Florida Caverns State Park located near Marianna, Florida, just north of I-10 is one of Florida’s premier state parks. The only state park cave tour available and one of the few dry air caves in the state, Florida Caverns is an awe inspiring cave with formations of limestone stalagmites, stalactites, soda straws, flowstones and draperies. A 45 minute tour takes you through the well-light formations with a park ranger. Camping, swimming, canoeing, fishing and hiking are also available at this great Florida state park.
In 1937, a hurricane ripped through Marianna, upturning trees, knocking down power lines and bathing the state awash in rain. Fortunately for us, that also meant upturning a particular giant oak tree. That oak tree was discovered by Oliver Chalifeaux who surveyed the damage to the property. To his astonishment, a large cavern had opened beneath the tree to reveal what is know today as on of Florida’s greatest natural wonders.
Guided tours run just about everyday except Tuesdays and Wednesdays and holidays. For just $5 you can enter the park for its many amenities. For just another $8 per adult and $5 per child, you can take a park ranger guided tour through the caverns.
Once you’re done exploring the wonders of the caves, there is plenty to do and see at Florida Caverns State Park. Bicycling is popular as well as hiking and horseback riding on the many trails that zigzag through the park. The ranger station and concession have trail maps available.
Bring your canoe or kayak! This park has some great opportunities to launch your boat into the Chipola River and wonderful whitewater opportunities as well. Just be careful as the Chipola River can get rough and isn’t recommended for beginners. Canoe rentals are available for $15 and up to those who don’t have their own boat.
Once you’re done with the daylight hours, stay and camp at this full-facility 1,319 acre, 35 site campground. Electric and water hookups are available for RV’s and tents alike. For those who like seclusion, three tent-only sites are located at the campground as well. No RV’s over 40 feet and pets are always welcome.
Horseback riding is also very popular among the many trails throughout the park. A stable is located at three RV/tent sites for the ultimate in equestrian camping.
Concessions and a restaurant top off all of the wonderful amenities at this great Florida state park. A souvenir shop is also located near the historic visitor’s center, built in the late 30’s by the depression era CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). For more info on this fantastic Florida Park, visit the Florida Caverns State Park Official Website for more details.