10 Best Caves in Florida
Some of Florida's most treasured and impressive natural wonders are beautiful and mysterious caves. Many of the caves are breathtaking underwater caverns created by springs and underwater rivers. These underwater caves rank highly on the bucket lists of numerous SCUBA divers. The water is cool year round and is perfect for diving, snorkeling, and swimming.
While most of the caves on our list are underwater caverns, there are a couple of air-filled caves, including Florida Cavern's State Park, which is the only dry cave to offer tours, and Warren's Cave, which is a long, undeveloped cave perfect for the adventurous spelunker. Photo: miya33/Fotolia
»Blue Grotto, Williston
Blue Grotto is the largest of many clear water caverns in the Williston area, which is known for a having a particularly high concentration of freshwater springs. Blue Grotto, a large sinkhole filled with clear water, mainly attracts SCUBA divers. Blue Grotto has two areas, one of which is the Cavern. Here, divers can explore down to 100 feet. This is the most popular dive site. The Blue Grotto Cave is also open, but only to certified cave divers, and the site is specifically dedicated to SCUBA divers. Divers must accompany any swimmers and snorkelers who wish to enter. The site offers a unique dive site with permanent guidelines, a submerged air bell, underwater lights, and more.
Contact: 3852 NE 172 Ct., Williston, FL 32696
Photo: Lawrence Cruciana/Fotolia
»Devil's Den, Williston
Devil's Den is an underwater cavern in Williston. The roof of an underground river collapsed to form a window, exposing the river to the open air and resulting in the cave's formation. The cave is privately owned, and it is used for recreational activities, especially SCUBA diving and SCUBA training. Due to the water being underground, it remains at a constant temperature of 72 degrees. However, when the outside weather is cold, steam rises from the water's surface, causing early visitors to suggest it looked like a chimney from Hell – hence the memorable name. Only scuba divers and snorkelers are able to visit the cave on guided visits; it is not open to the public for general swimming.
Contact: 5390 NE 180 Avenue, Williston, FL 32696
»Florida Caverns State Park
Florida Caverns is one of the state's only state parks with dry caves. It is also the only state park in Florida that offers public tours of the caves. The cavern has stunning rock formations, including limestone stalagmites and stalactites, flowstones, soda straws, draperies, and more. The park that the caverns are a part of has a full range of recreational activities; some of the most popular include picnicking, camping, hiking, fishing, and horseback riding. There is also a 9-hole golf course. Visitors can take guided tours of the Florida Cavern itself. The tour takes about 45 minutes and is somewhat strenuous.
Contact: 3345 Caverns Road, Marianna, FL
»Weeki Wachee Springs
One of the most unique underwater caves on this list, Weeki Wachee Springs is known for its beautiful mermaids that swim in the clear and cool waters. Visitors can watch as the mermaids perform a version of the Little Mermaid in their 400-seat underwater auditorium. Nearby, Buccaneer Bay is the only spring-fed waterpark in the state and features a sandy beach, swimming area, and waterslides. There are also riverboat cruises and a range of other attractions. These particular springs often reach capacity most clear summer days, so if you hope to visit during this time, you should plan to arrive before the park opens.
Contact: 6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL 34606
Photo: Stacey Lynn Payne/Fotolia
Wakulla Springs, FL is one of the deepest and largest freshwater springs on the planet. The spring is preserved as part of Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. The park has a large variety of wildlife, including turtles, alligators, birds, manatees, and deer. There are guided riverboat tours offered daily that give visitors the chance to get a close look at a variety of wildlife. Many visitors come here for swimming in the warmer months. Other activities include bicycling, picnicking, scuba diving, hiking, and more. Amenities and services range from bathrooms and picnic tables to food and concessions offered for sale.
