Did you catch our last post on our trip to Ginnie Springs? Believe it or not we managed to squeeze that trip, our dive at Devils Den, and a side trip to an Orlando theme park all in the span of 3 days. Whew. Sometimes we even impress ourselves!
But lets talk Devil’s Den. The name doesn’t seem all that inviting does it? Believe it or not this site, has been on our Florida bucket list for a very long time. I mean, just look at this entrance it does make an impression doesn’t it?
Want to experience it with us? Check out the video
In keeping with the, “hmmm that was slightly different” theme of this 3 day squeeze trip Devil’s Den, was not what we expected it to be. Although, looking back i’m not to sure what we expected.
The underground spring system that flows into the cave formation in the shape of an inverted mushroom makes Devil’s Den a somewhat unique dive experience. Before arriving we debated quite a bit as to wether we wanted to dive the site ($38 per diver) or snorkel ($15-$20 per person). We chose to snorkel/ free dive the site mainly because we were somewhat short on time and because unlike several other freshwater dive sites in Florida, the caves at Devils Den have been closed off to divers due to the large amount of fatalities that have resulted there. So, if you’ve got a decent breath hold, and a quality weight belt, you can almost explore all the same areas as the divers ( max depth is 54 ft) and spend half the cash and time.
Long story short, Our experience at Devil’s Den was a mixture of love and hate…
What we loved:
The site was beautiful! You really feel like you’re stepping into another world when you walk down those wooden steps into the grotto.
The dive. Despite the incredibly crowded area we were able to find little pockets with no other snorkels and divers around, which gave us some space to explore the limestone formations under the surface.
The people. The staff at Devil’s Den were some of the friendliest and kindest people we have ever encountered. You ever go someplace and feel like it seems the employees are doing you a huge favor by doing their job? It’s not like that at all here! The staff is generally happy, helpful, and most importantly friendly!
What we didn’t love so much:
The crowds. I don’t know why we hadn’t really accounted for it earlier but it was crowded!! The dive site is relatively small and
The price. $20 per person to snorkel in such a confined space with so, so many people seemed a bit steep. But given that this is a privately owned site, and incredibly popular the cost does make sense.
The water temps. Ok so this one is on us and not Devil’s Den, all freshwater springs in Florida generally sit around 73 degrees Fahrenheit year round, pretty nice eh? We’ve always loved our spring experiences, but with the Den the one thing we didn’t account for is the serious lack of sunlight at the surface. Since the site is located in a sinkhole the sun doesn’t reach down and warm you while in the water, meaning after 20-30 minutes you’re cooooooold.
*Travelers Tip: If you have a lightweight wetsuit or free diving gear this is the place to use it. Keeping your core temps up will insure you have a much longer and enjoyable dive!
Devil’s Den is located at 5390 NE 108th Avenue in Williston Florida.
Surrounded by an adorable “old Florida” style town, there’s lots to do, and plenty of yummy places to grab a bite. At the top of our list was Bubbaques BBQ, unfortunatley they were closed the day we were in town. If you happen to stop in be sure to drop us a line and let us know how it was!
Where To Stay:
Stay at the Den! The site offers full hook-up RV sites, tent camping, 4 cabins for rent, as well as double wide that can sleep up to 6 people. They also have some really nice walking trails, and a swimming pool on site for you to laze your post dive day away.
You can learn more about accommodations at Devils Den and pricing here.
What To Bring:
We already touch on this a little but its worth going into a bit more detail here. Wether you’re planning on diving or snorkeling the dive shop at the Den has gear for rent, you can check out their pricing sheet here. If you’re going to spending a lot of time in the water then it’s probably worth investing in your own dive gear.
Here’s the short list of what we brought and should have brought with us, this is all gear tested and loved by us!
- Bathing Suits: You’re going to be in the water. Any questions? Oh and don’t forget towels!
- Mask, Snorkel and Fins: We love our dive gear from US Divers. It’s not crazy top of the line gear, which means its not over the top expensive as dive gear often tends to be, and thats ok with us. What most people don’t tell you about these items is that they don’t last forever, if not used often and stored properly they will dry rot. Dropping hundreds of cash on this just doesn’t make sense to us at this point in our travels.
- Anti-fog Spray: Dive masks have a tendency to fog up. Fog means poor visibility and constantly having to clear your mask, which equals a less than stellar experience. Do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle of Cressi anti-fog spray.
- Weight Belt: If you’re an experienced free diver, and really want to explore some of the depths at the site, then you’re probably going to want a weight belt to get you down there. We really love these rubberized weights in varying sizes depending on how much cake we ate that week!
- Wetsuits/ Freediving Suits: We already touched on this one a bit, but I really do wish we had, had our suits and or in the very least a dive shirt or pants. Dj is head over heels for his Neil Pryde front zip wetsuit, meanwhile I would have been very content in my Roxy Suit.
- Go Pro: Or some form of a water proof camera. There’s some really interesting things to see in the Den, and its worth dragging a camera along with you for it. We’re pretty much addicted to our Go Pro Black these days. It’s lightweight and can really capture some amazing footage. It’s worth mentioning that anything you bring down to the platform you have to keep with you in the water. We didn’t realize this otherwise we probably would have opted to not have brought our dome port down for the whole dive, but you live and learn!
- Telesin Dome Port: Speaking of dome ports… this is the newest addition to our adventure gear and we’re really loving the results its giving us so far! Like any piece of camera gear it has its appropriate uses -which we’re still learning. But for the cost its worth the investment to get some pretty cool split shots!
- Go-Pro Dive Light: As much as we love our dome port, I really wish we had opted to carry down our Go Pro dive light instead. This super simple device adds light to underwater environments where light can be difficult to penetrate and thus absorbed through your camera lens. This is a must have add on for anyone looking to get some really awesome under water footage!
All things considered, we had an amazing trip to Devil’s Den. Was it what we imagined? Maybe not, but that’s ok. Every experience we have helps us grow and learn. Wouldn’t life be boring if everything was exactly how we expected it to be ALL the time?
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