Going off the grid brings a sort of adrenaline that cannot be found elsewhere, and caving in Florida is the ticket to your next big adventure.
What is caving like in the Sunshine State? Florida is commonly known by adventurists for its wide variety of caverns, such as:
|Devil’s Den||5390 NE 180 Ave, Williston, FL 32696||29.4071° N, 82.4760° W|
|Ginnie Springs||7300 Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, FL 32643||29.8343° N, 82.7024° W|
|Blue Grotto Dive Resort||3852 NE 172 Court, Williston, FL 32448||29.3879° N, 82.4865° W|
|Florida Caverns State Park||3345 Caverns Road, Marianna, FL 32448||30.8130° N, 85.2318° W|
|Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park||18081 185th Road, Live Oak, FL 32327||30.0737° N, 83.0810° W|
|Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park||465 Wakulla Park Drive, Wakulla Springs, FL 32327||30.2335° N, 84.3052° W|
|Leon Sinks Geological Area||2564 Wildflower Road, Tallahassee, FL 32305||30.3158° N, 84.3515° W|
|Weeki Wachee Springs State Park||6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL 34606||28.5175° N, 82.5726° W|
|Warren’s cave||Alachua County||29.7155° N, 82.4787° W|
|Dames Cave||Trail 22, Lecanto, FL 34461||28.7093° N, 82.4513° W|
|Peace Cave||Co Rd 491, Lecanto, FL 34461||28.7116° N, 82.4452° W|
|Morrison Springs County Park||874 Morrison Springs Road, Ponce De Leon, FL 32455||30.6577° N, 85.9046° W|
|Diepolder Cave||11210 Cortez Blvd, Brooksville, FL 34613||28.3140° N, 82.3144° W|
Florida contains a diverse mix of caves just waiting for the brave at heart to explore. Deciding which cave to choose can be hard, especially if your time is limited. Understanding spelunking as a sport, which caves to explore in Florida, and what different types of caving there are can make all the difference between a wasted vacation and a well-spent holiday. Spelunking is a recreational activity for everyone who enjoys an adventure, but what about caving in Florida? Here are some facts about caving, caving in Florida, and the best places to visit.
Where To Go Caving In Florida
Now for the real news- where are the best places to go caving in Florida? As mentioned previously, spelunking in the Sunshine State is quite different from most other locations- meaning that a lot of caving is underwater. Since Florida is comprised of so many underground springs, caverns, and tunnels, it is helpful to know the best locations to visit according to visitor experience, as Orlando Weekly and VacationIdea have listed.
Here are the best caves, sinkholes and underground bodies of water to visit while exploring Florida beneath the surface (in no particular order):
Devil’s Den is a privately owned cave containing an underground river. This cave is commonly known as a snorkeling and scuba site; not only do they offer scuba diving, but scuba training as well. While getting to explore some of the caves most beautiful features, this training will also equip all customers with the expertise needed to go on an adventure somewhere else!
This cave was once an underground river whose roof collapsed, revealing the river through the hole and thus creating the cave. This cavernous river is a temperature of about 70 degrees year-round, thus in the winter, passersby can see the smoke issuing from beneath the surface, dubbing the cave with the name Devils Den because it was said to look like a “chimney from Hell.”
This cave is specifically aimed towards scuba and snorkeling and is not available for open swimming or exploring without a guide.
- Located at: 5390 NE 180 Ave, Williston, FL 32696
- Coordinates: 29.4071° N, 82.4760° W
Ginnie Springs is home to an immense underwater cave system. It is known as one of the most beautiful springs in the state due to its clear underground stream. The park is privately owned and is located near the Santa Fe River next to High Springs town.
This is a divers dream with water temperatures at 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, allowing for an enjoyable diving experience for beginners and experts alike. Visitors have the opportunity to swim, tube, kayak, canoe, SCUBA dive, or cave dive, truly an experience for the whole family. Equipment is available for rent upon request; please see the website for more details.
- Located at: 7300 Ginnie Springs Road, High Springs, FL 32643
- Coordinates: 29.8343° N, 82.7024° W
Blue Grotto Dive Resort
Blue Grotto is a beautiful clear water cavern and is the largest located in the Williston area, where freshwater springs are in abundance.
This large, clear water-filled sinkhole is open to certified SCUBA divers who can come and explore the depths of the cave as deep as 100 feet. Though others might wish to visit the cave, diving is only available for those trained in SCUBA diving.
