Cave Guides
Ultimate Guide to Florida Caverns State Park, Florida (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

Ultimate Guide to Florida Caverns State Park, Florida (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

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North Florida is known for its impressive beaches, but there is so much more to explore in the ‘Sunshine State.’ Anyone looking for a fun and educational day trip would find the Florida Caverns State Park as an ideal destination. It is the only state park in Florida that offers cave tours to the public and is a popular place for camping, fishing, horseback riding, and hiking. 

Florida Caverns State Park Cover Image

The park suffered extensive damages from Hurricane Michael in 2018. It has recovered remarkably well from this, and visitors continue to enjoy the park with the same enthusiasm as they used to do before. The guided tour through the caverns is one of the main highlights of this beautiful park, and people also love to hike on the trails and canoe on the Chipola River. Visiting Florida Caverns State Park is undoubtedly one of the outstanding experiences available in the state. 

History of Florida Caverns State Park

The land on which a large part of Florida Caverns State Park is located was acquired on October 11, 1935. The development work on the property had begun before the area was established as a state park. Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Project Administration completed the work on the tour cave and various structures within the park premises. Both these groups resulted from the New Deal that was established in 1933 by President Roosevelt to give jobs to men during the Great Depression. 

A lot of effort and work was made to develop the park and the caves until 1942. The US joined WWII, and funding was stopped for the CCC and WPA. The Florida Caverns State Park was officially opened to the public in 1942, and the park has undergone many changes since then. When you take a walk around the 1300-acre park, you will come across a beautiful Visitor Center, a gift shop, a museum, remnants of a fish hatchery, a 9-hole golf course, and lots more. 

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Geological Cave Formations

There are around 40 caves in Florida Caverns State Park. But the cavern that is available for the tour has a series of connected rooms. The rooms have beautiful formations of stalagmites, stalactites, columns, and numerous other fascinating features. These were created when water seeped through the limestone rock and dissolved the calcium. When water laden with calcium dripped from the cracks in the ceiling, stalactites formed.

The stalactites grew down from the ceiling, and the calcium-laden water that dripped from the stalactites formed the stalagmites below. The stalagmites grow from the cavern floor, and the columns are formed when the stalactites and stalagmites meet each other. Different varied formations in the caverns resemble draperies, soda straws, and ribbons. Some of these formations have been given various names: the wedding cake, bacon rock, and the South American pool. 

Wildlife in Florida Caverns State Park

The caverns at the Florida Caverns State Park are home to crayfish, blind salamanders, and the endangered gray bat. The bats get easily disturbed, so you will not find them in the tour cave. They are present within the several smaller caves in the park. The Endangered Species Act protects the gray bats found in these caves. The other cave-inhabiting animals include cave crickets, cave spiders, and salamanders. 

The park itself has many exotic plants and animals such as alligator snapping turtles, beavers, woodpeckers, barred owls, etc. The dogwood trees, white oak, and American beech are found throughout the park, and many of these trees have reached an impressive size. 

Is Florida Caverns State Park Haunted?

Florida Caverns State Park is not haunted, but special events for Halloween are organized every year, which are very popular among the locals and visitors. You can take a haunted tram ride, walk along the trail till the zombies catch you, or walk down a scary path for an unknown terror! 

How Big is Florida Caverns State Park?

Florida Caverns State Park is spread over 1300 acres, and the caves comprise around 10 acres of it. 

size of caverns
Photo Credit: Florida State Parks

Florida Caverns State Park Tours

The cave tours are offered on selected days of the week. The tours start at 9 am and are limited to 25 people per tour. These tours tend to fill up rapidly; so, you must come here early. The cave tour tickets can be purchased at the gift shop below the Visitor’s Center; just a short walk away from the parking lot. 

There are a few things you must know before starting the tour. You cannot touch anything inside the caverns as they are sensitive to the oils in your hand, and just a touch can destroy thousands of years of cave growth. So, one must keep his hands off every formation he finds inside the cave. However, there is one formation on this tour that you can touch and feel. 

Artificial lights light the cave, and the guards have heavy-duty flashlights in hand to point out interesting structures. There would be a point when the tour guide would allow you to experience total darkness by turning off all artificial lights. 

There are about 10 to 12 rooms that you will get to explore on the cave tour. Some of these rooms are huge, but some are small, and you might get cramped up! In the tour, there will be many instances when you must stoop or walk under low cave ceilings or walk through narrow passages. You must be prepared to walk through this natural cave as it is not one of those cave tours where you will have paved walkways throughout the caverns, and there will be no handrails too!

