Located in Florida’s panhandle and just outside the city of Marianna, is Florida Caverns State Park. This is the only state park in Florida where visitors can take a guided tour through a cave system and see limestone formations that are more than 30 million years old. Visitors will be able to see stalactites, stalagmites, columns and flowstone.
The main attraction of the park are the caves, also known as the Marianna Caverns. Millions of years ago, the area was submerged under water and as sea levels dropped, the caverns were formed. Inside the caverns, impressive formations can be found along with some shells and coral. If you’re lucky, you may also see some local residents like blind crayfish, cave salamanders, mice, crickets, and even bats!
During our tour of the caverns, we didn’t see any of these little creatures but the formations were enough to keep us captivated. Our guide was great and he told us about the history of the park itself and the geological history of the caves. We went along from one cave room to another oohing and aahing.
It’s an easy walk through the caverns, but we recommend wearing sneakers as you will be going down some steps and there are wet spots. You may also want to consider bringing a sweater since the caves are a cool 65 degrees year round. Should anyone in your group not feel comfortable going into the caverns, the Visitors Center provides an audio-visual tour of the cave and surrounding nature trails.
Hiking And Other Outdoor Activities
Speaking of nature trails, Florida Caverns State Park has two nature trails that leave from the visitor center. These trails are open to foot traffic only, but there are some other multi-use trails where you can walk, bike, or go horseback riding. As you explore the several miles of trails, you’re able to see beautiful giant trees, flowers, sinkholes, and rivers.
Besides nature trails, the park also offers boating, camping, fishing, horseback riding, and geocaching. We also recommend spending some time in the Visitor Center. There’s a small museum and great information inside.
Pro Tip:Check out these other great Florida hikes!
More On Florida Caverns State Park
Here is some additional information on Florida Caverns State Park that you may find useful:
- The park is open seven days a week year-round, including holidays. Hours are from 8am to sundown.
- Admission is $5 per vehicle.
- Cave tours cost $8 for anyone over age 13. Ages 3 to 12 pay $5.
- Cave tours are done on a first-come first-serve basis, so during busier seasons we recommend calling ahead.
- Cave tours are done every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Snacks and drinks can be purchased at the Visitor Center
We really enjoyed our visit to Florida Caverns State Park. It’s just north of I-10 so it’s easy to get to, it’s inexpensive, and the natural beauty of the caverns and surrounding forest will leave you mesmerized.
Article was written by Vicky Sosa or Buddy the Traveling Monkey
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