Explore Underground Caverns and Caves

When you're planning your trip into the mountains this fall, check to see if there are any caverns and caves you can visit along the way. There is a lot to see and learn underground in a cavern or cave, and even the youngest geologist in your family will enjoy the rock formations.

The National Caves Association includes listings of scores of caves and caverns throughout the United States and Bermuda. Take a look at the National Caves Association website for a national listing of caverns by state.

Some of the most well-known caves in the United States include:

Carlsbad Caverns National Park (National Park Service) in New Mexico contains over 100 known caves and an estimated 300,000 bats.

Howe Caverns in New York takes visitors on a boat ride in the underground Lake of Venus.

Luray Caverns in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley is a particularly spectacular place to visit in the fall as the leaves along nearby Skyline Drive change their colors. Our children always enjoyed the rock formations in the shapes of veils, totem poles and fried eggs, and caves with names like Giant's Hall and Pluto's Chasm.

Many cavern tours require climbing stairs and walking on uneven surfaces, so wear comfortable shoes that provide good traction. Strollers are not permitted in some caves, so call ahead to see if they are allowed. Also remember that it is about 50-60 degrees in the caves all year round, so don't forget to take a jacket.

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