Florida Springs Dive Sites - My Curated List

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CaveSloth

Contributor
Messages
602
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Location
The Deep South
# of dives
50 - 99
I have been working on a list of spring diving sites with the following criteria:
  • Open to the public. Not requiring a difficult to obtain permit.
  • No salt water.
  • No sulfur.
  • Difficult to silt out / good to great average visibility.
  • Not requiring to spend lots of time deeper than 100ft.
  • Not requiring sidemount, nomount or passing through restrictions.
  • Allow / doable in backmount doubles.
  • Doable using air or nitrox.
  • Best of the best locations for those with up to Cave 1 level of certification.
Here is my current list:
  • Alexander Spring (Altoona)
  • Blue Grotto (Williston)
  • Blue Spring (Orange City)
  • Bozel Spring (Marianna)
  • Buford Spring (Weekie Wachee)
  • Cypress Spring (Vernon)
  • Fanning Spring (Fanning Springs)
  • Ginnie (Ballroom) (High Springs)
  • Ginnie (Devil's Ear) (High Springs)
  • Ginnie (Devil's Eye) (High Springs)
  • Hole in the Wall (Marianna)
  • Ichetucknee (Blue Spring / Jug Hole) (Fort White)
  • Jackson Blue (Marianna)
  • Little River (Branford)
  • Madison (Main) (Lee)
  • Manatee (Catfish Hotel) (Chiefland)
  • Manatee (Main) (Chiefland)
  • Morrison (Defuniak Springs)
  • Paradise Spring (Ocala)
  • Peacock (Main) (Mayo)
  • Peacock (Orange Grove) (Mayo)
  • Rainbow River (KP Hole) (Dunneleon)
  • Telford (Mayo)
  • Troy Spring (Branford)
  • Twin Cave (Marianna)
  • Vortex Spring (Defuniak Springs)
  • Warm Springs (Weekie Wachee)
I would really like feedback on this list. Any important details from your experience would be great to know. If I have anything listed here that is no good for a beginning cave diver or if I am missing something great, please let me know.
 

CaveSloth

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Location
The Deep South
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I should have mentioned... I extracted my list from CaveAtlas.com. This means I read through EVERY SINGLE ENTRY on CaveAtlas.com and removed springs that didn't meet my criteria. It took me many hours! Of all those springs listed, these are the ONLY ONES which seem good for beginning divers through Cave 1 / backmount training.

Now, if CaveAtlas.com had incorrect info for a particular spring or I interpreted it incorrectly, that is what I am hoping to find out through asking for feedback.
 

Manatee Diver

Stop throwing lettuce at me!
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Ichetucknee is typically considered to be a sidemount cave.
 

Jack Hammer

Rebreather Pilot
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It may be helpful to clarify in the title this thread is for cave diving, not OW spring diving. :)

Troy Springs doesnt allow cave diving or divers to even carry lights into the spring. It's a popular OW training site.

Blue Grotto cave is a guided dive only. The cavern area doesn't require cave certs. It's a popular OW training site. (Also $40 entrance fee).

Manatee, IMO due to heavy flow and other, is best dove the 1st time with someone familiar with it.

Telford, IIRC, is closed.

Vortex, never been, I believe cave access is full cave only, not positive. Cavern area is accessible to all divers and it is a popular site for OW divers.
 

Lorenzoid

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. . .
Troy Springs doesnt allow cave diving or divers to even carry lights into the spring. . . .

I have often wondered about how rigidly that rule is enforced. I use Troy's wide open basin to practice skills, which in the GUE realm includes signaling using a light. Part of what I'm practicing is handling the light. I don't know how that argument may fare if I ever have to make it to a park ranger, but I will try.
 

CaveSloth

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Location
The Deep South
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It may be helpful to clarify in the title this thread is for cave diving, not OW spring diving.

This thread is not limited to cave diving sites. If it were, it would be a much shorter list.

I mean to include all Florida springs with great Open Water, Cavern OR Cave diving up to Cave 1 / backmount level.

Thanks for the notes. My responses:

No lights for any diver (even cavern / cave certified?) at Troy? LAME!

Blue Grotto cave is not a cave 1 cave from what I have heard. It is very silty and yes requires a guide. I include BG on my list because it has good open water and cavern diving.

Note taken about Manatee. I heard something similar about Lafayette Blue and removed it from the list. Will consider.

Telford AFAIK is not closed but requires a swim upstream from a nearby boat ramp. There used to be a parking lot and car access which is now closed, I believe.

Vortex has a crappy cave before the locked gated cave. The locked gated cave may be more of a cave 2 cave. The crappy cave is crappy. Vortex is on the list for open water & cavern diving.
 

Jack Hammer

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We were told last month politely by the volunteer Rangers at Troy that lights were not allowed at all, even if only to practice signalling. There were also signs posted. They also verified my buddies annual State Park pass. They were very pleasant overall.
 

Lorenzoid

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We were told last month politely by the volunteer Rangers at Troy that lights were not allowed at all, even if only to practice signalling. There were also signs posted. They also verified my buddies annual State Park pass. They were very pleasant overall.

Maybe a dummy/non-functional light? I guess we’ll see. We have been there many times and haven’t been questioned yet.
 

BrackaFish

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Port Orange Fl
# of dives
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I have been working on a list of spring diving sites with the following criteria:
  • Open to the public. Not requiring a difficult to obtain permit.
  • No salt water.
  • No sulfur.
  • Difficult to silt out / good to great average visibility.
  • Not requiring to spend lots of time deeper than 100ft.
  • Not requiring sidemount, nomount or passing through restrictions.
  • Allow / doable in backmount doubles.
  • Doable using air or nitrox.
  • Best of the best locations for those with up to Cave 1 level of certification.
Here is my current list:
  • Alexander Spring (Altoona)
  • Blue Grotto (Williston)
  • Blue Spring (Orange City)
  • Bozel Spring (Marianna)
  • Buford Spring (Weekie Wachee)
  • Cypress Spring (Vernon)
  • Fanning Spring (Fanning Springs)
  • Ginnie (Ballroom) (High Springs)
  • Ginnie (Devil's Ear) (High Springs)
  • Ginnie (Devil's Eye) (High Springs)
  • Hole in the Wall (Marianna)
  • Ichetucknee (Blue Spring / Jug Hole) (Fort White)
  • Jackson Blue (Marianna)
  • Little River (Branford)
  • Madison (Main) (Lee)
  • Manatee (Catfish Hotel) (Chiefland)
  • Manatee (Main) (Chiefland)
  • Morrison (Defuniak Springs)
  • Paradise Spring (Ocala)
  • Peacock (Main) (Mayo)
  • Peacock (Orange Grove) (Mayo)
  • Rainbow River (KP Hole) (Dunneleon)
  • Telford (Mayo)
  • Troy Spring (Branford)
  • Twin Cave (Marianna)
  • Vortex Spring (Defuniak Springs)
  • Warm Springs (Weekie Wachee)
I would really like feedback on this list. Any important details from your experience would be great to know. If I have anything listed here that is no good for a beginning cave diver or if I am missing something great, please let me know.


Nice list. Be aware that Blue Springs in Orange City is a bit of a walk if you are in doubles. Also currently closed to divers due to manatees, opens back up mid March or April depending on weather.
 
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