Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer Escapes #9 - Florida Caverns State Park

With temperatures rising to around 100 degrees in July and August, a great way to escape the heat and humidity is by going underground.

There are numerous caves and cave tours in the South, Mammoth Cave in Kentucky being the most famous, but only one cave has been opened for tours in Florida. It is found at Florida Caverns State Park in the charming little city of Marianna.

Jackson County, where the park is located, has a large number of caves due to the unique topography of the region. Many of these are located inside the state park, which features guided tours of a magnificent underground wonderland as well as a chance to explore a smaller cave on your own, canoeing on the Chipola River, hiking trails, campsites, equestrian trails, picnic areas and swimming in clear and cold Blue Hole Spring.

The main tour cave was discovered during the late 1930s when Civilian Conservation Corps workers were building the park. A worker happened to look beneath the roots of an overturned tree and found a hole leading down into the caves. Closer inspection revealed a massive networks of caverns with pristine formations and miles of passages.

Guided tours now leave the visitor center five days a week (Thursday through Monday) with no tours being offered on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Visitors can also explore the smaller Tunnel Cave, located down one of the nature trails, on their own.

To learn more, please visit

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