Texas, also known as the “Lone Star State,” ranks among the fastest-growing places in the US. Famed for its natural springs and swimming holes, Texas provides several natural options to cool off with.
Wondering how to escape the summer heat? Or, planning an autumn getaway? Explore some fascinating caves and discover a hidden side of Texas that most people are unaware of. Hidden beneath the Lone Star State rolling landscape are numerous caves and caverns with awe-inspiring stalagmites, stalactites, and flowstones, waterfalls.
Here are the 12 most incredible caves within the Loner Star State you should explore.
The Cascade is a limestone solutional cave about 3 miles from Boerne, Texas. It’s part of the Glen Rose formation, a geological formation dating back to the Lower Cretaceous Period. As evidenced by the prehistoric animal remains and Lipan Apache artifacts from the 1700s, Cascade has been commercially operated as a show cave since 1932.
Informal tours were carried out in the cave in 1875 when Dr. Benjamin Hester owned the cave property. Over the years, the cave tour business has changed hands. The current gift shop was formerly a dance hall next to a kitchen. In the 1930s, a train line ran by the cave roughly 100 yards from the entrance.
Take a one-hour tour at Cascade Caverns and stand a chance to see giant stalactites, stalagmites, and a 100 feet waterfall. You may also catch sight of unusual animals, including the rare neotenic salamanders and tricolored bats.
Cascade tours run year-round — with only rare closings due to flooding. In the past, the cave has been affected by a few unexpected flash flooding.
- Address: 226 Cascade Cavern, Boerne, TX 78015, United States
- Website: Cascade Caverns
- Phone number: +1 830-755-8080
- Entrance fee: $19.95 for adults aged 12 and above and $14.95 for children ages 4 to 11. Read here for more information on costs.
- Google Maps link: Cascade Caverns
Located outside the city of San Antonio, Texas, Bracken Cave is world-renowned as home to the largest colony of bats. Over 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats live in the cave. The cave is registered under Austin, Texas-based Bat Conservation International, which works to restore various wildlife within the region. As a result, self-guided tours are restricted to protect the habitat of the resident bats.
Fortunately, guided tours are offered in the evening to watch bats emerging from the cave. Since its discovery, Bracken Cave has been featured in the media numerous times. The first pilot episode of “Dirty Jobs” featured Bracken Cave. This bat haven was also displayed in the World’s Weirdest series episode of “Freaks of the Sky.”
- Address: 26101 FM3009, San Antonio, TX 78266, United States
- Website: Bracken Cave Preserve
- Phone number: +1 512-327-9721
- Entrance fee: $30 per person for all ages
- Google Maps link: Bracken Cave Preserve (Bat Conservation International Inc.)
Caverns of Sonora
The Caverns of Sonora is a world-class cave 8 miles west of Sonora, Texas. It’s one of the unique caves with a breathtaking array of calcite crystal formations with rare beauty and complexity. One formation dubbed the “Snake Pit” is so densely packed with beautiful helictite growths. Even Bill Stephenson, the founder of the National Speleological Society, complimented the cave after his first visit.
“This is the most indescribably beautiful cave in the world; its beauty cannot be exaggerated, not even by a Texan,” said Stephenson. 0Experience an unforgettable adventure by exploring the cavern’s four-hour Discovery Challenge through a maze of off-trail passageways.
- Address: 1711 Private Rd 4468, Sonora, TX 76950, United States
- Website: Caverns of Sonora
- Phone number: +1 325-387-3105
- Entrance fee: Crystal palace tour is $20 for adults above age 12, $16 for children between ages 4 and 11, and $0 for children under the age of 4
- Google Maps link: Caverns of Sonora
Jacob’s Well is the world’s most explored diving spot and the most dangerous. It’s a perennial karstic spring located in Texas, just outside the town of Wimberley. With a water system of approximately 4,500 feet passageway from the surface and a maximum depth of 137 feet, Jacob’s Well Cave is estimated to have killed at least nine people trying to explore its depths.
