FLORIDA CAVERNS STATE PARK
This is one of the few state parks with dry (air filled) caves and is the only Florida state park to offer cave tours to the public. The cave has dazzling formations of limestone stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, flowstones, and draperies. Florida Caverns is also popular for camping, swimming, fishing, picnicking, canoeing, boating, hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding (The park does not rent horses.). Stables are available for equestrian campers. Guided cave tours are offered every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas. The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and is considered to be moderately strenuous. An audiovisual program, touring the cave and other natural areas of the park, is available in the visitor center. Located three miles north of Marianna on State Road 166.
Located in Marianna, Florida, the park was established in 1935. It is known for its limestone caves and natural beauty.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) developed it during the Great Depression as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal program.
It officially opened to public visitation on June 16th, 1942. The CCC's work included creating trails through caverns and constructing buildings onsite.
In addition to cave tours, visitors can enjoy hiking trails along floodplain forests or canoeing down Chipola River since early days.
Hurricane Michael caused extensive damage in October 2018 leading to temporary closure but has now been reopened after restoration efforts.
Annual Entrance Passes can be purchased at all park ranger stations and museums. If you require immediate use of your pass, this is the best option. Passes can be purchased during regular business hours 365 days a year. Please call the park in advance to ensure availability. Those who are eligible for discounted or free passes may use this method to receive their pass. Annual Entrance Passes may be purchased online by visiting the FLORIDA STATE PARKS ANNUALENTRANCE PASSES
Full Hookup Sitesyes
This 1,319-acre park has 38 campsites with electric and water hookups available for reservation through Reserve America.
The youth camp is designed to accommodate organized groups, young and old alike. The setting allow all a chance to experience primitive group camping. The camp is located near the Visitors Center. It will accommodate up to 32 primitive campers. This area has 2 toilets, 1 cold shower, 1 water faucet, picnic tables, and 2 large fire pits. Fees for the youth area are $4.00 plus tax per night per person.
The attractive Visitor Center provides historical interpretation in its walk-through museum and large screen video tour of the caverns. The Civilian Conservation Corps completed this park facility in 1942. The museum displays a large variety of exhibits offering cultural and natural resource information.
Located near the campground, a river vent rises to create the Blue Hole swimming area. This favorite warm weather attraction provides a great way to cool down during the hot summer months. The spring water is usually clear during periods of low rainfall. A retaining wall is located on the West Side of the swimming area with a beach while the East Side of the swimming area offers a wooden platform. Two bridges on the North & South end of the swimming area are good locations to view wildlife and enjoy the surrounding scenery. The river vent, located directly adjacent to the swimming area has been measured at 97.6 feet deep and during periods of heavy rain, flood waters may rise more than 10 feet above normal levels. There are No Lifeguards on Duty, Swim at your own Risk.
A boat ramp is located between the park entrance station and the family camping area. Only small boats are recommended to launch from this area due to water levels and possible underwater hazards along the Chipola River. Boaters can take a leisurely tour along the river and can also fish and view a variety of wildlife. Traveling south under the bridge at the boat ramp is not recommended.
Canoeing & Kayaking
Canoeing is available up the scenic Chipola River. Take a leisurely tour up this Florida Outstanding Waterway and experience more of the " Real Florida" . A wide variety of flora and fauna can be observed during your trip. Herons & Egrets, Alligators, Beavers, and snakes are just a few common sites you will see as you travel upstream through this wonderful natural community. Canoe rentals are available at the park entrance station and can be rented for ? day and full day trips.
Fishing is available at the boat ramp located on Blue Hole Drive. A variety of fish such as Bass, Catfish, Sunfish, Mullet, etc. can be caught from this area. A unique river sink is located here, where the Chipola River sinks 90 feet below the surface and finally reappears ?-mile downstream. Prior to the early 1900s a ?-mile natural land bridge existed where the Chipola River disappeared into a sinkhole. Evidently at that time a " log run" was created across the natural land bridge for the purpose of floating felled timber downstream to a nearby sawmill. Please be sure to know your limits and follow all rules and regulations while fishing at Florida Caverns State Park.
Florida Caverns State Park is located near Marianna
6 picnic areas are located throughout the park for your enjoyment. Tables and grills are available on a first come first serve basis. There are 5 pavilions that may be reserved in advance for a special event. The Hickory Shelter has a restroom facility and a playground nearby. The Horse Camp Shelter is located directly across from the Blue Hole swimming Area. Other Shelters include Beech Shelter and the Sweetgum Shelter. Picnic shelter prices are as follows: Large shelter-Hickory Shelter (holds between 60-100 people) $60.00/day + tax and the small shelters- Sweetgum, Horse Camp, and Beech (holds between 30-60 people) are $30.00/day + tax. Contact the ranger station for shelter reservations and dates.
