A dip into Florida’s only show cave at Florida Caverns State Park brings on an instant sense of cool. Opened in Marianna in the 1930s by the hardworking Civilian Conservation Corps, the tour route wraps through more than a dozen rooms with their own distinct and colorful landscapes.
Fees: $4-5 vehicle. Cave tours $4-8.
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome
Cave tours Thu-Mon, excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It’s a live cave, dripping water from the stalactites above. Landmarks have names like Fat Man’s Squeeze, the Wedding Room, and the Cathedral, and geologic beauty emerges as rimstone pools, delicate soda straws, pure sparkling calcite, helicitites, and cave bacon.
Above ground, the park is just as fascinating. It includes Florida’s only hiking trail that goes through a cave (hint: you can see the light at the end of the tunnel), rugged karst landscapes with tall trees and delicate Appalachian-style wildflowers. Accessible paved paths loop through some of these gorgeous habitats, but the boulder-strewn climbs are much fun.
At the north end of the park, there’s Blue Hole, a spring to swim in (when open). Paddlers can head upriver on the Upper Chipola River Paddling Trail, a challenging but rewarding route; downriver, the river vanishes beneath a natural bridge. The park offers a large campground, lushly set in the hilly woods, and many miles of multi-use trails. Add in the adjoining 9-hole golf course built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s – adjacent to, but not a park of the park, just south of the park entrance – and there’s plenty here to fill a long weekend.
Explore the park
- Boulders and blossoms at Florida Caverns - Looking for a compelling wildflower walk? One of Florida's showiest parades of wildflowers clings to the bluffs at Florida Caverns State Park.
- Caverns Trail System - Most people come to see the stalactites and stalagmites at Florida’s only show cave. But the hiking’s even weirder at Florida Caverns State Park, home of Florida's only hiking trail through a cave.