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Discover The Top 14 Caves in Florida

Florida is well-known for Mickey Mouse, wild nightlife, and white-sand beaches. But there is so much more unexplored beauty in Florida beyond the most popular celebrated tourist landmarks. Florida’s most impressive natural wonders include breathtaking caves with underwater caverns that will give you a unique experience upon exploration.

Check out these 14 caves where you can go exploring and jump over to the wild side for a real adventure.

 

Florida Caverns State Park

Florida Caverns State Park is a state park located in the Florida Panhandle near Marianna. It’s the only state park in Florida with air-filled caves accessible to the public. The cavern has incredible rock formations, including draperies, soda straws, stalagmites, stalactites, stalagmites, and more.

Cavern tours are offered from Monday to Thursday and closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. While at the park, you can engage in other outdoor activities, including horseback riding, boating, hiking, camping, and fishing.

Leon Sinks Geological Area

Leon Sinks Geological Area is one of southwestern Leon County, Florida’s most extensive underwater cave systems. It’s part of the Apalachicola National Forest and connects to Wakulla Springs. Leon Sinks include both dry and wet sinkholes connected through underwater caves.

The place is full of wildlife, including freshwater eel and the rare Woodville Karst Plain crayfish. There are many picnic tables for those who wish to bring a meal to enjoy the outdoors.

Warren’s Cave

Warren’s Cave is located within the Warren Cavern Nature Preserve in Alachua County, Florida. It’s a dry karst cave and one of the longest air-filled caves in the state, with over 4 miles of mapped passages. It’s believed a high water table formed the cave many years back.

Only experienced spelunkers may attempt the cave exploration since Warren’s is an unimproved cave with no safety improvement, including the lighting, railings, stairs, and walkways. Some cave passages, like the Red Streak, are tight and long, making them difficult to explore. Otherwise, you might come across rare species like the blind crayfish inside Warren’s Cave.

Ginnie Springs

Ginnie Springs is a private park in Gilchrist County, Florida. Wray family has privately owned Ginnie Springs since 1971 and began functioning in 1976. Bob Wray made the springs accessible to the public in the 1990s when scuba diving became more popular.

In addition to diving, visitors can snorkel, kayak, canoe, swim, or river tube along the Santa Fe River, to which the cavern is connected. Due to the increasing number of scuba divers’ death, Wray placed an iron grate around dangerous parts of the cave along with warning signs as a safety precaution.

Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park

Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park is home to one of the biggest underwater cave systems worldwide. It’s named Wes Skiles in honor of the late world-class explorer, photographer, diver, and cinematographer Wes Skiles. The park features two major springs, a spring run, and six sinkholes. Several global cave divers tour the springs to explore over 33,000 feet of underwater passages. The cave is also used to train new cave divers.

Blue Grotto Dive Resort

Blue Grotto Dive Resort is Florida’s well-known freshwater dive destination. It has two distinct areas for divers to explore. One of the areas is the Blue Grotto Cave, which is mainly open to certified cave divers. The other is the cavern, where divers can explore up to 100 feet of water depths. The site offers underwater lights, a submerged air bell, guidelines, and more.

  • Address: 3852 NE 172 Ct, Williston, FL 32696, United States
  • Website: Blue Grotto Dive Resort
  • Phone number: +1 352-528-5770
  • Entrance fee: : Daytime diver admission is $48 per person. Non-diver admission is $6 per person. Check here for more information on snorkeling and combined day and night diver admission.
  • Google Maps link: Blue Grotto Dive Resort

Weeki Wachee Springs

Weeki Wachee should be your one-stop place if you wish to see underwater performances by “live mermaids.” It’s among the few places in the United States where women distinguish themselves as live mermaids by wearing fishtails and other fancy outfits. Mermaid live performances can be watched in an aquarium-like setting in the springs of the Weeki Wachee River.

Other activities offered at the Weeki Wachee Springs include riverboat rides, paddling, and swimming in the pristine waters at Buccaneer Bay.

Morrison Springs State Park

Morrison Springs State Park is a 161-acre park in northwest Florida. A 250-foot diameter spring pool is one of the main attractions in the park, producing roughly 48 million gallons of crystal clear water daily. It’s a popular diving spot and also a lovely place to swim.

