The Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring in Williston, Florida, is one of those places that looks otherworldly when you see photos of it. Because we were staying about 45 minutes away at Silver Springs State Park, we were able to make the drive up to do some snorkeling. On the day we ventured up there, it was POURING rain! We hoped that wouldn’t matter since we would basically be inside a cave, and we were right! The cave itself is formed by a karst window, in which the roof over a subterranean river has collapsed, exposing the water to the open surface (thanks, Wikipedia!)
When you pull up to the location and start walking to the office, you don’t even know that the cave is there! There’s a giant tree at the opening of the “roof” and you would never even know it was there if you weren’t looking for it. We got all checked in, got the GoPro ready, stashed our clothes and shoes at one of the picnic benches, and descended the stone stairway down into the cave. After the first flight of stairs, which are carved out of the rock, you come upon a ledge that looks down into the cave. There, they have built a metal staircase that takes you down to a platform where you can put on your gear and get to snorkeling. Luckily, there weren’t too many people there, so it wasn’t very crowded. Likely the rain had scared people off.
This location is very popular for scuba divers since many of the features of the cave are in the dark and in the deep water. Unfortunately, we aren’t scuba certified, so we got suited up with our snorkel gear and dove in. The water temperature is a steady 72 degrees all year round, and with the outside temperature being a bit chilly, the water seemed quite cold. There isn’t a lot to see when you’re just snorkeling because so much of the water is unlit. You’re limited to the areas where the sun is shining down from above. There are some fish, but the most exciting thing were the turtles! They looked like yellow-bellied turtles, who were just swimming around like they owned the place (which, we suppose they do). We followed them around with the camera for awhile, scoped out some fish, and watched the scuba divers with their headlamps exploring the dark cave underneath us before we called it quits.
Overall, the experience was really cool! We wish there was a bit more to see, but we were most excited that we finally got to use the snorkel gear that we’ve been lugging around for almost 2 years. The water in Florida in the winter isn’t very warm, so getting to use it here was worth it for us.
Cost: $15/ per person during the week & $20/ per person on weekends