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I recently had the pleasure of visiting one of Florida's clear blue springs; Devil's Den Prehistoric Spring. It's easily one of the most hauntingly gorgeous swimming holes in the state --but let's dive below the surface and talk about what really makes a 54ft-deep sinkhole in the middle of nowhere one of the state's top tourist destinations.
First of all, you might be wondering what makes it a "prehistoric spring." Here's what the official website states: "This underground spring inside a dry cave has been home to many extinct animal fossils dating back to the Pleistocene Age, which are on display at The University of Florida's Museum of Natural History."
But let's be honest, most people aren't coming here for the history --they're here for the experience-- after all, there aren't too many places in the nation that offer you a chance to scuba dive into a sinkhole.
And yes, for the record, Florida is full of sinkholes, just most of them aren't this exciting.
So the question remains; is it worth adding this spot to your travel bucket list? The short answer, in my opinion, is absolutely --even if you're not planning on swimming.
While the spring is clearly the main attraction, what you don't often see advertised is the myriad of other amenities offered here. From camping, to just spending the day picnicking under the pavilions and partaking in several on-site activities, there's something here for everyone, and admission is only $15 during the week ($22 on weekends). There is even a botanical gardens you can explore right nextdoor!
There is a lot to keep you entertained here (and for way cheaper than a day at one of the theme parks).
If you do want to get in the water, for a small upcharge, you can rent snorkeling and scuba gear. It is a necessity to have one or the other to gain access to the water. If you choose to scuba dive, you will need to be certified; however, they can certify you there.
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Okay, but here's the really cool thing: the spring stays a constant temperature year round. Even if it's chilly outside, the cave and water remain a temperate 72 degrees! Keeping that in mind, if you go on a cold day it might feel a little like a hot spring.
I can totally attest to the above because when I went it was about 60 degrees outside, but the cave and water retained their warmth.
Also, despite being an underground cave, there are fish and other aquatic animals that call the spring home! So if you decide to swim here, you will be sharing the space with some wildlife.
Another great aspect of Devil's Den is that the owners are really accommodating. They offer so many options for guests to take advantage of like night dives and discounted rates/times, so if you're looking for something unique to do without spending a ton of money, this is a great start.
I tried really hard to think of something negative to balance out the positives here, and the only real thing I could come up with is the location. Being that it's located in a very small town in Northern Florida, it's not really around much else. However, with that being said, if you're spending a weekend here I don't think you will have to worry about being bored!
I don't normally write about places that I'm not completely blown away by, so overall, this place is just pretty freaking badass and definitely deserves a spot on your #travelgoals bucket list. It's nothing less than picture-perfect, affordable, and an awesome excuse to dive into the wild side of Florida.
You can find out more about booking your stay & swimming excursion on their official website here.
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