Contact: 465 Wakulla Park Drive, Crawfordville, FL 32327
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Photo: Ruth P. Peterkin/Fotolia
Morrison Springs State Park is a 161-acre state park whose 250-foot natural freshwater springs are its most prominent feature. The springs are popularly used for swimming and diving. There are also wheelchair-accessible boardwalks overlooking the springs for those who wish to enjoy the view without getting wet. The spring pool has a sandy bottom with three cavities at the bottom, the deepest of which goes down 300 feet. Divers, swimmers, and snorkelers can visit the park freely, as it is open to the public. There is a floating dock reserved for diver use. A boat ramp provides access to the river a bit downstream of the springs. The park has recently added picnic and restroom facilities.
Contact: 874 Morrison Springs Road, Ponce De Leon, FL 32455
Photo: Irina K./Fotolia
»Peacock Springs State Park
Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park is a 733-acre state park named after explorer, diver, photographer, and cinematographer Wes Skiles. The park features two main springs and six sinkholes in near perfect condition. Peacock Springs is home to one of the largest underwater cave systems in the world, and cave divers come from all over the globe to explore more than 30,000 feet of underwater passages at the park. Visitors are allowed to snorkel in Orange Grove Sink and Peacock Springs. If you prefer to stay dry, the park offers a range of other recreational activities, including hiking trails, picnicking facilities watching wildlife, and more.
Contact: 18081 185th Road, Live Oak, FL 32060
Photo: Lawrence Cruciana/Fotolia
Ginnie Springs is a privately owned park along the Santa Fe River near the town of High Springs. The springs are some of the clearest in the state. The water stays at a constant 72-degrees and is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, SCUBA diving, and cave diving. The park has both primitive and electric campsites, picnic areas, and more. The park is open year round for recreational use. A variety of equipment is available for rent at the campground, including canoes, kayaks, snorkels, masks, and other gear to help you make the most of your visit to the springs.
Contact: 7300 Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, FL 32643
Photo: Ginnie Springs
Warren's cave is a dry, air-filled cave in Alachua County. The cave is the longest such dry cave in the state and has more than four miles of explored passages. The cave is located near the San Falasco Hammock Preserve State Park, but the cave is actually accessed by an entrance in the Warren Cave Nature Preserve in Alabama. The cave features some long and very tight passages, including an especially gnarly one called the Red Streak. The cave is undeveloped and does not feature walkways, handrails, or any other things to make it easier to explore. It is best for visitors to have some experience in caving if they want to explore it.
Contact: Alachua County, FL 32653
»Leon Sinks Geological Area
Leon Sinks Geological Area, part of the Apalachicola National Forest, is a wilderness area with approximately five miles of hiking trails. The trails lead to a series of sinkholes of various sizes. The land in the Leon Sinks area has a layer of limestone underneath that has been eroded over the years by rainfall and groundwater, which has made it prone to forming caverns, tunnels, and holes of various sizes. The area is open for day use only and features minimal amenities such as interpretive signs, toilets, and drinking fountains. There are also picnic tables available if you wish to bring along a meal to enjoy in the outdoors.
Contact: Highway 319, Tallahassee, FL 32305
Photo: Irina K./Fotolia
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10 Best Caves in Florida
- Blue Grotto, Williston, Photo: Courtesy of Lawrence Cruciana - Fotolia.com
- Devil's Den, Williston, Photo: Courtesy of InPhoGallery - Fotolia.com
- Florida Caverns State Park, Photo: Courtesy of M&K - Fotolia.com
- Weeki Wachee Springs, Photo: Courtesy of Stacey Lynn Payne - Fotolia.com
- Wakulla Springs, Photo: Courtesy of Ruth P. Peterkin - Fotolia.com
- Morrison Springs, Photo: Courtesy of Irina K. - Fotolia.com
- Peacock Springs State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Lawrence Cruciana - Fotolia.com
- Ginnie Springs, Photo: Ginnie Springs
- Warren's Cave, Photo: Courtesy of mulderphoto - Fotolia.com
- Leon Sinks Geological Area, Photo: Courtesy of Irina K. - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of miya33 - Fotolia.com
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