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Did you know that Tennessee has the most caves in the United States? Perhaps you have heard that Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky has the world’s longest cave system. But these two southern states aren’t the only ones with underground wonders; Florida also has its own unique caves.
Scuba divers, snorkelers, and cavers enjoy exploring these secret worlds. Let’s take a look at five caves in Florida where intrigue, beauty, and history abound.
Let’s dive in!
What Is Florida Known For?
When you think of Florida, you probably don’t think of caves. Instead, you imagine white, sandy beaches, alligators swimming in the Everglades, or rockets launching along the Space Coast.
Or maybe you think of oranges, princesses, or Latin culture. Whether you vacation in the Keys or watch a game in Jacksonville, the Sunshine State seems to have something for everyone.
Are There Caves in Florida?
But even though your first thought may not be to explore the caves in Florida, there are a handful of underground worlds worth visiting on your next road trip. There might not be hundreds of miles of caves like there are beaches, but you’ll discover a few stunners bound to inspire and fill you with awe.
Is It Safe to Visit Caves?
Before we continue, let’s mention that it’s never safe to venture into a cave without a guide unless you’re an experienced spelunker. The U.S. Forest Service offers a few tips to keep you safe when exploring caves.
First, never go alone. It’s best to have at least four people so that should something happen, two people can get help while two people remain in the cave.
Just like you tell someone where you’re hiking and when you’ll return, you should do the same with caving. You’ll also want to bring water and snacks. You need to wear appropriate footwear, layers, and a hard hat. Finally, always carry a first aid kit and at least three light sources.
Caves that are tourist attractions are monitored much more frequently than remote caves. They are fairly safe even though there are inherent risks of traveling underground. But this is the case with any outdoor recreational activity, from hiking to ATV riding to paddling.
5 Best Caves in Florida You Should Visit
The next time you plan a trip to the Sunshine State, see how far you are from these five caves in Florida. If you visit the panhandle, Morrison Springs Park and Florida Caverns State Park sit about an hour apart.
If you’re catching a Florida Gators football game in Gainesville, Warren’s Cave is only about 20 minutes northwest of campus. Let’s dive in and look more closely at five caves in Florida you should visit.
1. Morrison Springs Park
One of the most popular diving spots in the entire state, Morrison Springs sits in the Florida panhandle near Ponce de Leon. There are boardwalks overlooking the springs, a boat ramp, and a diving dock. The park is 161 acres and includes a 250-foot diameter spring pool where swimmers enjoy the warm waters.
This pool is about 300 feet deep, but underground caves invite divers to explore beyond this depth. Even if you don’t scuba dive, Morrison Springs Park is a great place to relax and enjoy the day.
2. Florida Caverns State Park
Cave tours at Florida Caverns State Park are offered daily during the summer and Thursday through Monday during the off-season. Tickets for children aged 3 to 12 cost $8, and adult tickets cost $15.
During the tour, guests walk through narrow passageways and under low ceilings to 350 feet below the ground. Visitors will see all the typical cave formations, like stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and flowstones.
Keep in Mind: One of the most famous caves is Carlsbad Caverns. But what’s so special about it? Let’s dive in and see!
3. Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park
Cave divers travel to Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park’s 33,000 feet of underwater passages year after year. This park requires divers to have specialized training in cave diving to maintain safety.
No solo diving is permitted. Named caves include the Crypt, where the skeletal remains of a turtle are found, and the Breakdown Room, where rocks have broken off the ceiling. Like Morrison Springs Park, visitors who don’t go diving can enjoy the warm waters of the springs.
4. Warren’s Cave
Warren’s Cave is the longest dry cave in Florida, with more than four miles of passageways. This is an unimproved cave with no railings, walkways, or lights. It’s not for beginner spelunkers.
Located on the Warren Cave Nature Preserve just north of Gainesville, Warren’s Cave requires cavers to know the Single Rope Technique and how to navigate tight squeezes. The cave is gated, but visitors are allowed.
5. Devil’s Den
Finally, Devil’s Den features four underwater passages. This privately owned spring is open daily and allows snorkeling and scuba diving. Swimming isn’t permitted. Children must be at least six years old to snorkel, they do not need certification.
All snorkelers have access to the spring for 90 minutes and must make reservations. On the other hand, scuba divers must have Open Water certification and a dive buddy. You don’t need a reservation to go scuba diving.
Read More: Think you could survive a swim in the Devil’s Den Spring? Learn more about why the Devil’s Den Spring should be on your Florida itinerary!
Florida Isn’t Just the Sunshine State, Explore Its Underground Treasures
These five caves in Florida are worth adding to your road trip itinerary. Although some of the caves require visitors to have special certifications or caving experience, most of these caves are near other attractions where you can enjoy an entire day of outdoor recreation.
Go swim at Morrison Springs Park or rent a canoe at Florida Caverns State Park. Take the family for a snorkeling adventure at Devil’s Den or a walk along the interpretive trail at Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park.
Will you visit one of these caves in Florida on your next trip to the Sunshine State?