And you can visit it!
We always venture to lakes, beaches and waterfalls but it's easy to overlook the beauty of nature underground. Caves and caverns are the hidden gems that pique our curiosity the most and being able to explore them is an experience like no other. Mammoth Cave National Park near Nashville is insanely enchanting and you need to explore its glory at least once in your lifetime.
Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is only a short, 1.5-hour drive from Nashville and we're sure you won't regret the trip. It's the largest known cave system in the entire world, with over 420 miles of underground beauty.
The spooky-yet-intriguing cave has endless amounts of nooks and crannies to explore. During your visit, you'll pass through windy pathways embellished with beautiful crystals, marble, and limestone that form captivating rock formations.
Amongst the massive chambers and labyrinth lies some of the rarest (and kinda creepy) wildlife ever. Try not to freak out if you run into albino cave shrimp, eyeless fish and cave salamanders.
The cave, which lies beneath Green River Valley, was discovered 4,000 years ago. Although it's reported to stretch 420 miles*, scientists are still exploring the location, so it could be even more massive than what we know of.
If you dare step into the abyss, you'll actually find that it's super peaceful as the cool dark air and heavy silence wash over you.
It's important to note that you must book a tour to explore these awe-inspiring natural structures. It's best to make the reservation ahead of time as this is a popular attraction.
For more fascinating underground adventures in the South, check out this underground cave in Tennessee that leads to a sparkling blue oasis or this Chattanooga mountain with caves full of bright, rainbow colors.
Price: The self-guided tour starts at $8/person. Prices vary depending on the booked experience.
Address: 1 Mammoth Cave Pkwy., Mammoth Cave, KY
Why You Need To Go: Explore the largest cave in the world right in your own backyard, for a spooky and enchanting adventure.
*Editor's note: Researchers have mapped an extra 8 miles in 2021.
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.
This article has been updated since it was originally published on December 24, 2019.