Best Places to Swim With Sharks in the USA

A swim with sharks or swimming with whale sharks is not as popular as swimming with dolphins, otters, or even sting rays.  However, that doesn’t mean that this activity isn’t thrilling and exciting, so you may want to consider doing it during your next vacation!  The best part about swimming with sharks is that there are many types of sharks, so you never know which ones you will see!  Of course, since some sharks are ‘nicer’ than others, but when you swim with sharks in an organized tour, you will be safe at all times and actually have fun!

Where to Swim with Sharks in the USA


1. Swim with Sharks, Florida

You will have many opportunities to swim with sharks in Florida, so you may want to plan a few extra days for your vacation to squeeze it all in.  Your first shark experience can be at the Florida Aquarium and it is there where you will find yourself swimming with sand tiger sharks and bonnethead sharks, as well as a plethora of other marine life.  

Florida Aquarium, Swim with Sharks
Credits: Florida Aquarium

Florida Shark Diving will have you out in the water around Florida doing a little shark diving.  You can choose to be in a cage, or free out in the water, as you watch tiger sharks, hammerheads, blacktips, reef sharks, and many others swim around you.  So, adding a swim with sharks Florida to your vacation plan will be something different and exciting to do! 

2. Swim with Sharks, Atlanta

Down in Atlanta, you must visit the Georgia Aquarium to swim with whale sharks, as well as manta rays and many other animals that live in the water there.  You will have a trainer with you for the entire thirty minutes you are in the water with the sharks, so you will be safe the entire time. Plus, this will ensure you do not miss a moment of this incredible adventure.  This location is one of the best places to swim with whale sharks in the US. 

3. Swim with Sharks, Las Vegas

One of the best shark diving experiences can be had at the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.  As long as you are a certified diver, you can have the shark encounter of a lifetime far away from the ocean.

Shark Reef Aquarium, Swim with Sharks

Being able to swim with whale sharks is a fantastic experience and one that you will not forget anytime soon.  Add in the fact that you will be surrounded by thirty sharks, including sand tiger, sandbar, and white tip reef sharks, as well as sea turtles and many different types of fish.  

4. Swim with Sharks, California

Great White Adventures, in Northern California, will have you going for a swim with great white sharks.  You will be in a cage for this adventure and there are ample opportunities to see other sharks when you are out in the ocean.  California Shark Diving is another group that takes people out in search of sharks to swim with.  They have perfected their ability to find sharks off the shoreline, whether those sharks are up near the surface or down much deeper in the water.  

5. Swim with Sharks, Maui

While there are not any tours out in the ocean for swimming with sharks in Maui, you can still get up close with these creatures at the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium.  It is there where you can spend a little time inside the seven hundred fifty-thousand-gallon tank swimming with sharks. This destination will be a great place for a Hawaii shark encounter. 

Swim with Sharks

There are five different shark species within this tank, and they are blacktip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, sandbar sharks, white tip reef sharks, and tiger sharks.  If your entire family does not want to go shark diving with you, they can do a little shark watching through the fifty-four-foot-long acrylic tunnel that can be walked through.  You can also experience shark diving in Maui. 

6. Swim with Sharks, Oahu

There are a couple different swimming with shark options in Oahu, but one of the best is North Shore Shark Adventures.  This shark diving adventure is done in a cage and you are guaranteed to see sharks when you are out in the water. These tours leave from the Haleiwa Harbor and they are all approximately two hours in length.  As you are riding out to where you will swim with sharks, you will have the chance to see sea turtles, dolphins, and even a humpback whale or two.  

International destinations to swim with sharks


7. Swim with Sharks, Belize

There are many different sharks in Belize, but you will want to swim with the whale sharks when you are there.  Blackhawk Sailing Tours can take you right to where the whale sharks spend their time, but they will also take you to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which was established in 1987 and is considered the best place to see lots of marine life like sharks. 

Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Swim with Sharks
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The nurse sharks are plentiful there and you can even go through a tunnel to do a little shark cave diving during this tour. When you encounter the nurse sharks, feel free to reach your hand out and start petting a shark. They are quite used to it in this part of the world.  

8. Swim with Sharks, Mexico

Swimming with whale sharks in Mexico is possible but you can also spend a little time with shortfin makos, hammerheads, silky sharks, and blue sharks.  You may want to consider using Baja Experiences for all your shark encounters in Mexico, because they know where the sharks spend most of their time. If possible, you will want to swim with sharks in Cabo San Lucas, because the currents from the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez create an environment that is perfect for all types of sharks.  You can also swim with whale sharks in Cancun. 

9. Swim with Sharks, Bahamas

One of the best places to swim with nurse sharks in the Bahamas is Compass Cay.  This area is within the Exuma Islands and you can easily swim with the sharks on the same day you do a little swimming with pigs. 

Compass Cay, Swim with Sharks
Credits: Joseph Bylund, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

 You do not need a cage to swim with the gentle nurse sharks and you will be able to do a little snorkeling with sharks, while even finding yourself petting a shark or two.  

FAQS About Sharks

How to Swim with Sharks?

It is best to be with a guide when you are swimming with sharks, especially if you have not done it before.  They can alert you to any danger before you are aware of it yourself. As for the swimming with sharks’ process, you can do it in open water or from a cage.  Most people will swim in the open waters with nurse sharks, or other sharks that are not too dangerous, and save the cage diving for when they are in the presence of great white sharks.  You should keep your distance from the sharks, unless you are swimming with nurse sharks, and you should always stay out of the water if you are bleeding.  So, there are so many ways to swim with sharks without being eaten alive, which can’t be a good thing. 

How Do Sharks Swim?

Some sharks, like the whale shark, move their bodies from one side to the other to move themselves forward.  However, sharks like the great white shark, use their tail to propel themselves forward through the water.  

When Do Sharks Feed?

Honestly, sharks will feed at any time, but they often do it early in the morning and later at night as the sun is setting.  They have the most success at night, because many fish species are the most active at night.  

Diving with sharks

Can Sharks Stop Swimming?

Sharks need to keep swimming to keep oxygen going into their bodies.  While a shark will not sink, or stop breathing if they were to stop swimming, it is unlikely that a shark would even consider not swimming.  

How Deep Do Sharks Swim?

Some sharks swim deeper down into the ocean than others, but the deepest a great white shark has ever been, has been thirty-seven hundred feet below the surface of the water.  This isn’t to say they don’t go down further; we just haven’t seen it happen yet.  

Do Sharks Sleep?

Since sharks need to continuously swim, they do not sleep like other types of animals do.  Basically, a shark will sleep as they are still swimming around. This sleep pattern is considered resting and not sleeping, and sharks will alternate their resting times with periods of being alert.  Most sharks do not even, or can’t even, close their eyes when they are resting.  

These are the best places to go swimming with sharks when you are on vacation in the future.  While you may not be interested in swimming with sharks, someone else in your family might, or you may at least want to go out to see these creatures up close from the comfort of a boat.  The options are endless when it comes to sharks, but at least now, you know where you can see these creatures the best.  

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