For those of you that don’t know, Snorkel-Mart is located in Bloomington, Indiana. Many may be confused by this location for a snorkeling company, but we find it makes shipping accessible for most of the US. While we love our Bloomington home, we find ourselves missing the ocean and snorkeling adventures often. To feed our snorkeling desires, we wanted to know what spots are close to us where we could go snorkeling without travelling all the way to the ocean. Here’s what we found.
Mermet Springs (IL)
This 8.5 acre quarry in southern Illinois is a great place to learn how to dive using their training docks. Mermet Springs offers a variety of attractions, one of the most notable is wreck diving the Boeing 727. This is the same plane used in the film U.S. Marshals starring Tommy Lee Jones. The broken plane was hauled to Mermet Springs out of the Ohio River, where it now lives. You can also participate in divecaching/geocaching around their site. If you are unfamiliar with geocaching, their website describes it as,
“...a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS enabled Dive Computers...navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at the location.”
The ground rules for geocaching here are to leave the cache in its original location, leave something of equal value if you take from the geocache, write about the dive, and log your experience at geocaching.com.
Haigh Quarry (IL)
Haigh Quarry is located 60 miles south of Chicago with total depths reaching 85 feet. Crowned as the “Caribbean of the Midwest”, the quarry offers many sites to explore. According to USA Today, divers can find submerged relics of the quarry’s mining history. The artifact park has various dive sites, and was originally created to educate recreational divers on the study of underwater archaeology. In this park, you can find a rock crusher, fire truck, tricycles, and much more. Snorkelers can find schools of pike, bass, bluegill, catfish, and sunfish in the 25 feet depth area.
Baileys Harbor / Door County (WI)
Baileys Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin offers some prime locations for Midwest snorkelers. This area was part of The Seaway, a 370 mile system of lakes, rivers, straits, canals, and bays that connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic. Over the centuries of trade that flourished in this area due to this system, there were bound to be a few wrecks. Numerous boats pepper the bottom of Lake Michigan just outside of Door County’s peninsula. One of those boats is the Christina Nilsson located in 15-20 feet of water just outside of Baileys Harbor. It is an easy dive, and a lot of the ship’s hull and centerboard is still intact. For more advanced divers, the Frank O’Conner lies under 65 feet of water off the Cana Island Lighthouse. You can still see the boilers, propellers, and anchors at the bottom of the lake.
Mall of America (MN)
Believe it or not, you can snorkel at the Mall of America with Sea Life, the mall’s aquarium! Enjoy a 1 hour long surface snorkeling adventure with tropical fish.
There you have it! Living in the Midwest doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some quality snorkeling. Did we miss any of your favorite Midwest water sport spots? Contact us to let us know!