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Home 9 Visiting Casino Point 9 Casino Point Dive Park

Casino Point Dive Park

The Casino Point Dive Park is a Marine Protected Area / preserve easily accessible from shore, free of heavy waves and surf and abundant with hundreds of species of fish, wrecks and artificial reefs with depths of up to 100 feet. Want to see what diving is like today? Check Local Conditions!

Catalina Casino Point

Located in Avalon just minutes from the ferry dock, the Park is considered one of the top shore diving destinations in the country! There’s something here for beginners and advanced divers alike and is a great spot to earn your certifications.

The Park spans over 2.5 acres and is one of the most biodiverse environments in Southern California. It extends from the end of the Avalon Harbor breakwater (with boundaries marked by a buoy line) over to the far side of the iconic Casino building and has a prevailing westerly current.

Kelp Forest
Giant Black Sea Bass (aka wreckfish)
Bright orange Garibaldi

You’ll find rocky intertidal areas and reef habitats as well as our stunning kelp forests (growing up to 2’ a day) with visibility often 80’ or more. Don’t forget to look up to see the sunlight filtering through the canopy above!

From late Spring to Summer, you’ll mostly likely encounter our visiting Giant Black Sea Bass (aka wreckfish) which can grow up to 7 feet long weighing 500 pounds or more. They’re a critically endangered species and we have the amazing opportunity to observe their courtship and mating behaviors. Listen for the bark!

The most visible and easily recognizable fish is the bright orange Garibaldi that resemble a large goldfish. As the State Marine Fish, it is also a protected species. In Spring, they begin nesting and the males vigorously patrol and protect the territory they claim – even from divers just passing through!

Look for curious California sea lions and harbor seals to cruise by and pods of dolphin frolicking outside the Harbor. Spot a tiny nudibranch, encounter a shy eel or octopus, maybe even spy some horn or swell shark eggs! The Park is also home to sea stars, urchins, bat and round rays, sea hares, sheep and kelp crabs and lots of spiny lobster.

Are you a brand-new diver or travelling with kids? Because the island is built on a shelf, there’s a ton of life to be seen in the top 40’, including a plaque dedicated to Jacques Cousteau which makes for a great photo. If you’re an experienced diver, you’ll visit some of the wrecks and artificial reefs located in deeper areas.


We are located in the large open parking lot behind the Casino building. We can help arrange for transportation assistance in getting you and any gear to and from the Park.

There is a wheelchair accessible bathroom, and we provide a shaded canopy with flaps that can zip down for privacy while changing and for any medical needs. Tables, chairs and cold storage for medications are available. 

Catalina Island Shore Entry

The Park has a shore entry down a short flight of stairs. Divers with mobility issues have different preferences for entry: some prefer to be carried while others prefer to maneuver themselves. We are happy to bring heavy gear to you so you don’t need to carry it and some people prefer to don gear once in the water.

If it’s low tide, entry and exits can be difficult – when you make your reservation we will check the tide tables to try and avoid any issues. (See the live feeds at the bottom of this page.) Like any dive site, occasionally current, swells or other weather conditions may mean it’s not a good day to dive and we’ll work with you to reschedule if needed.

Please call or email us to discuss your unique situation.

Dive Park History


The Casino Point Dive Park (also called the Avalon Underwater Park) is the country’s first nonprofit underwater dive park, designed in 1962 and established in 1965.

The Park is one of nine Marine Protected areas surrounding the island and received its state designation in 2012. It is a “no-take” area, meaning that there is no fishing of any kind and that nothing other than debris can be removed, including shells. Learn more

We recommend a visit to the Avalon Diving History Exhibit which is located in the Casino building on your left as you enter the parking lot

Dive Museum
Catalina Museum
Catalina Museum

The ADHE opened in 2017 and contains one of the most unique and diverse collections of vintage dive related equipment in the country. Many items are the only example available for public viewing, so if you’d like to see them, they’re only available here.

The exhibit was built by divers, for divers so please drop by and talk to Jon Council to learn about the rich history of diving on Catalina Island from the earliest days of helmets on our beaches, to Cousteau’s contributions and more. Visit the ADHE Facebook Page to see items from the collection before you arrive.

The Catalina Island Museum is located on Metropole Street, 1 block up on the right.

The museum is currently featuring a Casino Point Dive Park exhibition entitled “Below the Surface: The Catalina Photographs of Bruce Hall.”

Hall is a legally blind photographer who has spent 37 years taking underwater photographs at the Park.  Learn more

Catalina Island Museum
Catalina Casino Point

Casino Point Underwater Map

Park Map

Diving at Casino Point


No matter where you’re diving, it helps to know best practices for that site.
Thus, here’s your PSA for the Day. 🙂

  • The entrance to the Park is down a short flight of stairs that functions like a traffic pattern: down on the right and back up on what will be your right.
  • It’s easiest to enter at high tide from the center railing. (There’s a rock on the right.) At low tide, sitting down or kneeling to hop or drop in helps. Please see the tide tables below.
  • Please be ready to go when you get to the stairs- on the weekends it’s like a traffic jam on the 405. Fins go on about halfway down the stairs.
  • You’ll want to enter fully geared up – meaning mask on, fins on, BCD fully inflated and regulator or snorkel in. Depending on the tide, it’s either too deep to stand or you’re walking on rocks. We see people struggle every day trying to do all that when in the water. Also, there’s surge.
  • Prevailing current is westerly, toward the harbor. You can tell from the surface if there’s much current: if kelp is floating in clumps, there’s not much. If it’s nowhere to be seen, probably a good current. Same goes for underwater: if the kelp is bent one direction, there’s your current, but it can change at depth so just something to take note of.
  • The buoys are downlines for instruction only. That means no safety stops hanging on at the bottom of a line, and please don’t pass too closely underneath. All of your bubbles are now in the faces of brand new divers and that can cause real difficulties for them.
  • When exiting, please go one at a time so you don’t crash into the person ahead of you. Please keep your mask and fins on until you are out of the water and above the water line. If there is surge, you’ll be pulled back without the ability to see or kick.
  • Exiting at low tide is a challenge for everyone. It’s ok to pull your weights! (We really do need t-shirts that say “I survived low tide on the stairs!”)
  • Tip for exiting at low tide: There is a rock under the bottom of the right railing. Grab the railing with your right hand, right foot on the rock, left knee on the bottom step, left hand on the railing, both knees on the stairs, push yourself up on one knee, face the ocean and walk backwards up the stairs with two hands on the railing. Sounds simple right? 😉
  • And lastly, there are 5 local dive companies and many local instructors – anyone coming out of the water is happy to give a quick viz or current update. Just ask!

Please join us on Facebook at the Casino Point Dive Park Community.

Current  Local Conditions 


Live Wind Map

Current Tide Table

Current Tide Chart