On the trip to the United States, during a tour with a Chinese company to visit various cities like Washington DC, we were taken to a place that we had never heard of which really surprised us. Luray Caverns are impressive caves with stalactites and stalagmites that have been created over millions of years. Walking through the galleries, you find yourself entranced with the beauty that nature can create. I highly recommend a visit to this incredibly indescribable place in Virginia. It is a very pleasant surprise.
Located in the heart of the Monument Valley National Park, John Ford's Point is one of the main natural attractions, and should not be missed. It is home to a small Navajo market where there are particularly beautiful examples of Indian jewelry to see, but you'll also find one of the most famous views in the United States, that have been used in so many westerns! A discovery that takes your breath away, especially at sunset.
You can't miss a trip to the Shenandoah Caverns is you're in Washington. They're only about 45 minutes away. Exploring the caves takes around an hour and the climate in the caves is stable so you can visit throughout the year. It costs $20 per adult. It's do it again in a heartbeat.
Perry's Cave, located in Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island, is registered as an Ohio Natural Landmark. It is a natural limestone cave that lies 52 feet below the surface of Put-in-Bay. It was discovered in 1813 by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, hero of the battle of Lake Erie. There are many fascinating things to see inside the cave, such as stalactites, stalagmites, and various formations that the tour guides believe look like various animals, items, etc. The tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable and tell very interesting stories about the history of the cave. There is a rare underground lake inside the cave. Tours run every 20 minutes and cost $8 per person. You can combine your ticket price with some of the other attractions at the site, like mini golf or the butterfly sanctuary to offset the total cost. There is also a gift shop at the cave.
Get inspired and feel reborn by hiking to the Jim Morrison Cave up high in the Malibu mountains. It’s rumored that Jim Morrison from The Doors used to come to this cave to escape and to do some writing. Getting up to the trailhead is about a five-mile winding drive on incline on Corral Canyon Road from Pacific Coast Highway. Eventually you’ll reach a dirt lot where you can park.
It’s easy to get lost when hiking to the cave. Once in the lot, find the trail that runs somewhat parallel to Corral Canyon Road. The correct trail starts near the entrance to/exit out of the dirt lot – it’s not the trail that’s right in front of the parking lot.
The trail to the cave is pretty short (less than a mile) and relatively easy (I say relatively because there is a tiny bit of incline at some points, but it’s nothing too difficult). If you reach a labyrinth, it means you’ve gone to far. When hiking, before you hit the labyrinth, keep an eye out to your left for a narrow, barely noticeable path that leads to a big rock. Take that one, and you’ll be on your way. You’ll then you have to wiggle through a tiny space to wiggle yet again up through an opening that resembles a birth canal, so it does help a bit if you’re small. If not, no worries! You can still get up there.
The Jim Morrison Cave is a fantastic hidden gem to check out in Los Angeles County.
Blanchard Springs Caverns is a large, beautiful cave in Ozark National Forest near Mountain View, Arkansas. The cave was formed by the filtering of water through the limestone rock over millions of years (a process which still continues today) and the result are some truly stunning and unique stalactites and other formations. One word of advice, though: the interior of the cave is chilly and damp so make sure to bring a light jacket of a sweater if you want to really explore it.
The best way to experience the cave is with a tour...the guides are members of the National Park System and give you information about the history and geologic process involved in the Blanchard Springs Caverns. There are two main routes: one short and sweet, the other a bit longer and more involved. The first is the Dripstone Trail; this tour takes about an hour and is perfect if you're going with kids. It take place along a walkway and there are some places to sit down if you're feeling a bit tired. The longer tour is called the Discovery Trail and it takes a little under two hours. This trail takes you a lot deeper into the caves but involves a lot of stairs, so make sure you're in good shape as well as bundled up.
Both tours cost around $10 and there are discounts for children under fifteen years old. It's open year-round but you should go in summer. The chance to spend an hour or two in a cool, 60-degree environment in the middle of the Arkansas summer is priceless!
The Shoshone Indian Ice Caves are a truly unique natural phenomenon in Shoshone, Idaho that you absolutely can't miss if you're in the area. While it bears the name of "cave," it' not a cave in the traditional sense: rather, it's a quarter-mile-long volcanic tube craved out by ancient lava flows. Over the years, the cold current of air rushing through the cave has frozen the ground water and condensation into a beautiful, smooth floor of ice.
Access to the caves is restricted to guided tours. After paying your admission fee (a somewhat steep $10 for access and tour), you're invited to explore the visitors center and small geology museum until tour time. When the tour starts, a local guide will take you down through the caves exploring its history from a social and geological point of view. I'm usually not one for guided tours, but the guide was really knowledgeable and the info helped give the cave historical context and actually made the visit much more interesting. One tip: make sure to bring a light jacket of sweater if you get chilly easily. It hovers around freezing in the caves (even in summer) and since the tour lasts around 45min., you might get a bit cold. I will say that it's absolutely refreshing in the summertime!
The Cave of the Mounds is a spectacular limestone cave near the town of Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. The Cave of the Mounds stands out not just for its beauty, but also its geological importance. While it’s not the most famous cave in US, it does possess one of the richest varieties of mineral formations in the area, a fact which has led many to call it “America’s Jewel Box.” There are guided tours of the cave almost every day of the year and they take you through the glittering galleries of crystallized minerals and give you some background into the history and geology behind the cave. Make sure to bring a sweater or light jacket as the cave maintains a steady temperature of around 50º throughout the year.
The area around the cave also merits a visit, especially if you like hiking. The whole area is a karst landscape so there are lots of hidden pools, sinkholes, and sprawling green forests. The best trail is probably the Karst View Trail which takes you past some of the area’s sinkholes and finishes at a fossil-hunt area that the kids will love. The whole trail is a little under a half a mile long and is appropriate for all levels.