Divers in Chattanooga are within a days drive of the best diving in the United States. A number of our favorite dive sites are featured on this page. They range from sites just a few minutes away, to the Caribbean-like conditions found in the Florida Keys. The distance and drive times, from Choo Choo Diving & Aquatic Center, are listed for each.
Distance: 10 Miles Drive Time: 18 Minutes
Coolidge Park is located on Chattanooga's Northshore waterfront. In addition to a beautifully restored 100 year-old carousel, a pavillion, and an interactive play fountain, the park offers easy access to diving in the Tennessee River. Divers can enter the water at the park and swim upstream to the area below the Walnut Street Bridge or downstream to the Market Street Bridge.
Divers can visit the remains of a Civil War era paddlewheeler which sunk just downstream of the Market Street Bridge. Another popular activity is searching for old bottles and artifacts. Our divers have located brass steam gauges, buggy lanterns and more. Recovered bottles have been valued at over $100 each.
Diving conditions are affected by water releases from the Chickamauga Dam. Divers should be also be alert to both recreational and commercial boat traffic in the area. A dive flag must be displayed at all times. If you are not familiar with river diving procedures, we recommend that you contact us to arrange a guided dive or make plans to join us for our next river diving course.
Distance: 9 Miles Drive Time: 16 Minutes
Ross's landing is rich in history. The area was settled in 1816 by the Chief of the Cherokee Nation, John Ross. It became an important center for maritime commerce on the Tennessee River. In recent years the area has been transformed into a beautiful waterfront park adjacent to the nationally acclaimed Tennessee Aquarium.
Over the course of time, many artifacts have made their way into the river. We are still investigating the wreckage of unidentified watercraft from days gone by.
The site is directly across the river from Coolidge Park (above) and is affected by water releases from the dam. The construction of new docks have made shore entries more challenging. The area is easily accessible by boat, however, divers need to be alert for recreational and commercial river traffic. A dive flag must be displayed at all times. If you are not familiar with river diving procedures, we recommend that you contact us to arrange a guided dive or make plans to join us for our next river diving course.
Distance: 56 Miles Drive Time: 60 Minutes
Rick and Stacy Low purchased the old McMinn County Quarry (near Athens, TN) in 1996 and established Loch Low-Minn Dive Resort. It is the premier diving destination in East Tennessee. It is not uncommon to see dive classes and instructors from as far away as Atlanta at the resort on the weekends.
Loch Low-Minn features, 40 to 50 feet of visibility with surface water temperatures that reach 80 degrees during the summer months! You can expect to see indemic fish species like bluegill, bass, and catfish. It is also one of the few places in the world where you can see PADDLEFISH!
Topside amenities include picnic tables, campsites, camping cabins, bathhouses with hot showers, and airfills. You can easily drive down to the staging area to unload equipment and there's ample room for parking even on the busiest days.
Visit the Loch Lowe Minn Website for more information.
Distance: 68 Miles Drive Time: 70 Minutes
Visit the Tennessee area's only Self-Serve quarry! If you have the urge to dive when the flow in the River is high and Loch Low-Minn is closed, you can still have fun at the Philadelphia Quarry!
The check-in process couldn't be easier. Stop at the quarry entrance to sign a liability release and use one of the envelopes to drop the admission fee in the collection slot. Drive on to the entry area and have fun ... it's all on the Honor System.
The conditions at the 3 acre quarry site are similar to those listed for Loch Low-Minn. The bathhouses are open from March until November. There are men's and women's changing areas and camping is available by request. Be sure to take extra tanks as air fills are not available.
Visit the Philadelphia Quarry Website for more information.
Distance: 46 Miles Drive Time: 55 Minutes
Each day during the summer, hundreds of rafters ignore the instructions to remove their jewelry and other valuables before they begin the exciting, turbulent ride down the Ocoee River. As a result, many rings, watches, and countless pairs of sunglasses wind up on the bottom.
The chaotic river becomes a series of placid pools when the water is diverted into the sluice to generate power. These still water times are perfect for underwater treasure hunters. It's a great way to escape the summer heat and maybe even find that diamond ring to pay for your next dive trip!
Access to the river requires the diver to negotiate the rocks that line the shores. Use caution as you enter and exit the water. Be certain to check the water release schedule and be certain to leave at the first sign of rising water.
Distance: 174 Miles Drive Time: 158 Minutes
Dive Alabama is a popular dive site which has many underwater attractions - fire trucks, cars, boats, a school bus, and several underwater training platforms. The depth ranges from 4 feet to 140 feet with an average depth of 100 feet. Visiblility ranges from 25 feet in the summer to 100 feet in the winter.
During the summer months, the surface temperature is approximately 86º and the bottom temperature is approximately 52º. Aquatic life includes bass, sunfish, catfish, bream, bluegill, Koi, and freshwater jellyfish and turtles. Visit the Dive Alabama Website for more information.