Hiking, Swimming, Caverns, & More in Marianna, Florida
Jackson County, Florida sits in the Northwest area of the state. It is home to the town of Marianna, a historic town which has three exits off of I-10.
The town of Marianna is filled with spectacular nature and has a cool, country vibe. While in Marianna, I recommend diving or swimming, exploring natural caverns, and relaxing at a cute bed and breakfast.
If any of those activities appeal to you, Jackson County (named for Andrew Jackson) may be just what you are looking for.
Exploring the Florida State Caverns
The Florida State Caverns has been a National Landmark since 1976. It is the only location in the entire state of Florida with cave attractions. Limestone stalactites and stalagmites (in several forms) decorate the cave, surrounding you. They are literally close enough to touch. Noteworthy formations include soda straws and draperies (look at me with those impressive terms) rising from the floor and hanging from the ceiling.
The windy, dry air-filled cave takes you through room after room as you transit into the Earth and hover through small passageways. Temperatures hover around 68-70 degrees year round. The most popular room is the Wedding Room, featuring a huge display of limestone that resembles a wedding cake. Another fascinating item is the flowstone, sheet-like speleothems, which look like frozen puddles of water in the big trenches. At times, hiking through the cave is a bit strenuous, having to duck through narrow passageways and step around large water holes. Dress appropriately.
Other opportunities on the Florida State Caverns property are hiking, fishing, golfing, horseback riding, and touring the museum. Bring a picnic and make a day out of it!
Chipola River/ Merritts Mill Pond
Merritts Mill Pond is more like a river than a spring-fed pond due to its 202-acre size. It is known for cave-diving and first-class fishing. When I visited Marianna with some friends, we rented a pontoon boat through Cave Adventures and went up to Blue Spring, the most sought after destination in Northwest Florida. Blue Spring is a natural spring that pumps 64-million gallons of water per day. This is one of eight springs along Merritts Mill Pond’s four-mile waterway. It is highly popular for spring hopping, as well as with scuba divers.
The blue and green clear, sparkly waters of the Blue Spring are astounding! It is mesmerizing to watch. Gorgeous moss-draped cypress and live oak trees line the banks around the pond, making it look more like a famous wall painting than landscape. Blue Spring discharges approximately 650,000 gallons of water each day and maintains a 68-degree water temperature year-round. This is beauty you have to see first-hand to believe. Why not take a dip in the water while you are there? Be prepared by bringing a towel along.
Hinson House Bed & Breakfast
Looking for a place to stay during your Marianna visit? The Hinson House Bed & Breakfast will take fantastic care of you in their antique-filled 5 room Bed & Breakfast. Enjoy swinging on their front porch, winding down in their common room with a large selection of books, games, and a computer, or mingling with other guests. The Hinson House rooms are decorated in a mix of Victorian-era fashion and modern day comforts. Each bedroom has its own private bath.
While the property is welcoming and comfortable, the breakfast will knock your socks off! The Innkeeper, Rachel, prepares healthy fare with locally sourced items as much as possible. Snacks, sodas, wine, and beer are offered to guests all day and night. Parking is available within steps of the entrance of these reasonably priced accommodations. If you have never considered staying at a bed & breakfast instead of a hotel, this is a good one to try out to get a feel for the difference in properties.
Get Back to Nature and Relax in Marianna, Florida
Schedule yourself a holiday and come to Marianna, Florida. Enjoy the enchanting caves and floating down the pond by day and rest your weary bones in the comfort of a cozy bed and breakfast by night. The next morning, be treated to a grandiose breakfast and service, all included in the price of the room. What a great way to pamper yourself as well as get in touch with nature and the outdoors! Marianna is just the place to do both.
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