2016 23:15 ET

Diamond Resorts International® Timeshare -- Florida's Best Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwired - August 08, 2016) - The peninsula state of Florida is certainly known for its abundant water. It boasts more than 1,200 miles of ocean coastline alone, with an internal area that accounts for more than 19 percent water, including the famous Everglades and the largest freshwater lake in the United States, Lake Okeechobee. As one might expect, it is also home to some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in North America. Gentle, rare manatees, colorful living reefs, and historic shipwrecks all await underwater discovery. Diamond Resorts International® timeshare, the world's leading global resort network of vacation ownership properties with over 420 destinations -- including 35 in Florida -- has curated a list of some of the best locations for budding aquanauts to explore.

Said to be the origin of mermaid myths, the Florida manatee is often called the sea cow for its herding and grazing tendencies. One of the prime spots for swimming with these distant relatives to the elephant is Crystal River, where they reliably congregate in the warm waters from November through April. Diamond Resorts International® timeshare experts remind adventurers that only snorkeling is allowed around the endangered creatures, to help maintain distance between them and humans, and that harassing or chasing the lumbering giants is strictly prohibited. Along the way, other species a visitor is likely to observe in the area include tarpon, snapper, redfish, large mouth bass and garfish.

Florida is rife with enticing grottos and sinkholes, which can seem deceptively small and unremarkable from above yet will open into a wide subterranean world. One of the most unique geological settings in the state is a place that early settlers named the Devil's Den for its resemblance to the gates of hell when steam rises from the warm water in winter. Snorkelers and scuba divers can explore this fern-draped sinkhole, which drops to an underground basin 60 feet below, leading to a complex cave system, which, although compelling, is closed to divers for safety. A mere 15-minute drive from the Devil's Den is the Blue Grotto, large clear-water cavern open to divers of all skill levels. The azure blue waters reach a depth of 100 feet, with a compressed air-supplied diving bell tethered at 30 feet where divers can rest and chat with their partners before continuing their descent.

Of course, the height of many dive trips is an exploration of sunken wrecks, and Florida has many to offer for all skill levels. Diamond Resorts timeshare professionals recommend a trip to one of the most unusual in the state -- the Army Tank #1 Dive. Located just off Miami Beach, the site is where a pair of M60 Army tanks were intentionally sunk in 48 feet of water by the Department of Environmental Resource Management. The department also placed 1,060 tons of limestone boulders around the tanks, which has grown rich with sea life including spiny oysters, coral sponges and numerous species of lobster which thrive among the rocks, safe from predators.

About Diamond Resorts International®

Diamond Resorts International®, with its network of more than 420 vacation destinations located in 35 countries throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Central America, Europe, Asia, Australasia and Africa, provides guests with choice and flexibility to let them create their dream vacation, whether they are traveling an hour away or around the world. Our relaxing vacations have the power to give guests an increased sense of happiness and satisfaction in their lives, while feeling healthier and more fulfilled in their relationships, by enjoying memorable and meaningful experiences that let them Stay Vacationed.™

Diamond Resorts International® manages vacation ownership resorts and sells vacation ownership points that provide members and owners with Vacations for Life® at over 420 managed and affiliated properties and cruise itineraries.

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