The major portion of the caverns in the Florida Caverns State Park is untouched and kept in a pristine natural state so that you can have the best experience. 

Tour Prices and Discounts

The State Park charges a fee of USD 5 for every vehicle and USD 2 for every pedestrian.

The Cavern Tours are offered five times a week from Thursday to Monday (9 am to 4 pm). There are no cavern tours on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

The charges for Cavern Tours are as follows – 

  • Adults (13 years and older) – USD 10.75 pp
  • Child (3 to 12 years) – USD 5 pp
  • Child (2 years and younger) – No Fee

Is Florida Caverns State Park Cold?

The cave is constant 65 degrees F, which feels refreshing in the hot and humid summer months, but you may feel chilly when you enter soaked in summer sweat. If you are sensitive to cooler temperatures, you can bring a light jacket with you to wear on tour. 

What to Wear?

One can wear any clothes he feels comfortable in, but we highly recommend closed-toe shoes as your footwear. The cave has steps that will lead you to the entrance, and the actual tour can be a bit slippery due to the wet conditions. Moving around in the caves becomes much easier if you have appropriate shoes. 

Florida Caverns State Park Hours

The park doors are open from 8 am to sundown on all days of the year. 


What to Do at Florida Caverns State Park (Beside Tours)

The cavern tour at Florida Caverns State Park is the most popular activity. If you want to discover beautiful scenery, you can opt for horseback riding or cycling. There are multi-use trails in the backside of the park that can be accessed by cyclists, hikers, and equestrians. The trail maps are available at the ranger station, and helmets are recommended for all cyclists. 


There is a boat ramp between the entrance station of the park and the family camping area. However, only small boats can be launched from the site, and boaters are encouraged to leisurely tour along the river and enjoy the variety of wildlife on offer. 


It is an outdoor game where participants need to use location coordinates to find caches. Some caches can be easily found, while others are difficult to locate. 


You need to call the Florida Caverns Gift Shop beforehand, as canoe rentals are not always available. The best part of paddling is that you get to witness a wide variety of flora and fauna, such as alligators, herons, and beavers. 


There are five picnic areas strewn throughout the park, and tables and grills are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 


There is a separate swimming area which is around 35 ft deep. Since it is close to the Chipola River, the swimming area may occasionally close due to river flooding. Also, there are no lifeguards on duty here; you can swim here at your own risk. 

Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is a limestone structure built from locally sourced materials. One would find a self-guided museum upstairs with a large variety of exhibits that feature cultural and historical information. There is a video screen in the museum where visitors can watch the entire guided cave tour. 

Best Time to Visit Florida Caverns State Parks

The best time to visit the state park is Spring or Fall when the temperature becomes more tolerable. However, the temperature in the caverns remains the same throughout the year. 

How to Get to Florida Caverns State Park

Florida Caverns State Park is around 90 minutes northeast of SoWal and north of I-10 in Marianna in Florida. If you are driving down from Tallahassee, take I-10 west to Exit 142 and turn right on Highway 71 N to Highway 90. Turn left and follow the park signs. 

Provide a safe bat habitat
Provide a safe bat habitat!

Hotels near Florida Caverns State Park

There are 38 campsites in the 1300-acre park with electric and water hookups. There is a charge of USD 20 plus tax for using the campgrounds. There is an additional night fee of USD 6.70 reservation charge and USD 7-night fees for your RV, cabin, and bungalow units. If you want to put up in a hotel near the state park, you can choose Residence Hub Inn & Suites or Executive Inn Marianna, as both are less than 5 km from the site. 

Florida Caverns State Park Fun Facts

  • It is the only state park in Florida that has caves. 
  • The deepest part of the cave is around 60 ft below the surface.
  • The park also has a nine-hole, New Deal-era golf course set in the rolling terrain. 
  • The Guided cave tours are available throughout the year except on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. 
  • The majority of the caves are available for scientific research only, while visits to some other caves are only possible with permits from the Florida Park Service. 
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Florida Caverns State Park Details 

  • Length: 1300-acre park with 10 acres of caves (around 30 to 40 caves)
  • Time Recommended: Full Day
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Kid-friendly: Yes
  • Dog-friendly: Allowed, but the dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 ft. 
  • Fees: USD 2 onwards
  • Hours: 8 am to sundown, all days of the year  

Visiting Florida Caverns State Park

Do you need more information before visiting Florida Caverns State Park? Call (850) 526-2650 or email Florida Caverns State Park for an information packet. 

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