Hidden Paradise campground is well named. It is an out of the way dive spot southeast of Shelbyville, Indiana. We first stumbled across the name while looking for dive sites in Indiana. When we asked around, we couldn't find any of our local divers that had been there recently or even heard of the site, so we knew we had to visit.
After a quick search, we found out Hidden Paradise is a quarry set back in the wooded areas of St. Paul, Indiana southeast of Shelbyville.
We decided to go opening day for swimming which is Memorial Day. The drive was about an hour for us, but the sun was out and we were excited to try a new spot. Google Maps led us to miss the turn at the campground so we ended up on a several mile circuit that finally led us back to the main entrance. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination in desperate need of a bio break and then realizing it's going to be another 15 minutes…..
Once we were finally on it, the access road winds back into the woods and takes you right by a fenced in area where they have a few friendly deer. The campsite was beautiful with tall trees and lots of shade. Many families were already on site hiking, swimming, and playing on the inflatables. Hidden Paradise is primarily a campground situated next to Dream Lake, a former quarry. On the water, they have surface inflatables for swimming, paddle boat rentals, and SCUBA diving.
We found a place to park and stood in line at the shop. They have about everything you would forget to bring to a campsite plus arcade games and a couple pool tables. The lady behind the counter was friendly and said viz was good the previous weekend when she dove it. She handed me a map of the underwater features and we signed the waivers. A few directions to get to the other side of the quarry and off we went.
The dive entry area is a floating dock with a small bridge connecting it to shore. Plenty of room for parking nearby as well as a small shelter and tables. Since we were the only divers that day, we hauled our gear to the dock and started assembling. Diving is on the opposite side of the quarry from the swimming area secluded in the woods. It is a lovely peaceful setting.
The diving is easy. There are lines from feature to feature. There is plenty to see: boats, phone booths, platforms, and a motorcycle. Average depth is around 24 feet with a sink hole in the middle that maybe goes to 35 feet or so. The thermocline was near the bottom at around 18 feet. The water was definitely chilly below that, however the best visibility was near the bottom. The visibility was OK for our dives, though not spectacular. Here’s a few of the highlights:
All said, we put in three dives and didn’t see it all. We’d like to go back and see more. We really enjoyed Hidden Paradise. It lives up to its name. Lovely location with something for everyone, divers and non-divers alike. It is a very nice spot for a weekend getaway with the full package for people who want to do more than dive.