The Best Caves in Virginia: Complete List

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

When it comes to visiting Virginia, the birthplace of our nation, you can’t help but marvel at the extraordinary history behind the state. The first permanent English settlement was established here, which led to a change the world could never have predicted. In addition to producing eight of the US presidents, Virginia is home to over 4,400 caves, proving that its natural history is just as impressive as its American lore.

While there’s no way we could cover all of them here, we did aim to cover all of the exceptional caves Virginia has to offer.

Some other US states, such as Tennessee, Texas, and Missouri, have thousands of caves as well. But Virginia’s caverns will surely be more memorable than most of the caverns and caves available to visit in the US.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Dixie Caverns

The Dixie Caverns is a limestone solution cave, now commercialized and open to the public year-round.

The tour is quite short, only about a quarter mile and 45 minutes long, but you still need some comfortable shoes. The walkways aren’t nearly as comfortable as some of the other commercial caves that have paved the roads for the thousands of tourists. In addition, there are stairs, and it’s best not to bring any elderly or handicapped here.

One visitor mentioned that every few minutes on the tour, take a moment to turn around. There are so many formations and unique sights, that you may miss them if you don’t take advantage of every turn.

There are some low passageways here too, so watch your head. Watch your step as well, as water still flows through the Dixie Caverns in some areas, leading to slick surfaces.

An image shows a glowing orange interior at the Dixie Caverns caves of Virginia.

Endless Caverns

The Endless Caverns are the largest commercial cave tour in Virginia, with tours lasting about an hour and 15 minutes. Discovered by two boys in 1879, these caves have been mapped to about 5.5 miles. This only ranks the 20th longest cave in Virginia, lending some insight to just how many unexplored passageways there still might be underground in the state.

The Endless Caverns site includes a 265-acre campground, with plenty amenities and accommodations for those with RVs.

It’s quiet at night, and the caves are a bit more personal than some other show caves. With narrow passageways, and formations littering your view on every side, you will feel like you are exploring a wild cave on your own at times.

Bright lights provide a backdrop to spread out stalactites and natural pillars inside the Endless Caverns.

Gap Cave (or Gap Caverns)

Another cave located in the Cumberland Gap National Park, Gap Cave is located at the base of Pinnacle Mountain. Sometimes called the Cumberland Gap, or Gap Caverns, they rank in the top 50 longest caves in the US at about 18.5 miles (29.8 km).

Long ago, the Cumberland Gap served as a useful corridor for Native Americans as well as migrating wildlife. They used this gap to travel west to Kentucky and beyond.

Later, during the Civil War, the Cumberland Gap even provided a military site for both sides of the conflict. Proof of their existence was recorded in the form of sloppy graffiti. As a result, much of American history is embedded in this area, though today it is primarily a site to enjoy the natural beauty.

Massive pillars and stalactites clutter the view of the inside of Gap Cave.

Grand Caverns

The Grand Caverns are the oldest continually operating show cave in the country. This already makes it one of the most unique caves in Virginia.

Discovered back in 1804 by a 17-year old named Bernard Weyer, this site became a Natural National Landmark in 1973. Some call it Weyer’s Cave, though it has operated under several names since then.

These caverns house pipistrelle bats and present multiple formations you won’t see duplicated anywhere.

The caves in Shenandoah Valley mostly formed in horizontal limestone layers. But at Grand Caverns, the layers are vertical, shifted due to tremendous tectonic forces over millions of years.

Another feature here is an abundance of shield formations, with only uncertain theories describing their creation.

Recently, the operators here reopened Fountain Cave, which is a nearby cave that now holds an Adventure Tour. With only 50,000 visitors per year, you are likely to enjoy an experience unlike any other.

An inside look at the various stalagmite and stalactites found inside the caves at Grand Caverns, Virginia.

Lost World Caverns

The Lost World Caverns, discovered in 1942, take you 120 feet below the surface to a cold, magical new land.

Tours are about 45 minutes, and cover a half mile (0.8 km) circuit. Stalagmites here have grown up to 80 feet tall, and some unique formations have earned their own names. You’ll see the Snowy Chandelier, a 30-ton compound stalactite, as well as the Bridal Veil, a column made of shining white calcite.

