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“If you are craving some Caribbean diving closer to home....”

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Flower Garden Banks were discovered by fishermen in the late 1800's and named for the colorful reefs found there. Situated 70 to 115 miles off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, the sanctuary includes three separate areas: East Flower Garden Bank, West Flower Garden Bank, and Stetson Bank. These protected underwater communities rise from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico atop underwater mountains called salt domes, which are only accessible by boat. Diving and fishing can be enjoyed by visitors through several commercial dive and fishing charter operators that take people out to the sanctuary and the surrounding oil and gas platforms.
Peggs, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
137 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“If you are craving some Caribbean diving closer to home....”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 3, 2014

If you want some hard core diving look up one of several charter live aboard dive boats and hit this spot for 3 days. I just got back from the Flower Gardens having went out with Fling Charters and was happy with the trip. This was my second visit (with same crew) and my wife went along well. We saw all kinds of fish but the highlight was a trio of sandbar sharks that we saw the last morning out. They circled around for 5 minutes within 10 feet ad the experience was incredible.
The sites are all good and diving a oil rig is a really neat experience that not everyone can lay claim to. The flower gardens are a gem that is worth exploring especially if can not make it the Caribbean a few time a year. Try this out-nice mix of big and small life and the corral heads are amazing.

Visited July 2014
6 Thank nathan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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12 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Galveston Island, Texas
Level Contributor
18 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“The Gulf's best kept Secrets!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 2, 2013

Amazing marine life! Amazing coral! and somehow amazingly unknown! Having studied marine biology, I have been many times, however even those living nearby dont even know about it!

12 Thank samdavenport
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fulshear, Texas
Level Contributor
86 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Texas' hidden gem in the Gulf of Mexico!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 12, 2013

If you're a scuba diver it's worth your while to visit the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. The marine life here truly is outstanding! And since it's so far offshore (110 miles to be exact) it doesn't get overcrowded with divers. This means you can encounter BIG pelagic animals here, and it also means the coral is in great condition.

If you're familiar with diving in the Caribbean, you'll find much of the same at the Flower Garden Banks, without the expensive airplane ride! The main difference is that 99% of what you'll see is hard coral - no soft varieties (unless you're visiting Stetson Bank). The hard coral species THRIVE here like you won't see in the Caribbean, possibly because they aren't competing with all the soft varieties. I saw a few brain coral heads here that will just blow your mind. MASSIVE!

One important note: the diving here is ALL deep... you're going to be doing up to five dives a day and they're all going to be in the 80-100 foot range. So Nitrox is your best friend out here -- you'll get more bottom time! It certainly is doable on regular air with the old dive tables too - you won't get quite as much bottom time, but people do it all the time. The time to visit is usually summer - August and September especially. The seas are flattest then, the water is the warmest, and the currents are usually the mildest. **CURRENT CAN BE AN ISSUE, so you should be comfortable using swim lines strung from the boat at the start and end of your dives. Usually on the bottom it's smoooooth, and you have a mooring line to assist you with your descent. Another tip: bring gloves! The mooring lines get encrusted with all kinds of little buggers on there that'll sting you if you're not careful. No worries, a pair of light-duty neoprene gloves and you're good to go!

The M/V Fling takes you out to the Flower Garden Banks in comfort! Don't expect the newest fanciest live-aboard you'd find in Australia or somewhere like that. The Fling is quite comfortable, but she's a retrofitted crew vessel that used to be used for drilling rig workers. The food is hot, plentiful and tasty. It's not gourmet. But you won't be hungry! Enjoy a fresh-baked brownie with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream after your night dive! Check out www.flingcharters.com for more info on trips out to the Flower Garden Banks!

Visited August 2012
13 Thank blauvs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A wonderful weekend getaway”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 2, 2012

First time visited the Flower Garden National Marine Sanctuary, it is also my first off-shore diving trip. Very impressed-----crystal clear water, 100 ft visibility. I was very lucky-----the weather was very calm ( in late Sep). Saw lots of sea life including 300 lbs sea turtle during a night dive. Just a wonderful place to be. I will suggest paying $65 extra for the Nitrox, all dives are deep (> 75 ft, when the water is that clear, you don't feel it is so deep), the Nitrox definitely helps the bottom time. I took the M/V Fling charter, great food, great service.They really try their best to take care of the costumers. Considering how close it is to the shore , I will strongly recommend this place to every diver!

Visited September 2012
10 Thank Scubacat_Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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