Florida Caverns State Park

Marianna Caverns

Useful Information

Location: 3345 Caverns Road, Marianna FL 32446.
5 km north of Marianna. From I-10 Take Marianna Exit 136 or 142 North and follow signs to the park. Off of U.S. 90 on S.R. 166.
(30.811765, -85.226787)
Open: Park: All year daily 8-sunset.
Cave: Labor Day to Memorial Day Mon, Thu-Sun 9-16:30, last tour 16.
Memorial Day to Labor Day daily 9-16.
Group tours all year Mon-Fri.
Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas day.
Fee: Park: per vehicle USD 5.
Cave: Adults USD 15, Children (3-12) USD 8, Children (0-2) free.
Groups (25+): Adults USD 4.65, reservation 3 weeks in advance mandatory.
Plus tax.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightLED Lighting LightColoured Light
Dimension: T=16 °C.
Guided tours: D=45 min, L=490 m, St=50.
Photography: allowed, no tripods
Accessibility: no
Address: Florida Caverns State Park, 3345 Caverns Road, Marianna, FL 32446, Tel: +1-850-482-1228, Tel: +1-850-526-2650. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1935 area becomes a State Park.
1937 Marianna Caverns discovered.
1942 Visitor Center completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, cave opened to the public.
2018 heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael, numerous restrictions for some years.


Florida Caverns has extraordinary formations of stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, columns, rimstone pools, and draperies. The Visitor Center contains a small museum focussing on the history of the park and the caves. A film offers visitors a glimpse of the wonders that await them on the tour. It runs continually throughout the day. The Visitor Center is called the Florida Caverns Gift Shop, and for some reason, which is unknown to us, it has its own website, and is a LLC. There are some other weird details about the park, for example the cave tours are often sold out, so you should arrive early in the morning. They sell only tickets for the same day, but its possible to make reservations by phone and online, although for some reasons only a part of the tours are available in the online booking system.

The cave was developed as a show cave by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the workers who were being paid $1 a day, spent four years developing the cave and the trails of the park. The cave has a fairly new LED lighting system, why the coloured lighting was chosen is unknown to us, State Parks usually have a better taste. We read on older descriptions that the cave has no paths, the floor was mostly level, but the ground could be uneven and sometimes slippery. This is quite strange for an otherwise well-developed cave and actually seems to be a rather twisted explanation for something else. The cave has no concrete paths like other show caves, especially those developed in the mid-20th century. The paths are mostly gravel, which is actually a good thing as it does not block dripping water, forms no puddles, and is generally less slippery than concrete. It's also better for cave animals, which are used to all kinds of clay, gravel and rocks, which are the typical cave sediments, and they can crawl through the cracks. The cave has actually a lot of life, which includes real cave dwellers as well as guests. There are bats, mice, cave crickets, blind crayfish, salamanders, cave spiders and the occasional snake or frog.

The cave is sometimes called Marianna Caverns, after the nearby town Marianna. The name Florida Caverns is a bit presumptuous, but since it is the only show cave in the state, we guess it is acceptable. The whole state is quite low, only a few meters above sea level. So while most of the state is karstified, the cave systems are mostly water-filled. They are known for quite frequent collapses, especially in the so-called sinkhole alley. But here at the northern border of the state there are some hills which are around 55 m asl, and they have some dry caves above the aquifer.

The State Park contains numerous caves, but Florida Cavern is the only developed show cave in the park. Florida Park Service permits are required to enter any other cave in the park. Some are open for scientific research only, visitors are asked to respect the off-limits status of these caves. The endangered gray bat is found in some caves, and as they receive special legal protection under the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, those caves are closed during winter.

Blue Hole Spring is a karst spring, and it is possible to swim in the clear, aquamarine water. It is the source of Blue Hole Run, a tributary of the main river of the park, Chipola River. This river is quite interesting as it has sinks where a part of the water vanishes undergrount and returns about half a kilometer further near the show cave. The River Sink and River Rise can be found on the park map, but as the water only partly goes underground it is hard to see.

There are also three trails for walking through the park. The Visitor Center Trail starts, as the mae says, at the Visitor Center. It leads through hardwoods and limestone bluffs above the river floodplain, the so-called upland hardwood forest. Typical plants are spruce pine, white ash, Florida elm, southern magnolia, American beech, black walnut and needle palms. Then there are two trails starting at Blue Hole, the Sinkhole Trail to the east and the Fence Line Trail along the southern border of the park. Both are Multi-Use Trails, which means they may be used by hikers as well as mountain bikers and riders. At the Blue Hole there are stables for visitors who bring their own horses.