At a glance, Jacob’s Well may seem like a giant puddle, but it’s a mouth of an underwater cave system, often explored by daring divers. The cave has lots of sharp angles and twists, which may be difficult to maneuver. Free divers are advised not to go as far as 100 feet since they can easily get stuck or even lose their way. The major attraction of the well is the large eerie spring opening leading to the depths below.
- Address: 1699 Mt Sharp Rd, Wimberley, TX 78676, United States
- Website: Jacob’s Well Natural Area
- Phone number: +1 512-214-4593
- Entrance fee: Completely free, though you’ll be charged between $5 and $9 if you wish to swim in natural spring well.
- Google Maps link: Jacob’s Well
Natural Bridge Caverns
Natural Bridge Caverns is one of the largest caves in New Braunfels. It derives its name from the 60 feet natural limestone slap bridge at the entrance. The caverns are still continually developing. Some formations have a waxy luster mainly caused by the rainwater dripping throughout, as seen in a few caverns.
There’s plenty to discover at the Natural Bridge Caverns, like on the Hidden Passages Tour, where mystery awaits in every shadow. Or, explore the Discovery Tour, where ancient formations like stalactites and stalagmites illuminate other formations formed by single drops of water.
- Address: 26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd, San Antonio, TX 78266, United States
- Website: Natural Bridge Caverns
- Phone number: +1 210-651-6101
- Entrance fee: Their prices range between $26 and $30, depending on the season. For more details on costs, view here.
- Google Maps link: Natural Bridge Caverns
Inner Space Cavern
The Inner Space Cavern, commonly known as Laubach Cave, is one of the best-preserved caves in Georgetown, Texas. It lies within dolomite and limestone rocks of the Edwards Group formed thousands of years ago. The cavern was discovered in 1963 by a Texas Highway Department core drilling team and opened to the public in 1966.
Inner Space Cavern does not flood during rains, though several miles of the caverns remain unexplored due to blocked passages. Tourists can explore the cavern’s beautiful formations, including waves of transparent calcite called drapery and soda straws.
- Address: 4200 S I-35 Frontage Rd, Georgetown, TX 78626, United States
- Website: Inner Space Cavern
- Phone number: +1 512-931-2283
- Entrance fee: : $22.95 adventure tour for adults 13+ and $16.95 for children between 4 and 12 years old.
- Google Maps link: Inner Space Cavern
Kickapoo Cavern is the most visited state park 22 miles north of Brackettville. It was opened as a state park in 1991. Compelling features of the park include 20 known and explored caves, two of which are large enough to be considered significant. Simple guided tours are offered every Saturday and require a reservation.
As you hike, keep an eye on wildlife commonly found in the park, such as the gray fox, raccoon, whitetail deer, and rock squirrel, among many other rodents. Bats usually migrate to the cavern around mid-March and stay through the end of October.
- Address: 20939 Ranch to Market Rd 674 N, Brackettville, TX 78832, United States
- Website: Kickapoo Cavern State Park
- Phone number: +1 830-563-2342
- Entrance fee: Wild cafe tours cost $10 per person.
- Google Maps link: Kickapoo Cavern State Park
Longhorn Cavern is a limestone cave formed thousands of years ago and dedicated as a state park in 1932. The cavern is home to hundreds of calcite crystals sparkling from every wall. Tricolored bats inhabit the cavern, although it once belonged to a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats.
The cavern features live concerts inside the caves over particular weekends. So, you should check the cavern’s website for current information on concert dates because they keep changing. The larger sections of the cave have incredible natural acoustics, making the sounds of flutes, cymbals, and voices create beautiful reverberating tones. Many musicians describe their experience at the Longhorn Cavern as “spiritual.”
Redneck Jedi recorded their fifth album, “Unplugged and Underground” on April 4, 2008, at Longhorn Cavern. The YouTube interactive series “A Heist with Markiplier” was filmed at the cavern in 2019.
