Many people travel to Florida to make their way to the theme parks and beautiful beaches, and they’re certainly worth a visit. However, if you’re starting to feel like you’ve “been there, done that” and want to find a few new experiences in Florida, we’ve got just the place for you! Today, we’ll look at Devil’s Den in Florida and share why we think you should add it to your travel itinerary while in the Sunshine State.
What Is Devil’s Den in Florida?
Devil’s Den in Florida is an underground river. It formed when the roof over an underground river collapsed. It’s a privately owned body of water near Williston, Florida that acts as a scuba diving training facility and other recreational activities.
The cave reaches a depth of 54 feet and has a surface diameter of 120 feet. Four underwater passages extend from the opening and dip between 5 ft and 90 ft under the water’s surface. One of the passages that’s 70 ft underwater had animal and human remains dating back to 7500 BC.
Why Do They Call It Devil’s Den?
The water in this cave remains 72 degrees year-round. Cooler temperatures in Florida cause a visible foggy plume to emerge from the cave entrance. The early settlers in the area thought it resembled a chimney from Hell. This smoky output occurred often enough that it became known as the “Devil’s Den.”
5 Reasons You Should Explore Devil’s Den in Florida
With so many great places to visit in Florida, you may be wondering why this is worth your time. Let’s explore a few reasons we think it deserves to make its way into your travel plans.
1. Scuba Dive Four Ancient Underwater Passages
There are four ancient underwater passages. It’s a unique experience that could also lead to some pretty cool discoveries. Divers have found many artifacts within these passages dating back to 7500 BC. Along with human remains, divers found remnants of extinct species such as mastodons and ground sloths.
2. You Can Snorkel in the Gorgeous Natural Den Pool
If scuba diving is too intense for you but you still enjoy exploring, snorkeling in the natural den pool might be the perfect fit. You could look through the crystal clear water without needing to dive in fully. You’ll still get to experience what the ancient passageways have to offer, just from afar.
Keep your eyes open, and you’ll likely spot a fish or two. If you’re lucky, you may even spot the resident turtle.
3. You Can Check out Prehistoric Fossils
If finding prehistoric fossils sounds like a fun afternoon, you’ll be in for a treat. Scuba divers can scour the floor of this natural pool for prehistoric fossils. Some divers have even found the remains of a saber-toothed cat! You never know what you might discover.
Pro Tip: Want to bring your furry friend with you to Florida? Check out these 7 Most Dog-Friendly Beaches in Florida.
4. There Are a Lot of Geologic Features
Fossils and artifacts aren’t the only good finds in this sinkhole. You’ll enjoy the sights of an underwater river full of interesting geologic features. The natural karst spring will leave you in awe. The quiet cave where you can hear dripping water can leave you feeling like you’ve become an explorer yourself.
While in the cave, you’ll experience acidic groundwater from eroding limestone and an ever-changing water level. Because an underground system of waterways feeds the water body, the water level changes naturally. Events such as heavy rains elsewhere can cause the water to rise as much as 8-10 feet.
5. Camping and Cabins Available Onsite
If you want to immerse yourself in the experience, you could enjoy the onsite camping and cabin options. There are RV camping sites available with full hookups, tent sites, or you could stay in the provided cabins. At any rate, you’ll be comfortable and in convenient proximity to the Devil’s Den. Most RV sites offer full hookups.
Admission fees to Devil’s Den are separate from camping and cabin rental fees. So plan accordingly if you want to stay and visit the den.
Pro Tip: Discover what lurks beneath the surface at one of these 8 Most Impressive Caves in Florida.
How Much Does It Cost to Visit Devil’s Den?
Considering how expensive many Florida destinations are, exploring Devil’s Den is relatively affordable. The cost to explore the water will depend slightly on what gear you can bring yourself.
The cost to snorkel at Devil’s Den is $15 a person on weekdays and $22 for weekends and holidays. There’s an additional equipment rental fee of $12 should you not have your own gear.
To scuba dive at Devil’s Den, your cost for entry will be $38 per diver. Those needing to rent gear can do so for $45 a person.
You can rent snorkel and scuba gear a la cart if visitors have some personal equipment but not everything they need. All persons will need full gear to enter Devil’s Den.
Can You Swim at Devil’s Den Florida?
Not everyone can participate in recreational swimming here at Devil’s Den. You may only enter if you’ve purchased either a snorkel or scuba pass. You must also be in full gear to enter the water, which you can rent or bring with you.
Pro Tip: Want to go fishing while exploring Florida? Check out our Visitor’s Easy Guide to Florida Fishing Licenses.
Is Devil’s Den Dangerous?
Thankfully, the water temperature remains steady throughout the year, so you’ll know what to expect. While 72 degrees can initially seem pleasant on a hot day, it can chill your body over time. Be prepared with a wet suit if you feel your body cannot handle the water temperature for an extended diving period.
There have been two recorded deaths at Devil’s Den Cave. Both were due to persons entering restricted cave areas. To ensure your safety, adhere to all rules and don’t pass any gates or barriers.
Cool Things to Do Nearby
While you’re in the area, you could explore a few of the nearby attractions. Many enjoy making their way to Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens. Here, you can stroll through a beautiful botanical garden featuring waterfalls as well as over 50 garden displays and even koi ponds.
After you’ve experienced Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens, continue to Two Hawk Hammock. While at Two Hawk Hammock, you can meet some fun barnyard animals, grab a bite to eat, and dance along to live music. If you’re feeling up to it, they even feature Trapeze Flights with the Gainesville Circus Center. For just $10, you can “Try to Fly.”
Lastly, if you haven’t yet experienced some of the great springs that the area offers, you’re missing out. Florida is home to some fantastic natural springs, and it’s worth making time to explore them. Check out this list of nearby springs. A great option is the Blue Grotto, just two miles from Devil’s Den. There, you can scuba dive to a depth of 100 feet.
Enjoy Scuba Diving in Devil’s Den
Sometimes the hidden gems are the best places to travel. We think exploring Devil’s Den in Florida earns the title of a hidden gem, and you might enjoy visiting it more than some hot-ticket tourist spots on your bucket list.
Have you had the chance to visit Devil’s Den? How would you rate your experience there? Let us know in the comments below!
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