This incredible, secluded underground spring is easily the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. I will never forget this experience for the rest of my life.
My younger brother goes to the University of Florida. When he was first accepted, we went on a little road-trip from Atlanta to Gainesville to check out the campus, some dorm options, and prepare him for being away from home. We spent the first day at the university, and then we headed off to our ultimate destination (the main reason I wanted to go on the road-trip tbh)- the infamous Devil’s Den. I’d seen these eerie, mysterious pictures of the spring for years- on Pinterest and Instagram. I’d been wanting to go there for ages. It was only about 1.5 hours from the university, so it was the perfect opportunity to finally go. The drive went through some small towns and cute areas, and when we finally arrived (after going down some back roads that felt like wrong turns) at the Devil’s Den Spring.
First of all- the grounds of the spring are AMAZING. When you first pull in the gate, you see all the camp sites (definitely recommend staying overnight here), and you drive further in past ponds and beautiful plants. The whole place feels tucked away from the world. You pull up to the parking lot, and you’ll probably see people wandering around in snorkeling gear. That’s your sign that you’re in the right place.
After you go through the ticket purchase process in their store/office, you’ll get your snorkeling gear (I rented mine, but I believe you can bring your own if you have some), and be instructed to follow the path to the springs. Along the path, you’ll feel yourself getting more into the jungle-vibe of the entire place. You can take the path around the top of the spring (there’s a hole that plants dangle into and light pierces into the cave. Stop and take some time above ground to really grasp how special and beautiful the spring is.
You’ll go around the side to a fairly steep stone stairway. This is your path down into the spring/cave area. Once you’re totally inside the cave, you’ll round a corner- and be totally floored by the view. You can see the entire spring and cave from the highest vantage point in the cave, and it’s glorious. The water is so clear and still somehow such a terrific deep blue. You’ll most likely see large, beautiful fish swimming about the cave (it’s stocked), and the stairs go down onto a wooden platform floating in the water where you can enter the spring for some scuba diving or snorkeling.
Be prepared to be chilly. The water is around 70 degrees, year round. There were about 3-4 other people with us in the cave on this particular day (and we’re tough, so we outlasted them in the cold water and got the place to ourselves for a bit). We slipped on our flippers (is that what you’d call them…?), goggles, and hopped right in.
The second I was fully submerged, I felt the world disappear. It was just me, total silence, and the most astonishing visual experience of my life. It was so clear, the rocks and fish and cave walls were almost in HD. We stayed in for around 30 minutes (you’re not limited, so long as there isn’t a massive crowd on the day you choose to go).
All in all- this is my favorite adventure to date. We camped in a tent on the grounds (I think it was like $35 for the night), and had free access to wandering around the ponds, making friends with all the cats that roamed the grounds, and eno-ing in the trees.
Everyone in the South Eastern United States should make the journey to this incredible place.