That’s right, there are so many caves in Texas that even long-long residents have likely not had the opportunity to see half of these fabulous show caves. Long used by Native tribes for shelter and safety, many of these caverns boast a rich Texas history filled with legends and lore. Informative, guided tours are available of these Texas caves, making them safely accessible for most.
Natural Bridge Caverns
Arguably the most popular cave in Texas, Natural Bridge Caverns is certainly the most amazing and largest show cave in the Lone Star State. Proximal to San Antonio on the outskirts of the Texas Hill Country, visitors meander from each cavernous room in sheer awe at the massive flowstones and soda straw stalactites. Massive chandeliers and cave ribbons also fill the cave, as do colossal formations that feature some rather fascinating names. A wide variety of tours can take visitors deeper into the cave, and there are lantern tours, adventure tours, and many other activities including a zip line tour and an area where the family can pan for gold. Daily hours and onsite concessions make stopping by Natural Bridge Caverns an easy spontaneous day trip.
Longhorn Caverns – Burnet
One of the best caves in Texas (and the most popular) is Longhorn Caverns. Longhorn Caverns State Park offers more than just a spectacular cave, but miles of marked hiking trails and historical sites, too. Back to the cave, guided tours last just over an hour, and there is a Wild Cave Tour offered for those willing to go a little deeper. These cavern chambers were uniquely formed by cutting action of running water and dissolution of limestone, creating absolutely stunning, meandering chambers. Concessions and a gift shop are onsite, and you can purchase tickets for day tours and monthly ghost hunting tours online at Longhorns Caverns.
Inner Space Caverns – Georgetown
Accidentally discovered by a core drilling team in the 60s, Inner Space Cavern boasts huge columns, amazing flowstones, eerie sky openings, and a surplus of intriguing formations. Most notably, this cavern is one of the few in the state where prehistoric animal fossils and remains have been uncovered. Open daily, several guided tours from traditional to adventures await visitors, and one of the more popular tours is the Sister Caves Tour of exhibits inside and outside of the caves, including Indian burial grounds, cave sinks, and a historic railroad. The Hidden Passages Tour takes you through a newly opened segment of the cave, so you can be among the earliest explorers of this undeveloped section.
Wonder World Park – San Marcos
Most don’t associate Texas with earthquakes, but the formation of the cave at Wonder World is a direct result of one that occurred along the Balcones Fault Line. In fact, this is the only example of an earthquake formed cave in the US! Beyond the impressive formations and fossils within the cave, many impossibly large boulders seem to literally hang in the air, ready to drop at a moments notice. Don’t worry, they’re solidly trapped between the rubble of the earthquake, but it’s a remarkable sight. Exit the cave through the Stratovator to take a super-cool ride to the top of the observation tower, and then enjoy strolling through the anti-gravity house, where water flows uphill!
Ideal for families with youngsters, there’s still more to do at Wonder World. Take a ride on the park’s train through waterfalls to the Texas Wildlife Petting Park where you can interact with and feed the animals along the way. Hang out cafe and grab some lunch, and make sure to snap a pic of the group at the Wonder World Park display wall before heading out as a souvenir.
Fans of the underground (and the cool climate offered to escape the stifling Texas heat) will love these cavern options, sure to delight all ages of the family!
T. L. Mastic’s first cave experience was in her home state of New Mexico when she visited Carlsbad Caverns. Later, as a Highland Lakes resident, she discovered these other enjoyable caverns. She writes about and promotes the Highland Lakes area. For more information about this region, please visit Facebook and Twitter.