Monday, April 13, 2009

Florida Caverns Cave Tours are Operating Again

One of the state parks forced to largely close as a result of flooding last week has reopened. Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna returned to full operation this morning.

One of the most amazing natural and historical attractions in the state, the park operates the only tour cave in Florida and also features a wide array of other attractions including canoeing on the Chipola River, the historic Natural Bridge of the Chipola, Blue Hole Spring, hiking trails, picnic areas, campsites and a Robert Trent Jones designed golf course.

The park is extremely rich in history. Spanish explorers and missionaries followed a trail leading across the Natural Bridge in the park as early as 1674. Andrew Jackson followed the same trail when he passed through the park in 1818 during the First Seminole War. Local legend holds that Native Americans hid among the rocks and caves of the park and watched his soldiers as they passed.

The caves in the park were popular with early settlers of the county who came to picnic and explore, but the large tour cave was not discovered until the Great Depression when W.P.A. workers noticed a hole beneath a fallen tree as they were working to build the park. The hole opened into a magnificent network of caverns that are strikingly beautiful.

To learn more about Florida Caverns State Park, including the remarkable story of Florida's Rip van Winkle, please visit

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