Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park is an amazing place indeed. Home to one of North Americas largest underwater cave systems, nearly 33,000 feet of underwater caverns have been mapped by cartographers with nearly 28,000 feet being mapped by local divers. Local legend Sheck Exley was crucial to mapping out much of those 28,000 feet with dive partners. He unfortunately passed away during a deep water cave dive in Mexico in 1994. A memorial placed at the springs honors his work.
The park is named in honor of another of the parks legends, Wes Skiles. His work was detrimental to photographing and filming these amazing underwater rivers that few of us ever see. His work helped to preserve many of Florida’s hydrological features. He unfortunately died on a diving expedition off of Florida’s east coast.
Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park plays host to two major springs, a spring run, six sinkholes, four distinct communities of mature forest and some amazing Florida red maple stands.
For those who don’t want to get their feet wet, a nature trail invites visitors to explore the surrounding sinkholes and springs. A new trail is under construction so some parts of the trail system may be closed.
The new nature trail will take visitors on an above ground look at the underground cave systems that are below their feet. Photos, maps and interpretive displays are set up all along the trail that follows one of Peacock Springs many underground cave systems. State of the art kiosks along the trail will tell visitors about what amazing hydrologic features lies directly below their feet. Contact Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park at (386)776-2194 for more details on the opening and closing of trails and amenities.
While cave diving is allowed only by certified divers only, the park has two popular spots for swimming and snorkeling to those who aren’t familiar with cave diving. The cool waters of Peacock Springs and Orange Grove Sink are good for swimming and snorkeling if conditions are favorable for seasonal water levels. Once again, call the park for more details on swimming area closures.
Once you’ve explored the parks unique underwater features or amazing nature trails, stop on by the two covered picnic areas for an afternoon lunch for the perfect ending to a great day at Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park.
For more information about directions to the park, fees or hours of operations, visit the official state park website here.