Florida’s Best Kept Secret
My friend and I were more than eager to check out Devil’s Den Prehistoric Springs, an underwater springs inside a cave. There had been a lot of hype about it and I was dying to check it off my Florida list. Pictures online portrayed translucent cobalt waters surrounded by rock with a hole in the middle that let sunshine through. The underwater cave sounded incredible, but until I was actually inside I couldn’t comprehend how wonderful it was.
We went on a holiday weekend and the den was extremely busy. The drive out was beautiful, horse ranches and open fields surround the area. We got there around 9:30 and there was already a two hour wait for snorkelers. We went into the small brown building to sign waivers and rent our snorkel gear. Visitors can only gain entrance to the cave by snorkeling or scuba diving (as long as you’re scuba certified), so no free swimming is allowed.
Once we grabbed our gear, we left our towels and belongings on a bench outside the den entrance. To the left of the den entrance is a path that leads to a viewing section of the opening at the top of the cave. You can peer in through the green leaves and see a section of the blue spring below and its swimmers.
The Devil’s Den
The cave entrance is a little nerving, it’s just a hole with steep concrete steps leading down. Looking down from the top of the entrance feels like you’re heading straight into darkness, but once you take the plunge, you’ll walk down a few steps onto a leveled section where you can view the entire cave from above. It’s a spectacular view and we took it in for several minutes before heading down into the underwater spring.
When we were ready to head into the waters, we climbed down a narrow staircase that stated “only one at a time”. There is a platform at the bottom where you can stand or sit to put on your gear, and look up in awe at the cave around you. The water is a constant 72 degrees, but it definitely isn’t warm, even in the summer. Swimming in the underground cave is a unique experience. There are fish and rock formations to check out in the clear waters. Floating under the hole in the roof of the cave and looking up at the sky is an unmatched experience. The cave is old, trapped in time and wrapped in history and inside I felt part of nature.
About Devil’s Den
The workers told us that on colder days mist comes off of the water and goes up through the cave opening, hence the name Devil’s Den. The spring is around 50 feet deep and stalactites and fossils from 33 million years ago have been found in the cave. Devil’s Den is in Williston, Florida, about an hour and forty minutes north of Orlando. You can bring your own snorkel or scuba equipment.