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“Hidden dive treasure” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Paradise Springs

Paradise Springs
4040 Southeast 84th Lane Road, Ocala, FL 34480
352-368-5746
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Ranked #24 of 47 things to do in Ocala
Activities: Scuba diving
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Attraction details
Owner description: Commercially operated cave diving site.
Waycross ga
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Hidden dive treasure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2009

As the other posts said,visually, it's not impressive from the surface. A 20 foot surface pool sitting in a 30 ft sink, but wait untill you see it from the water. I was not prepared for the size of the cavern, you will need lights, in fact they require them. Pop down to 60 and 90 ft and look back up, it will humble you. At 92 ft is the grim reaper sign, trust me, my dive light peering into the blackness of the cave convinced me to go no farther. Back up for some SI time and a bite to eat, new tanks, then spend time in the upper caverns looking at fossils and exploring. Diver only attraction, no other amenities for bystanders. As on other post owners are friendly and helpful, give them a call to make sure there open before coming.
If your diving Florida caverns this is a must dive. Don't let it's low visibility and unimpressive exterior put you off.
I for one will dive it again as long as they will let me

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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17 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Ocala, Fl
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Off the beaten path”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2007

Paradise Springs ia a great, mostly unknown place to dive. It's not in the Who's Who of springs, but not because it doesn't deserve it. Paradise is owned by a husband and wife team who literally use their garage for gear storage and site orientation. Don't expect anything special like a retail shop or a snack bar. Ocala is just minutes away so anything you forgot is just up the road. You can show up with just your c-card and a bathing suit and they'll rent you the rest if you want. Oh, did I mention it's a great dive?. That part you'll just have to see for yourself!

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cocoa Beach, FL
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“My private oasis is Paradise Springs, Florida”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2007

Paradise Springs is my private oasis.
From the moment I turn off the main drag, hit the dirt road, I begin to mentally and physically decompress from the other world.
A dive destination to be savored in slo mo: Enjoy the drive, pay attention to the dive video that you will view in spring owner Curtis' garage. Rent a light if you forgot yours. Sashay on down to the spring for a look-see before your plunge. Breath-takingly surreal.
Remember, the very steep walk down to the sinkhole is both fascinating and challenging. Water temp is about 72 degrees year round.
Immediately upon submerging, turn around and peer beneath the deck. A petrified whale's hip bone is embedded in the cavern wall. Dotting the surrounding walls are sea biscuits and sand dollars. Pay close attention to other fossils.
I love this place although I am torn. Do I shout from the treetops, WOW visit Paradise? Or greedily keep this lovely dinosaur-eraesque charmer to myself?
I've decided to dive on weekdays when the chance of seeing others is slimmer and tell folks like you of the wonderous delight.
But you must promise to respect this oasis and the gentle owners Curtis, Jennifer and little Curtis. Happy bubbles.

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanford, Florida
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Nice cavern deep cavern dive for intermediate divers.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2007

Well, first of all, I was surprised that this little sink hole was in someone's yard. Granted, it was a 5 or 10 acre lot. Like another rater stated, you do fill out the paperwork in the owner's driveway. The mandatory video is on a stand in his garage, behind the 4 wheeler! Don't get me wrong -- I had a great time and even appreciate the fact that it's not some overrun, overdeveloped spring. It really is a beautiful throwback to pre-Disney Florida.

The sink itself is unassuming, hidden in a grove of trees and thick underbrush, in the middle of a horse pasture. I was surprised how far down the sink was. I realize sinkholes are depressions in the ground, it just seemed weird to see a deep depression hidden in the trees. The property is otherwise pancake flat.

The dive was enjoyable. It reminds me of Blue Springs (depth and angle), but I enjoyed this one more. There are a lot of interesting fossils, shells and petrified things to look at -- however, you have to look for them! If you jump in and head straight for the bottom and then head straight back up, you'll miss seeing the cool stuff between there and back!

I believe someone mentioned that the cave bottoms out around 140 feet deep and the cavern (visible light) ends at about 96 feet or so. If you haven't been in a cavern this deep, the surface above is visible at 96 feet, but very faint and very hazy. I'm sure we were kicking some stuff up, but don't think you would want to go even 20 feet down without a light.

If you have a couple of bright lights, or have a buddy with one of those super bright cave lights, you can see the tombstone (marker) of someone who died. The marker is located just past the 96' mark (Grim Reaper sign). You have to look straight down into the cave, slightly to the right. I would guess that it's another 15 or 20 feet deeper. It had inscriptions on it, but I didn't dare go closer. I'm told it had the birth and death date of the diver who died. Certainly a reminder to not ignore the Grim Reaper sign and do anything foolish.

Up top, there are a few picnic tables and a decent gazebo. No barbecue grills though. There is a little bathroom nearby. Clean enough for me, but not the most fancy. There is an outdoor shower (with no pressure) and a waist high spigot. The spigot had good pressure and served as a great place to wash the dirt off of the wet suits.

This is not a place for the non-diver. Take the family to Ginnie Springs. There is no beach or swimming area here.. It's just a 20 foot wide (if that) hole in the ground.

Did I like it? Heck yes! Would I go back? Most definitely.

I think from a pure dive perspective, it's a much more enjoyable cavern dive than say Ginnie Springs. Paradise Springs will set you back about $30, but definitely worth checking out!

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
“Great Trip - No Paradise Lost”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2005

I Dove Paradise Springs for the first time on October 29 2005. I found it delightful.

The area right around the springs is natural. There are clear pathways and decks at the springs, picnic tables all around, a gazebo, a bathroom with an electric fan/heater where you can keep warm while changing.

The owner, Curtis, is a PADI instructor and avid diver. He shows a very well-done orientation video to all first-timers.

Paradise Springs has a wealth of prehistoric fossils, one large whale bone, lots of fossilized sand dollars and sea biscuits. You can go to 97 feet without cave diver training. Some of the cave divers I spoke with had been as far as 155'.

The springs is located on their personal home property. Jennifer is a groomer and will groom your dog while you're there.

Perhaps a little pricey at $30 per day, but you can dive all you want for one price. Air fills are $8, and the equipment is slow, but it's about a hundred feet away so you can have a tank filled while you are diving or taking an SI.

Loved it. Would go again.

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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