- Located at: 3852 NE 172 Court, Williston, FL 32448
- Coordinates: 29.3879° N, 82.4865° W
Florida Caverns State Park
Florida Caverns is home to some of Florida’s only dry, underground caves found in one of their state parks. Its immense caverns offer an unforgettable experience as you explore the wonder of these underground cave systems. Found beneath the surface in this limestone cave are some of nature’s most beautiful displays: stalagmites, stalactites, flowstone, and columns.
Guided tours are available; visitors also might wish to partake in some of the state parks activities as well, which include camping, hiking, fishing, and more.
- Located at: 3345 Caverns Road, Marianna, FL 32448
- Coordinates: 30.8130° N, 85.2318° W
Florida Caverns Trail System
Florida Caverns Trail System is located inside the state park where the Florida Caverns is located. Most visitors are so excited to visit the caverns that they so easily overlook the other beauties nearby. Anyone who is interested in visiting Florida Caverns should take a minute to check out these other sweet trails so close by.
This location contains short hiking trails along the limestone bluffs inside the park. Quite unlike any other hike in the area, this unique activity offers some of the park’s most beautiful sights and is a definite must for anyone already in the area for the Caverns.
Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park
Wes Skiles Peacock Springs is comprised of two springs and six sinkholes in pristine condition. The cave took on the name of the explorer Wes Skiles and is one of the world’s largest underwater cave systems.
Visitors have the opportunity to explore as deep as 30,000 feet beneath the surface of this immense underwater system. Of course, the state park also offers recreational activities on land for those who wish to stay dry.
- Located at: 18081 185th Road, Live Oak, FL 32327
- Coordinates: 30.0737° N, 83.0810° W
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
As one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world, Wakulla Springs takes the cake for cave exploration in Florida. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, the underground system made a name for itself as it was commonly used for movie sets.
Visitors have the opportunity to SCUBA dive, snorkel, or swim as they explore the waterways and sinkholes beneath the surface.
Apart from the spring, the park has a lot to offer as well, like riverboat tours that give each visitor the opportunity to view the wildlife.
- Located at: 465 Wakulla Park Drive, Wakulla Springs, FL 32327
- Coordinates: 30.2335° N, 84.3052° W
Leon Sinks Geological Area
Leon Sinks is a recreational area that is home to some extraordinary limestone tunnels, sinkholes, and caverns. This location is perfect for the adventurist who is anxious for a little caving but desires numerous options for exploration since the area includes a variety of tunnels and caverns, all ranging in sizes.
As part of the Apalachicola National Forest, the area also includes numerous other recreational activities such as hiking trails and picnic areas.
- Located at: 2564 Wildflower Road, Tallahassee, FL 32305
- Coordinates: 30.3158° N, 84.3515° W
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Weeki Wachee contains the United States’ deepest freshwater cave system, offering visitors a unique and unforgettable experience.
These springs are widely recognized for their mermaid theatrics. On-site, there is an underwater stage where visitors can come and watch as the performers put on their own rendition of the Little Mermaid in their underwater theater that can seat up to 400!
The fame of this location has grown, so be sure to plan ahead as the site tends to attract large crowds.
- Located at: 6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL 34606
- Coordinates: 28.5175° N, 82.5726° W
Warren’s cave is the longest dry cave in Florida, containing 4 miles of passageways and tunnels. A real dream come true for anyone seeking a caving adventure. It’s long, tight, and winding tunnels are undeveloped (no handrails or walkways) allowing each adventurer to explore to their heart’s content in the cave’s natural setting.
Warren’s cave was discovered in 1830 and has since become an underground phenomenon in the area, offering a unique caving experience within its historic caverns. This location is mostly available to individuals who have some caving experience; the conditions are rather strenuous and can be difficult for anyone new to the sport.
- Located in: Alachua County
- Coordinates: 29.7155° N, 82.4787° W
Dames Cave is a locally recognized adventure spot, meaning it is not very well known to the rest of the public. Located within the Withlacoochee State Forest, the entrance can be hard to find. However, using the coordinates provided below, anyone should be able to find its exact location.
Dames cave is only about 15 feet deep, but the hike up makes for a great family adventure or just a quick trip to a beautiful spot. Once at the opening of Dames Cave, there are other caves that seem to be connected to one another, all accessible depending on climbing experience.
This site attracts guests of all skill levels and offers a fun experience without much of the risk or time required for some of the more intricate caves.
