Experience one of Florida’s most beautiful and memorable cavern dives at Paradise Springs near Ocala, Florida4040 S.E. 84th Lane Road Ocala, Florida 34480 (352) 368-5746
The huge cavern area with prehistoric fossils embedded in the walls makes every dive interesting and enjoyable. The strata of prehistoric limestone that was once beneath the sea are clearly visible as you make your way around the large water filled room and at every turn more fossils are revealed. Be sure to take your time because there are so many things to see.
Clear water and 72 degree constant water temperature make Paradise Springs a year-round destination. A permanent guideline and the sight of the opening visible to the diver most of the time throughout the dive makes the dive accessible for most divers.
Conveniently located off Highway 441 south of Ocala, this privately owned site makes an excellent day trip from many areas of the state. At the spring you can be on your own schedule and enjoy this amazing geological wonder set under the shade of beautiful oak trees. There are picnic tables, a gazebo, restroom / changing room, a spring water shower, and you are welcome to bring a grill to cook lunch on the grounds.
Thursday - Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm
Saturday - Sunday 8:00am to 5:00pm
Paradise Springs is open year-round, but closed on Christmas Day.
Because Paradise Springs is a family owned dive park it’s always a good idea to call in advance to check the schedule.
Unlike many springs open to divers there is no large pool and no stream or run flowing from it. Paradise Springs is a “Karst Window” - an opening to an underground stream. History doesn’t record when the earth collapsed, revealing the clear water below, but the years have made the landscape dramatic. Set among the rolling hills of the Ocala area terrain and shaded by magnificent oak trees, the view from the steps down to the water is quite picturesque.
At the bottom of the stone steps surrounded by tropical plants is a small dock with a bench and wooden steps for water entry to the exposed spring pool. Divers enter the water here and prepare for descent into the cavern. A permanent float on the surface is tethered near a wooden platform submerged 15 feet below the surface, providing a descent line. The platform is ideal for your safety stop at the end of the dive and reduces silting by divers just entering the water. Buoyancy control is important here because when silt is stirred up the low flow means it takes time to clear.
At the platform you are at the top of the “debris cone”- the rock and sand deposited when the sink collapsed. The large cavern room opens up as you move deeper. Look for fossils imbedded in the rock strata. Prehistoric sand dollars, sea biscuits, and the remains of ancient marine life are imbedded in the limestone. The main cavern has enough interesting features for an entire day of diving.
At a depth of about 20 feet look for a solid permanent line leading deeper into the overhead. This guideline will lead down a large shaft to a small room at approximately 99 feet. Most surface light will be lost at this point but the surface light glow is still visible most of the time at the 99ft. level. Here you will encounter the “Grim Reaper Sign” warning of cave certification needed to proceed further. Beyond the sign there is a small shaft that continues to a depth of 140 feet. No diver should proceed beyond the warning sign unless full cave certified and properly equipped for such a dive.
Paradise Springs is a unique dive site and all visitors are asked to take precautions to preserve the site for all to enjoy. Please maintain good buoyancy control, trying not to stir the fine silt on the bottom. A careless fin kick can dramatically reduce the visibility for all. The limestone and fossils are very fragile and any damage is permanent. Please try to make as little contact as possible with the rock structure and there is absolutely no souvenir collecting allowed. In and around the spring you may come into contact with the plant and animal life of this fragile ecosystem. Please be respectful.
Entry Fee: $30.00 per diver per day- Cash only, sorry we do not accept credit cards.
Air Fills and Equipment Rental available.
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Two experienced divers take you on a tour of the cavern in this video:
- No one is allowed into the spring without being a Certified Diver and having signed a current liability waiver.
- No diver shall enter the cavern with less than 2,000psi / 135BAR tank pressure.
- All divers must observe “rule of thirds” and begin exiting the cavern with 2/3 of remaining gas supply.
- No diver shall go below 60 feet/ 18 meters unless advance certified.
- No Solo Diving
- No diving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- No open water style knives allowed. Only “Z knives” or non-pointed line cutters are allowed.
- No diving beyond the 100 foot /30 meters level unless cave certified and properly equipped.
- Each diver must be equipped with an alternate air source.
- Each diver must be equipped with a primary light and at least one backup light.
Upon entering the grounds all divers must register at the office and provide proof of SCUBA certification. All divers are required to watch a short orientation video explaining the cavern layout and dive specifics.
Directions to Paradise Springs
From the north take Highway 441 South towards the town of Belleview. Approximately 7 miles south of Highway 40 in Ocala you will see a Marion County Sheriff’s office building in the median of Hwy. 441. Continue past the Sheriff’s office and make the first U-turn to come back northbound. After making the U-turn look to the right side of the road for a group of mailboxes. The first mailbox has a dive flag painted on the side of it and a sign below that says “Paradise Springs Scuba Diving.” Turn right onto the sand road by the mail boxes; continue across the railroad tracks and then make a right turn. Follow the road a short distance to Paradise Springs; you will see the white gate and dive flags. Drive through the gate and follow the signs to the sign-in location.
From the south take Highway 441 North toward Ocala. Approximately 3 miles after passing through the town of Belleview on the right you will see a group of mailboxes, the first of which has a dive flag painted on the side and a sign below that says “Paradise Springs Scuba Diving.” Turn right onto the sand road by the mail boxes; continue across the railroad tracks and then make a right turn. Follow the road a short distance to Paradise Springs; you will see the white gate and dive flags. Drive through the gate and follow the signs to the sign-in location.