Blue Grotto - Atlas Obscura

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Blue Grotto

Discover diverse aquatic life and befriend resident turtles at this private diving grotto in north Florida. 


You don’t have to sail off the coast of Capri to explore a stunning blue grotto. In north Florida, a freshwater spring in a rainbow of blues beckons divers to discover the depths below. 

Shaded by a canopy of trees, and roughly 25 miles southwest of Gainesville, the secluded Blue Grotto is privately owned and offers daily dives, lessons, and overnight stays. 

Three distinct depth levels appeal to a wide range of divers, including those who are just starting. In the open-water upper basin, novice divers can descend up to 40 feet and tap into colorful aquatic activity, including large schools of sunfish, blue tilapia, and koi fish.

Lucky divers may interact with the grotto’s famed Florida softshell turtle known as Virgil. A second turtle, Turbo, has been known to frequent these waters as well.  

Natural limestone formations and more aquatic life blend with mermaid sculptures and other underwater statues of manatees, dolphins, and gnomes in the two lower cabins. The deepest chamber, reserved for only highly trained, cave-certified divers, offers no direct sunlight or ambient light at depths of up to 100 feet. 

No matter your experience level, or even if you just want to visit the pool and share a picnic, the Blue Grotto offers a wide array of underwater adventures.

Know Before You Go

The Blue Grotto is located in Williston, Florida, about 25 miles southwest of Gainesville. The spring is just under an hour’s drive from other popular dive sites, like Devil’s Den, Manatee Springs, Ginnie Springs, and more. 

Admission fees vary based on the type of dive. On-site rental cabins are available with a reservation. Group shelters, tent camping ($20 nightly), and RV camping ($40 nightly) are also available. A full-service dive center sells scuba gear and other necessities.

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August 4, 2023

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