Horseback riding, bicycling, and walking are just some ways to view the beautiful scenery of Florida Caverns State Park. Tour several miles of multiuse trails while viewing natural wonders such as floodplains, sinkholes, rivers and Karst topography. View a wide variety of plants and animals as you journey through these unchanged natural areas. A trail map is available at the designated entrances to these trails as well as the ranger station. The Upper Chipola Recreational Trail system has been established through a cooperative effort between Northwest Florida Water Management District and Florida Caverns State Park. Volunteers and staff maintain the trails and invite you to ride horses, bicycle, and walk while enjoying the Real Florida. Please remember that flowers are for everyone, insects bite, trails have wet areas and moving water is dangerous!
An Equestrian Facility is Located in the center of the multiuse trail system. Horseback riders can enjoy the use of stables. A wash rack is located directly behind these stables to clean and cool the horses after a hard days work. Restrooms and picnic shelters are also nearby for your convenience. Three RV sites are located adjacent to the stables and are available for campers bringing horses. To make reservatins please call the Florida State Parks Toll Free Reservation Line at 1-800-326-3521. The horse stables may be reserved when camping. To reserve stable space, please call the park with your campsite reservation # after you have made your camping reservations with the Florida State Parks Toll Free Reservation Line. Please be sure to bring a current Coggin's test for each horse. Equestrian entrance fees at the park are $6.00 plus tax per horse. Family, per tow vehicle and trailer, four horse maximum $14.00. At this time the park does not rent horses. Horses are restricted to trails.
Biking trails are available, but caution is advised due to uneven terrain. Helmets and safety gear are highly recommended.
The park offers a 5-mile multi-use trail for biking enthusiasts; however, it's not suitable for beginners or children.
While the scenic beauty can be enjoyed on two wheels, remember that some areas might require dismounting and walking your bike.
Ensure you're prepared with water as Florida heat combined with physical exertion may lead to dehydration quickly.
Night-time bicycling isn't allowed in this location - plan your trip during daylight hours only.
Be aware of wildlife while cycling through these natural surroundings; snakes and alligators have been spotted occasionally.
Guided tours of the cave are offered every Thursday through Monday (closed on Tuesday and Wednesday) except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Tours leave from the Visitor Center, which opens at 9:00am each day. Tour sizes are limited to 25 people per tour. Reservations are available for groups of 25 or more with a pre-paid reservation. Group reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance of your arrival. Reservations for group tours are conducted Monday through Friday only. All tours on weekends are first come first served, and are at regular admission prices. Please contact the park at 850-482-1341 for group reservations. Call 850-482-9599 for general tour information. The tour last for about 45 minutes and takes you along a path about 1600 feet long where you can view a number of beautiful formations as they are explained by your tour guide. NOTE: Cave tours regularly sell out and the last cave tour leaves at 4:00p.m. CST each day.
Guided tours of the cave are offered every day of the year except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Tours leave from the Visitor Center, which opens at 8:15am each day. Tour sizes are limited to 25 people per tour. Reservations are available for groups of 25 or more that pre-pay Monday through Friday except for state holidays. Please contact the park at 850-482-1341 for reservations. Tour fees are 0-2 years of age-free, 3-12 $3.00 plus tax each, all others $6.00 plus tax each. The tour last for about 45 minutes and takes you along a path about 1600 feet long where you can view a number of beautiful formations as they are explained by your tour guide. NOTE: The last cave tour leaves at 4:00 p.m. CST each day.
The park offers birdwatching opportunities with over 100 species, including hawks and owls. Birding trails are also available.
2ND ANNUAL SUGAR CANE FESTIVALDate: Fri., Sat., Sun., Nov. 4, 5, & 6
9 AM?3 PM c.s.t.
Description: Celebrate the sights, sounds and smells of one of the sweetest things on earth: Sugar Cane! Enjoy learning how the early settlers of Florida thrived in the rural areas, as you watch living history interpreted by park staff and volunteers.
Fees: Park admission is $4.00 per vehicle up to 8 people.
Contact: (850) 482-9599
10TH ANNUAL CAVERNS CHRISTMASDate: Fri., Dec. 9, 6 PM?9 PM c.s.t.
Description: Join the park staff and community in a celebration of the holiday season! The park is decked out in all of the finery of the season to bring an awareness of the less fortunate in our area. Hot cider and cookies are provided for all that attend.
Fees: Cost is a donated toy, food item or monetary donations. All proceeds go to the Jackson County Christmas fund.
Contact: 850 482-9599
BBs / Inns
Our historic inn is located in historic Saint Marks, one of the oldest settlements in North America. First settled in 1527, Saint Marks is a historic little city at the confluence of the Wakulla and St. Marks Rivers. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Saint Marks National Wildlife Refuge, it is located just 20 miles south of Tallahassee.
76.3 miles from park*
Florida Caverns State Park is located 3 Miles North of Marianna, Off of U.S. 90 on S.R. 166. From Tallahassee: Take I-10 west to exit 142, turn right on Hwy 71 N to Hwy 90, turn left. Follow brown park signs. From Pensacola: Take I-10 East to exit 136, turn left on Hwy 276 N to Hwy 90, turn right. Follow brown park signs.