- Located at: Trail 22, Lecanto, FL 34461
- Coordinates: 28.7093° N, 82.4513° W
Located just a short way from Dames Cave is another fun yet easy caving site. Peace cave is the perfect spot for the whole family to have a little fun. This cave, though smaller in stature than some of the others, offers a great little adventure without any planning or stress.
Since the cave offers such easy access to any passerby, vandalism and neglect can often litter the walls and ground of the cave. This, of course, does not ruin the experience, but be aware it is not an untouched gem as many of the other caves are.
- Located at: Co Rd 491, Lecanto, FL 34461
- Coordinates: 28.7116° N, 82.4452° W
Morrison Springs County Park
Morrison Springs County Park contains, beneath its surface, a natural freshwater spring pool 250 feet in diameter; the pool is comprised of three cavities with the deepest going down as far as 300 feet.
This site attracts guests of all skill levels and ages as it offers diving, snorkeling, and swimming.
- Located at: 874 Morrison Springs Road, Ponce De Leon, FL 32455
- Coordinates: 30.6577° N, 85.9046° W
Located beneath the Sand Hill Scout Reservation, lies one of Florida’s most unseen beauties the Diepolder Caves. This former ranch is now a Boy Scout facility, containing everything from cabins and campsites to a dining hall and pool area. Within its grounds are many lakes and pools, two of them vastly different from the others.
Back in 1978, a man by the name of Will Waters discovered that Diepolder II was none other than a cave with its depths going as far as 360 feet beneath the surface- the United States deepest underwater cave.
Beneath the depths of these ponds lies a most unique experience waiting for any diving/caving expert to explore. However, not just anyone is allowed to dive into the waters; they require each diver to have proof of at least 100 cave dives and have the certifications to match.
This site offers an opportunity for the brave, one that will surely not be forgotten.
- Located at: 11210 Cortez Blvd, Brooksville, FL 34613
- Coordinates: 28.3140° N, 82.3144° W
Florida is comprised of some of the most breathtaking underground systems known in the United States. It could take weeks or more to discover and explore each of the unique caves, tunnels, and caverns located beneath its limestone surface. For those who may prefer dry caving or do not have diving experience- now might be the time to learn! These sites are not something that any caving enthusiast should miss out on.
What types of caves are there?
Those who are not caving experts may not be aware of the fact that there are different types of caves, all providing a different experience while caving. Here is a list of the different types of caves in the world:
Primary Caves: This type of cave is formed at the same time as the rock around it; the most common type of Primary Cave is the lava tube. The lava tube is formed when lava flows downhill, creeps beneath the surface, cools, and solidifies. When the lava seeps beneath the surface, it forges through the ground and leaves behind a sort of hollow tunnel, primarily known as the lava tube.
Sea Caves: The sea cave, or littoral cave, is formed by erosion due to the continual crashing of waves from the sea. These caves are found along coastlines across the globe.
Glacier Caves: These caves are formed by the melting of ice and the flow of water beneath a glacier. This forms long tunnels between the glacier and the ground and is formed at the mouth of the glacier, allowing space for admittance beneath.
Solution Caves (the most common in Florida): This is the most popular and most common cave, the Solution Cave, also known as a karst cave. They are formed by the erosion of the limestone due to acidic water. These caves are generally comprised of limestone though they can also be made up of dolomite, gypsum, chalk, marble, and salt. Limestone caves are some of the most beautiful and are home to some beautiful cave formations, such as stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones, and soda straws. These caves also often contain underground bodies of water; some are even completely enveloped in water, and in Florida, the underwater caves are the most common.
Why Go Caving In Florida?
The whole of Florida lays on top of a limestone plateau, and as mentioned above, the most common caves are made up of limestone. This creates a very unique experience and means that Florida has a lot of opportunity for exploration beneath its surface and a very diverse selection of caving. Though dry caves may be more sparse in this area, their underground water systems and caves are some of the most beautiful any caving expert will experience.
Another plus to caving in Florida is the diverse options of site seeing, apart from spelunking. On vacation with family or friends, it can be hard to please everyone if some are unable to go spelunking, but in Florida, there is something for everyone! From beach time to swimming in the ocean, to visiting the local shops, Florida has a lot more to offer than just a large selection of caves.
Florida’s Underground Adventure’s
The United States is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and intricate cave systems. The Sunshine State alone adds some of the most beautiful caves to this long list and is known for its surplus of underwater caves.
As the majority of Florida’s cave systems are underground, it does offer a different experience for the caving expert who is more accustomed to dry cave exploration. Without a shadow of a doubt, caving in Florida will give every adventurist the experience of a lifetime.