For anyone that has never gone underground, the experience really is otherworldly and wondrous. Caves and caverns hold ancient lava flows, formations built drip by drip over thousands of years, underwater lakes and wells and twinkling roofs that closely resemble the night sky. Across the United States, there are people that have been exploring these caves and caverns and now many of them are open to the public in a way that is safe for them to explore and discover another world.
The ground has opened up in so many places, but these are the great cave destinations across America that families can add to their next road trip or vacation plans.
Deep in the heart of Texas sit the Natural Bridge Caverns which are a huge attraction because of the family friendly tours that mix education with cool facts. The caverns are just outside of San Antonio in New Braunfels, where you can descend over two hundred feet underground to see the largest caverns in the state and the largest bat colony. After you’ve gazed at the underground formations, head back up for even more adventurous fun on some high wire challenge courses.
Kentucky is home to the largest known cave system, with so many chambers that you could travel through a good portion of the Mammoth Cave National Park without ever having to leave the network. Park rangers lead the tours here and the focus is on the geological importance, formation and wildlife in and around the caves. This park is an entire destination with camping, boating and other types of recreation possible for families and guests.
This cave makes the list because of the way you descend and the interesting source of its name. The opening to the cave is a steep drown down and open cavern and its thought that this opening is what accounts for the moaning sounds miners said they heard, and ultimately led to the discovery of the caves. Guests can walk down into the shaft or rappel, with the help of trained guides, giving you the ultimate explorer’s experience. The caverns are so extensive you can book up to a three hour explorer’s tour with guides, some of which will take you through tight tunnels.
Springfield, Missouri is home to the Fantastic Caverns which are a great option for families with little ones or anyone that might have a hard time keeping up. The caves are the only caves in America where you can drive through the entire system, and that is exactly how visitors get to visit inside these beautiful caverns. The ride along idea was created when the family that owns the caves and the land it sits under realized how delicate the caverns were and realized that regular tours would not be the better option. This is a family owned and operated cave, so they are especially welcoming and accommodating to families.
Have you ever visited one of the natural caves before?