Diving with the Devil; that sounds like a made up song title. In this case, it's something you can do. If you're looking for a little swim-venture, you can visit a gorgeous & world renown prehistoric spring called The Devil's Den with just a couple hours' trip out southwest of Jacksonville in Williston, Florida.
The spring earned its name back when early settlers stumbled upon the opening down to the cave in the early morning of the cooler winter days. Steam rises up and out, looking as though there's an opening straight down to hell itself - thus the name The Devil's Den.
While it sounds scary, we promise you that this place is more gorgeous and serene than the name lets off. Let's dangerously wander into the Devil's Den, shall we?
The Devil's Den is an underground spring that naturally formed within a dry cave, creating a truly unique natural aquatic wonder. The Den started as a spot for scuba divers in training but was later opened up to the public for a chance to snorkel or dive, and it is a work of art crafted by the hands of mother nature herself. You can even get a sneak peek down into the den from the natural sky-light over the water, which you can see below.
The Den itself is a huge 120 ft. in surface diameter, with the water opening up into an inverted mushroom shape that goes down 54 ft at maximum depth. The sparkling spring water is a comfortable 74 degrees all year round so you won't get too chilly.
There are also 4 additional extensions off the main cavern that diving enthusiasts can explore. One extension in particular known as passage 3, contained fossil remains as well as some human remains - dating back to 7500 BC.
Beneath the surface, you will see all the beauty in the natural rock formations and fossil beds that date back as far as 33 million years. The spring is one of North America's most Prehistoric places and has been home to many extinct fossils too. They have been dated to exist during the Pleistocene Age - which lasted about 2.6 million years ago until around 11,700 years ago. The extinct fossils are on display at The University of Florida's Museum of Natural History.
Most who visit the Devil's Den will go snorkeling. All you'll need is a mask, snorkel, and some fins to go. If you don't have any, they do offer rentals on equipment for $10/person on top of the admission price, which is $15 Mon-Fri or $20 Sat-Sun. We suggest bringing your own equipment if you have it so you can stay in the water as long as possible. If you rent the equipment, a maximum use time of 2 hours will be given.
If you have open water certification for diving and a diving buddy, you can also take a dive and explore the all extra caverns. To dive you will need all standard diving equipment, but can also rent it here for $40 on top of the diver's admission price of $38. Night dives are available for $15/diver on a $150 minimum until November 6th as well.
Diving with the devil never sounded so cool. If you're ready to gear up and see one of Florida's natural wonders The Devil's Den is located at 5390 NE 180th Ave Williston, FL 32696. They're open Mon-Thurs 9 am-5 pm or Fri-Sun 8 am-5pm. The earlier in the day the better, but you'll want to show up at least an hour to close to have a chance in the water.
For more information, photos, and contact information check out their website here.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit a potentially hazardous location, you check for the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.