If you’re fond of exploring undersea wonders, you’ve probably already heard of popular diving destinations like the Caribbean, the Pacific, the Philippines’ Palawan, and Thailand’s Koh Tao. Depending on your diving experience and location, you may have also seen a few underwater treasures like man-made sculptures and shipwrecks, as well as a variety of marine life, including manta rays, magnificent sharks, and stunning coral reef formations.
Whether you’re an experienced scuba diver or a snorkeling freediver, here’s a location that you may not have been to yet: the beautiful underground caves in Florida.
That’s right. The Sunshine State boasts some very awe-inspiring undersea treasures. You don’t even have to travel far offshore to enjoy breathtaking underwater caverns that were naturally created by springs and underwater rivers. For many scuba divers, these are ideal diving locations as the water is cool and often very clear all year round.
Curious yet? We’ve listed down eight Florida underwater caves that you should check out when you decide to visit the area. After that, you can continue your journey by diving into the famous Gulf of Mexico, which is conveniently located off the west coast.
Must-Visit Underwater Caves in Florida
Devil’s Den, Williston
This famous 60-foot deep prehistoric underground spring is on many divers’ bucket lists. It features a cave den filled with ancient rock formations, fossil beds, and crystal clear waters that await to be discovered by those who are willing to enter the naturally-formed cavern window.
Because the river is mostly underwater, its temperature remains constant at 72°F degrees. Steam rises from the water when the temperature outside the cave is cold, making the cave look like a chimney from hell—hence the memorable name that was given by early settlers.
The best way to visit the Devil’s Den is to book a guided snorkeling or scuba diving tour as it is not open for public swimming.
Leon Sinks Geological Area, Tallahassee
The Leon Sinks Geological Area, which is part of Tallahassee’s Apalachicola National Forest in the northwest Florida Panhandle, may be a wilderness area with miles of nature trails, but they lead to several sinkholes that are worth discovering. You’ll find different sizes of caverns, tunnels, and holes that were formed through the erosion of the Leon Sinks limestone layer over the years.
Enjoy its natural mystery and the sight of rare crustaceans and disappearing streams when you visit the area by day. Locals have definitely made the surrounding area more visitor-friendly, with the addition of basic amenities like drinking fountains, toilets, signs, and picnic tables.
Ginnie Springs, High Springs
If you’re after crystal clear cave waters, you’ll love Ginnie Springs. This privately owned park near the town of High Springs boasts of some of the clearest spring water in Florida. And like the Devil’s Den, the water is always at 72° so it’s perfect for swimming, snorkel diving, boating, tubing, and scuba diving.
Whether you’re a primitive or comfortable camper, the park has areas that can cater to your needs. The park is also open all year round and you’ll find canoes, kayaks, masks, snorkels, and other water gear for rent so you can make the most of your visit.
Peacock Springs State Park, Livek
The Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park, which was named after a local pioneer cave diver and underwater photographer, features one of the largest and longest underwater cave systems in the world. Covering 733 acres of land and water that is home to six large sinkholes and two major springs, it is the only park that is dedicated to cave diving.
Cave divers travel to this part of Florida from all over the globe to snorkel and explore over 28,000 feet of underwater passageways at the park. For those who are planning to stay dry, the park offers many other recreational activities where you can enjoy the outdoors.
Blue Grotto Dive Resort, Williston
Located just a few miles away from the Devil’s Den in the Williston area, the Blue Grotto Dive Resort is known to have the largest and deepest clear water cavern in all of North Florida. It is basically a large crescent-shaped sinkhole with clear freshwater springs that divers of all skill levels simply find irresistible.
It has two areas: the Cavern, which is the most popular dive site that allows explorers to go as deep as 100 feet, and the Cave, which is specifically dedicated to certified scuba cave divers. Swimmers and snorkelers are always accompanied by divers, plus the site has many amenities that cater to the enjoyment and safety of its visitors.
Weeki Wachee Springs, Spring Hill
What sets the Weeki Wachee Springs apart from other underwater caves is its charming performance of “The Little Mermaid” in their underwater auditorium, which seats up to 400. Another way that it allows visitors to enjoy its immaculate spring waters is to provide access to the state’s only spring-fed beach, swimming area, and waterslides in the nearby Buccaneer Bay.
But that’s not all. If you’re planning to stay dry, the area also offers riverboat cruises and land-based attractions. The area sure attracts a lot of people, especially during the summer, so make sure you come early.
Morrison Springs State Park, Ponce de Leon
Also located in northwest Florida, the Morrison Springs State Park is well-known for its extensive underwater cave system with pristine, sandy-bottomed springs and three cavities that go as deep as 300 feet.
The park itself covers up to 161 acres, where you’ll find picnic areas, restrooms, and 250 feet of natural freshwater springs that are open for public swimming and diving. Visitors can even access the nearby Choctawhatchee River via the park’s boat ramp.
Wakulla Springs, Crawfordville
Last but not the least on our list is the Wakulla Springs—one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world. It is protected by the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park and currently houses a large variety of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, manatees, and even birds and deer.
Aside from being a great place for scuba diving and swimming, it’s an activity-packed area where visitors can go on guided riverboat tours, cycling, picnics, hiking, and more.
Which underwater cave destination in Florida would you love to visit first?