- Address: 6211 Park Road 4 S, Burnet, TX 78611, United States
- Website: Longhorn Cavern
- Phone number: +1 512-715-9000
- Entrance fee: Cave access is by guided tour only. A cavern walking tour for adults aged 12+ and above is $20.95 and $16.95 for children between 4 and 11.
- Google Maps link: Longhorn Cavern State Park
Westcave Preserve was founded in 1976 to inspire people to develop a long-term practice of enjoying and protecting nature. It’s dedicated to teaching students key scientific concepts. Aside from observing a living laboratory, students and other visitors witness a place of extraordinary beauty.
Take a hike to the bottom of the canyon and stand a chance to see thousands of years of geological formations on your way.
- Address: 24814 Hamilton Pool Rd, Round Mountain, TX 78663, United States
- Website: Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center
- Phone number: +1 830-825-3442
- Entrance fee: Free
- Google Maps link: Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center
Wonder World Cave and Adventure Park
Wonder World Cave and Adventure Park is a one-of-a-kind theme park in San Marcos, Texas. Aside from a wildlife park, a trackless motor train, and an anti-gravity house, the park’s other main attractions include the Wonder Cave, an ancient earthquake cave.
Wonder Cave offers stunning and rare sites of fossilized prehistoric life encased in the many strata formations and huge boulders suspended mid-air. Visit Wonder Cave and experience the world’s wonders up close, the only real dry-formed cave open for viewing throughout the year.
- Address: 1000 Prospect St, San Marcos, TX 78666, United States
- Website: Wonder World Cave & Adventure Park
- Phone number: +1 512-392-6711
- Entrance fee: Adult $21.95 and children $15.95
- Google Maps link: Wonder World Cave & Adventure Park
The Devil’s Sinkhole is home to millions of Mexican free-tailed bats near the city of Rocksprings in Edwards County, Texas. Bats are the main attraction here, though not the only one.
Access to the Devil’s Sinkhole is available only through advanced reservation. It offers evening bat flight viewing in the summer months. The Mexican free-tailed bats migrate to Mexico during the colder months and roost in the Devil’s Sinkhole from late spring through early fall.
- Address: Rocksprings, TX 78880, United States
- Website: Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area
- Phone number: +1 830-683-2287
- Entrance fee: Adults $14, Children 4 to 12 $6, and free for children under 4.
- Google Maps link: Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area
The Cave Without a Name
The Cave Without a Name is an incredible cavern located in the heart of the scenic, rolling hills of Texas Hill County. The cave got its name or no name in the real sense when a local student won the town’s naming contest, pointing out that “The cave is too pretty to have a name.” Since then, the cave has been called the “Cave Without a Name.”
Did you know that the beautiful underground Throne Room of the cave can accommodate up to 200 people? The Throne Room is best known as the Queen’s room, where special events like concerts are held occasionally throughout the year.
Enjoy a roughly 60-minute guided tour in the cave’s six main rooms with brilliant lighting and easy walkways. While exploring the cave, expect to see tons of spectacular formations of stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones, cave drapery, and delicate soda straws.
- Address: 325 Kreutzberg Rd, Boerne, TX 78006, United States
- Website: The Cave Without a Name
- Phone number: +1 830-537-4212
- Entrance fee: $20 for adults, $10 for children aged between 6 and 12, and free for children under 6.
- Google Maps link: The Cave Without a Name
A guided tour is the only way to explore most show caves within the Lone Star State. Most of these tours include gravel walkways and lighted passageways. All caves in Texas retain a suitable temperature of approximately 70 degrees throughout the year. So you don’t have to crawl in the dark, especially when descending underground via stairs or steep walkways.
If you’re looking for wild cave explorations, some caverns, like the Cascade Caverns, offer some of the toughest cave explorations that involve crawling underground for a few hours.
All images on this page: Creative Commons.
Caving Near Me
Ready for some caving? Check out the top caves to discover for each destination!