11 Caverns To Visit In The United States

Photo by Lê Tân on Unsplash

At a young age, I can remember going on trips with my family to explore different places around the country. My favorite memories are from the caves we would visit on our various stops we would take. To me, caves are another world hiding underground. They are rich in history, beautiful formations, and unique sights you have to see to believe. Spelunking (the exploration of caves) is a great hobby that everyone should add to their list when vacationing.

This is an activity that is fun for all ages and grows your knowledge about nature and the world around us. Don't know where to start? I have accumulated 11 caverns to visit in the United States. These locations will have you leaving in awe at the beauty you just witnessed. Want to tour a cave but not travel? You can always search for areas near you. You would be amazed how many underground worlds are right next door to you.

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Carlsbad Caverns
This cave, located in New Mexico, is one of the most popular places to visit in the country. A 46,000-acre region is home to over 119 known caves. You can definitely make this a trip itself by exploring these underground dwellings. You can take a free self-guided tour through the Big Room Cavern Chamber, entrance hall, and more. Want more access? For a small price, you can go on one of the tours that delve deep into this caves rich and beautiful history. Find more information here.

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Wind Cave National Park
Located near Hot Springs, South Dakota, this cave was one of the first to be preserved as part of the national parks in 1903. It includes over 140 miles of passageways to follow and is known for being one of the densest cave systems in the country. Head above ground, and you can find more trails to explore in one of the nations largest preserved prairie regions. Learn about the history and exciting folklore as you walk through this beautiful yet eerie cavern. Find more information here.

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Meramec Caverns
Believed to be a hideout for Jesse James and his gang, this cave has terrific stories to tell. Found in Missouri, Meramec Caverns showcase colorful formations as well as a magnificent underground lake. They do not disappoint here with an LED light show that is projected across different formations. Dive into this seven layer space and have fun with attractions like zip-lining and boat rides. Find more information here.

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Ruby Falls
Found in Tennessee, Ruby Falls is widely acknowledged for its 145-foot underground waterfall that is still active to this day. An astonishing 1,200 feet underground is where you will find this beautiful cascade of water and other incredible mysteries. Don't believe me? This cave has mesmerized people for years, even being in a country song by Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, called “See Ruby Fall.” Find more information here.

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Natural Bridge Caverns
Located in Texas, this cave was formed thousands of years ago by a river that used to run through the area. It is named for the beautiful limestone slab bridge that can be found at the entrance. You will witness multiple colors found on the walls, stalagmites, stalactites, and chandeliers that cover the entirety of the cave. Find more information here.

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Fantastic Caverns
This is an excellent cave for younger children or elderly citizens who cannot withstand the long walks that are associated with exploring caves. Located in Missouri, Fantastic Caverns is known for its ride through tour it gives (the only one in the country). Don't worry though! You will still enjoy all the sights the underground area has to offer while still preserving its rich history. Find out more here.

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DeSoto Caverns
This family fun park in Alabama is a vacation on its own. Not only do you get to explore the vast cave, the area includes activities like water gold, outdoor mazes, archery, and so much more. There is no shortage of entertainment and, if you want to stay, can easily camp in the vast area. Find out more information here.

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Cave of the Winds
Found in Colorado near the Pikes Peak area, this cave was discovered in 1881 by two brothers. The 90-minute tour guide (led by lanterns) shows the exciting history, folklore, and favorite ghost stories that surround this cavern. The area also offers a few other fun attractions, such as a free falling cliff diving ride and a Wind Walker ropes challenge course. Find out more information here.

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Mark Twain Cave & Campground
This is probably my favorite out of the entire list. Located in Missouri, this cave is well known for its history with the author Mark Twain. He actually used this cavern in five of his books, including Tom Sawyer. If that does not entice you enough, the cave was also used by Dr. Joseph McDowell for his experiments in preserving bodies (including his daughter who was placed in the cave. It was also a known hideout for Jesse James (his name actually found within the walls). Find out more information here.

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Craighead Caverns
Found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee), Craighead Caverns showcases the second largest underground lake in the entire world. Used in the past as a mining site for Confederate troops during the Civil War, this cave guide will show you the history and offer a boat ride of the 4.5-acre lake. Within this tour, you will see fantastic crystal formations as well as several waterfalls. Find more information here.

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Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
A children's coaster, Giant Canyon Swing, the first Alpine Coaster. These are just some of the fun attractions that are combined with the exploration of Glenwood Caverns. Located in Colorado, you can follow different tours through the upper and lower sections of this cave. These include the Kings Row tour, Wild Cave tour, and Fairy Caves tour. Find out more information here.

These eleven caves are a great start to this new tradition you will want to keep with your family. These underground areas are just as beautiful as they are historical. So go ahead, walk deeper underground and uncover what nature has created throughout thousands of years. Just make sure to bring a jacket and sensible walking shoes (it gets a little cold down under).

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  1. Exploring a cave is always exciting.

    Mark Twain cave remind me with a famous author whose books i loved to read when i was a kid.

    1. Very true! Mark Twain was also one of my favorite authors when I was a child :)


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