I think most Floridians have seen a video or heard of The Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring. A couple of years ago, there was a spree of promotional videos that captivated the imagination of any of us that did not already know about this spring. If you’ve seen any of those videos or pictures like me, you probably wonder what it’s like to visit. Most specifically, you probably want to know what the experience entails. Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring is a privately-owned scuba diving training center that you can also snorkel to experience.
Getting to the Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring
Located north of Ocala and south of Gainesville in a small town called Williston. The Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring is in the middle of rural Florida. And, while this might be off the beaten track for most, if you have an interest in caves or diving, this is an area to check out. This area is also home to the Blue Grotto Dive Resort, another cave system you can explore.
Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring is located at 5390 NE 180 Ave, Williston, FL 32696.
About the Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring
The Devil’s Den is essentially an underground cave spring that has an opening exposing it providing light. A karst window forms the opening this is created from the dissolution of soluble rocks. The original opening at the surface appeared to be a sinkhole. Before 1990, visitors had to squeeze through a small hole to reach the spring waters. Once the cave became open to the public in the mid-1990s, the opening was enlarged to create a more accessible access point. Predominantly a dive center, the company that owns it offers scuba diving and snorkeling experiences. Devil’s Den is a sinkhole and cave system that is fed by an underground spring.
Entering Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring
Something is encapsulating and mysterious about this spring. Perhaps it’s the name or the fact that it’s mostly an underwater cave. Either way, even if it did not have an enticing name, once you see the entrance, you know that it’s going to be an experience, unlike others. If you’re into Instagram or always in search of the epic shot or a photograph – this place was made for you!
You enter via a concrete staircase that leads you to the top of the metal stairs that descend you on to the platform at the bottom. Entering the concrete steps is eerie. Even though you’ve seen the photos, you don’t know what to expect, and that makes your heart race. Then, when you see the spring, it’s as if you’ve personally discovered an oasis — reminded that you did not by the group of people gathered on the entrance platform below you.
Down the metal stairs to the entrance platform and immediately you are awoken by the temperature of the water. The underground spring is a constant 72 degrees. Which, even on a hot summers day in Florida is chilly at first feel. We opted to snorkel because we are not certified to dive. And, if we were certified I am not sure I would dive here simply because I am a tad claustrophobic and the depths here would be too much for me. Add to this; you can only see so far before you need a flashlight. The darkness freaked me out.
Snorkeling Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring
The cave reaches depths of 54 feet, and the surface is 120 feet wide. I must admit that it’s smaller than I anticipated. Or, maybe the best way to describe this is I made the assumption (you know what assumptions are) that we would be able to snorkel under the water into spots of the cave. It turns out, this is not the case, and if you snorkel, you will float on the surface and swim in a circle.
If you dive, you will be able to explore what’s hidden beneath. Four underwater passages extend from the pool under the opening, from 5 feet to 90 feet under the surface of the water. The passages contained animal and human remains dating back to approximately 7,500 BC. Don’t worry; you are not going to run into remains; they were removed. Many of these bones are at display at the University of Florida in Gainesville.