One of the best ways to enjoy Florida’s natural beauty is spending time in its waters! The Chiefland area is home to some of the most beautiful and pure springs in the state.
At Manatee Springs, certified divers may participate in open water, cave, and cavern diving. Those without a permit can still enjoy the spring by snorkeling, getting just as close a view of the springs’ size and magnificence. Manatee Springs State park offers full facility camping the park has a 94-site campground with electricity and water in each site. These sites are available for tent or RV use. There are comfort stations centrally located in each of the loops. Comfort stations provide hot showers, toilets and sink facilities. Sites 26-39 and site number 48 are for tent camping only. Located in the Magnolia 1 camping area, these sites allow park visitors to camp in a more rustic setting. Pets are allowed in all camping areas. Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance for camping by calling Reserve America at 1-800-326-3521. Scuba divers must present their certification upon registration. Open water, cavern and cave diving is available in Manatee Spring or Catfish Hotel Sink. Dive instructors are required to purchase a Commercial Dive Permit. The fee for spring diving, open water, and cave diving is $10.00 plus tax. All divers are required to register with the office prior to diving. The park also offers a youth camping area, organized groups of six or more can camp in the Primitive Youth Camp Area. These facilities offer drinking water and an outdoor shower. These areas are reserved for non-profit, organized groups.
At Fanning Springs, visitors can enjoy a 20-foot deep basin fed by two springs, Big Fanning and Little Fanning. The springs are about 200 feet wide and 350 feet long, with a vent in the southeast wall nearly 30 feet in diameter. For a small fee, visitors can actually dive in the springs, although they are mostly used for certification dives for local dive shops.
A short drive away, in Williston, the Blue Grotto offers one of the safest and most enjoyable cavern diving experiences in the state. The commercially operated park has perfectly clear waters, and the inside of the cavern has even been fitted with a guide rope to ensure divers’ safety.
The Devil’s Den Resort and Springs offers visitors a unique diving experience. Hidden nearly 60 feet below ground, the cavern pool extends another 20 to 60 feet in depth. Snorkeling is not permitted here at Devil’s Den, but certified divers are welcome to enjoy the flawlessly clear, 72-degree water. Full dive shop and equipment rentals are available, as well as air fills.
There are so many beautiful springs, caverns, and caves for diving and snorkeling, so be sure to explore these local natural wonders.
For more information about:
Manatee Springs State Park, call (352) 493-6072
Fanning Springs State Park, call (352) 463-4520
Devil’s Den Resort and Springs, call (352) 528-3344
Blue Grotto, call (352) 528-5770