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Discover 9 Incredible Caves and Caverns in Virginia

Home to everything from the vast wilderness and beautiful landscapes with endless forests, wild rivers and radiant mountains, Virginia is relentlessly pursuing its dream of creating a world where people and nature can thrive. Located in the southeastern United States, Virginia offers some unique swimming and birding opportunities you’ll never come across anywhere else.

If you fancy yourself as an adventurer or a lover of the great outdoors, you’ll want to know about the best caves and caverns you can visit in Virginia. Below is a list of 9 amazing caves and caverns in Virginia, which bear impressive reputations due to their breathtaking natural landscapes and unique formations. Read on for more information!

 

Luray Caverns

Best known for underground lakes and beautiful formations, such as the Empress Column, Frozen Mountain, and Titians Veil, Luray Caverns is one of the largest cave systems in the United States. The cave was discovered in 1878 and was initially called the “Luray Cave” before being changed to “Luray Caverns.”

Tours along illuminated, paved walkways lead visitors through massive chambers, including a few that are ten stories high. The pathway also winds through golden stone columns surrounding the walkways and sectioned-off areas like Giant’s Hall and one of the most popular formations called “The Great Stalacpipe Organ.”

The cavern is wheelchair and strollers accessible, though they aren’t advertised as handicap accessible. Visitors are allowed to carry leashed small pets inside the cave.

  • Address: 101 Cave Hill Rd, Luray, VA 22835, United States
  • Website: Luray Caverns
  • Phone number: +1 540-743-6551
  • Entrance fee: The admission cost is $32 for adults, $16 for children, $29 for seniors, and free for children below 6.
  • Google Maps link: Luray Caverns

Shenandoah Caverns

Shenandoah Caverns offers an otherworldly surreal view, especially with its extraordinary geology and incredible crystalline formations. The Capitol Dome, combined with Beyond the Veil and Rainbow Lake, makes it a view to remember for life.

Some cavern rooms, like the Grotto of the Gods and Long Vie Hall, have awe-inspiring cathedral-like ceilings. Ensure you catch sight of the popular “Breakfast Bacon” formations, once featured in the National Geographic magazine due to their unique appearance.

Shenandoah Caverns is the only Virginia cavern with elevator service!

Skyline Caverns

Skyline Caverns features unique anthodite formations composed of needle-like crystals spread in all directions, defying gravity. The Chandelier is the biggest and oldest anthodite, measuring approximately 18 inches long.

Skyline Cavern hosts three underground streams and a 37-foot Rainbow Waterfall, unlike other Virginia caverns. There are other reasons Skyline Caverns is popularly known as the perfect place to explore in Virginia. The Capital Dome, Fairyland Lake, and Grotto of Nativity are just a few of the special features Skyline Caverns offers.

  • Address: 10344 Stonewall Jackson Hwy, Front Royal, VA 22630, United States
  • Website: Skyline Caverns
  • Phone number: +1 540-635-4545
  • Entrance fee: $24 per person, $12 for children between ages 7 to 12, and free for children below 6.
  • Google Maps link: Skyline Caverns

Grand Caverns

Grand Caverns is your ideal place if you are on the hunt for the oldest and coolest Virginia caverns. It boasts some of the most incredible formations, including the Bridal Veil, Tapestry Room, Cathedral Hall, Dante’s Inferno, and Stonewall Jackson’s Hore. You may explore other outdoor activities like biking, hiking, picnicking, and swimming in the park.

  • Address: 5 Grand Cavern Rd, Grottoes, VA 24441, United States
  • Website: Grand Caverns
  • Phone number: +1 540-249-5705
  • Entrance fee: $20 for adults, $11 for children between ages 6-12, and free for children below 5.
  • Google Maps link: Grand Caverns

Caverns at Natural Bridge

The Caverns at Natural Bridge are the deepest commercial show caves in the Shenandoah Valley. It’s one of the popular Virginia attractions with stunning formations, such as the Canyon Room, Mirror Lake, Colossal Dome Room, and Well Room. The caverns also provide habitat to two unique species; the Natural Bridge Isopod and the Natural Bridge Cave Beetle.

The Caverns at Natural Bridge are only open seasonally— from March through November. Cave tours are available on the weekends from December through February.

Dixie Caverns

Dixie Caverns is a lesser-known limestone solution cave in Virginia. The caverns were discovered in 1920 by two farm boys after their dog, Dixie, fell through a hole leading to the caves. The caverns were subsequently named after the dog in honor of his great discovery.

With sights such as the famous bell-shaped formation known as “Wedding Bell,” Dixie is a worthwhile destination. Dixie Caverns is not wheelchair and stroller accessible due to the staircases. The cavern is open to guests year-round.

Endless Caverns

The Endless Caverns is a limestone solutional cave located south of New Market, Virginia. According to the tour guides, the cave was discovered in 1879 by two boys trying to lure a rabbit behind an outcropping of limestone rocks. The boys found a hole in the ground while losing stones to flush the rabbit.

Various shield formations, including the Yosemite and Crock, have formed deep inside the Endless Caverns. Other formations inside the cavern include The Blue Room, The Cathedral Room, and Curtain Room.

Natural Tunnel State Park

Natural Tunnel State Park is a huge, naturally formed cave discovered in 1967. It features unique rock formations, such as stalagmites and stalactites. There is also a prominent wide chasm between steep stone walls and numerous pinnacles. Traverse the various cave chambers as you navigate this timeless limestone masterpiece. Visitors can also swim, hike, or camp within the park.

Gap Caverns

Situated inside the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Gap Caverns ranks among the best caverns in Virginia. The cavern has fantastic dripstone formations and six unique entrances, which include the Soldiers Cave Entrance, the Stream Entrance, and the Gap Cave Entrance.

Gap Caverns is among the few caves lit by lanterns, giving the place a neat vintage vibe you might not witness elsewhere. Guided tours take around 2 hours in total. You will come across a Gurgling Stalactite, also known as the “Talking Stalactite,” that makes funny sounds likened to those produced by frogs or crickets. In the real sense, the sound is produced by falling water.

Final Thoughts

Exploring Virginia caves and caverns is popular for group visits and solo travelers. Most of the caves mentioned are located in Virginia’s spectacular Shenandoah Valley region and are accessible year-round.

There’s something for everyone on these Virginia’s caverns- whether you’re a nature-lover, a history buff, a photographer, a hiker, an adventurer, a birdwatcher, a cyclist, or simply someone who enjoys visiting an incredible setting for a memorable time with family and friends.

Top image: piet theisohn via Flickr / Creative Commons.

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