There are three cavities at the bottom of the spring, which extend roughly 300 feet deep underground. Aside from diving and swimming, visitors may engage in other activities like canoeing, snorkeling, picnicking, kayaking, and more.

Devil’s Den

Devil’s Den is a privately owned underwater cavern in Williston, Florida. The cave is used for recreational activities, such as scuba diving and snorkeling.

The surface diameter of the cave is 120 feet, with a maximum depth of roughly 54 feet. The underground water temperature is a constant 72 °F (22 °C) degrees. However, steam rises from the water’s surface during cold weather, causing early settlers to suggest that the rising water vapor looked like a chimney from hell– hence the name “Devil’s Den.”

Wakulla Springs

Wakulla Springs is among the largest and deepest freshwater springs worldwide. It’s a place where history stretches back to a thousand years ago when mastodons roamed the earth. Several remains of the American mastodon, Saber-toothed tiger, giant ground sloth, Ancient bison, Columbian mammoth, and more have been found at Wakulla.

Guided boat tours are offered daily across the cool waters where manatees, alligators, and numerous bird species can be seen. The underwater cave system consists of a dendritic network of conduits, most of which have been fully surveyed and explored.

Madison Blue Spring

The Madison Blue Spring is another popular swimming and diving spot. It’s best known for its crystal-clear cool waters and underwater caves. It’s located at the center of a vibrant and lush forest on the west bank of the Withlacoochee River. At about 25 feet deep and 82 feet wide, Madison Blue Spring bubbles into a limestone basin along the Withlacoochee River.

Blue Spring is an incredible place to spend the day and a favorite family destination. You may come across cave-dwelling animals as you dive and explore the number one swimming hole in the country. Those who intend to dive are advised to do so in pairs for safety.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Ichetucknee is the perfect place to visit and enjoy the river— whether you are looking for robust adventure or simply want to spend the day relaxing in nature. The park features spectacular caves, a beautiful sandhill environment, and three nature trails. The main attraction at the Ichetucknee State Park is the crystal-clear springs that join to create the 6-mile Ichetucknee River.

The nature trails guide visitors through the 2,669 acres of land, home to several wildlife species, such as wild turkeys, wood ducks, otters, beavers, softshell turtles, and more.

Blowing Rocks Preserve

After six decades of protecting several great places in Florida, the Nature Conservancy considers Blowing Rocks one of its biggest achievements. Blowing Rocks Preserve is a barrier island sanctuary on Jupiter Island in Martin County, Florida. The main attraction here is an outcropping of the Anastasia Formation, which can be seen along the state’s east coast.

Other natural features found at the Blowing Rocks Preserve include beach dunes, mangrove wetlands, and maritime hammocks. It’s also home to a few endangered plants and animals, such as the loggerhead green and leatherback sea turtles.

The sea breaks against the rocks, forcing plumes of saltwater to rise to 50 feet high whenever there is a high tide. It’s an awe-inspiring sight you shouldn’t miss watching while at the Blowing Rocks Preserve.

Manatee Springs State Park

Manatee Springs State Park is a first-magnitude spring that releases approximately 100 gallons of water daily. Located six miles west of Chiefland, Florida, the Manatee Springs State Park is perfect for a stroll on the park boardwalk while staring into watery depths. The park features many sinkhole ponds, hardwood wetlands, and swamps. One of the sinkholes consists of a 90 feet deep cave that connects to the catfish hotel, a popular diver’s destination.

True to its name, manatees can be spotted within Manatee Springs, especially in the cooler months. White-tailed deer and numerous bird and mammal species can be sighted in the park year-round.

Final Thoughts

Most caves in Florida are underwater caverns created by springs and underwater rivers. There are also a few air-filled and salt caves in the state, like the Warren Cave, which is mainly suitable for the adventurous spelunker, and the Florida Caverns State Park, which has the reputation of being among the few dry caves within the state. All of these caves are worth visiting at least once.

Top image on this page: Erica Oates via Flickr / Creative Commons.

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