Bob Addis, a baseball player, once sat on a 28-foot stalagmite here for 16 days, to earn his place in the Guinness Book of World Records. We don’t recommend trying to top that.

You’ll want a jacket and comfortable shoes, as well as a camera for this one. The Lost World Caverns are a chilly 52 F year-round, and offer plenty of photo-worthy sights. Children can enjoy gemstone mining and discover arrowheads, minerals, and even fossils to take home with them.

An image shows the walkway and massive stalagmite pillar found at the Lost World Caverns.

Luray Caverns

Luray Caverns are the largest caverns in the eastern US, drawing around 500,000 guests each year. Here, you can enjoy guided tours along paved walkways, as you traverse through some of the largest rooms you could imagine.

In addition to tours and the caverns, there are several adventures for the whole family to enjoy, such as the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum, Shenandoah Heritage Village, and Toy Town Junction. Luray Caverns also sports one of the largest garden mazes in the country.

The tour is approximately an hour, with only about 1.25 miles (2.0 km) of walking, but the caverns are massive.

Towering natural formations include one that earned its own title, the Great Stalacpipe Organ. This wonderful creation is a lithophone, which is an instrument that makes musical notes as different rocks are struck. During the tour, you may get a chance to experience a sound unlike anything else.

Many visitors say that no caverns in Virginia quite match up to Luray Caverns’ beauty, so make sure this one is on your list.

A lake reflects the dozens of stalactites hanging from the ceiling inside the Luray Caverns.

Luray Caverns and Shenandoah Skyline Drive All-Day Tour

An image shows a beautiful sunset and natural landscape along a road, as part of the Luray Caverns and Shenandoah Skyline Drive Tour.

If you’re interested in an all-day tour, there is a special excursion available in Washington DC. You will get to explore the beautiful formations in the Luray Caverns, and then take in the views of the Shenandoah National Park. A combination of perhaps the best caves in Virginia and a scenic trip on the road? What’s not to love?

A mountain trail walk is included, and transportation is tailored to the group size, so feel free to organize your adventure with some buddies for maximum enjoyment.

Natural Bridge Caverns

The Natural Bridge Caverns are one of the later established, but still quite popular, caves in Virginia. However, they are not open year-round.

Here, you will descend more than 34 stories into the Earth on a guided tour, to take in the awe-inspiring views underground.

These caves are still forming, as water continues to carve through the walls and widen passages ever so slowly over time.

An image shows an enormous stalagmite found inside the Natural Bridge Caverns.

Sand Cave

Sand Cave is a hidden gem located in the Cumberland Gap National Park, popular for multiple activities besides caving. Hikers and backpackers enjoy this area for multiple reasons. The most rewarding, perhaps, is the fact that there is a lookout where you can view Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee all from the same place!

Getting to this cave requires a 4 mile (6.5 km) hike. through the Thomas Walker Civic Park.

The floor of this cave is littered with a beautiful yellow and red sand, that collected over the years due to erosion.

Winds carved the cave and chiseled away at the rock, and legends say that there were once 21 different shades of sand found here. Today, it’s more like 6, due to the disturbance caused by tourists. Be mindful of the natural surroundings if you happen to go.

An image from the inside of Virginia's Sand Cave, in the Cumberland Gap.

Shenandoah Caverns

The Shenandoah Caverns feature unique cave formations with a less crowded location than the Luray Caverns. Discovered in 1884 and opened to the public in 1922, there’s quite a history here.

Guided tours take visitors through the breathtaking caves, as various stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, and other formations delight caving enthusiasts. Some of the features here include the Diamond Cascade, Grotto of the Gods, Rainbow Lake, and more.

The caves are 54 degrees year round, and tours are available seven days a week. In addition to the caves, tourists can enjoy numerous other attractions, including 20 massive full-size parade floats during the “American Celebration on Parade”.

A colorful lighting illuminates the inside of the Shenandoah Caverns, one of the show caves in Virginia.

Skyline Caverns

An image shows the anthodites, needle-like crystal formations, found inside the Skyline Caverns of Virginia, but not in almost any other cave in the US.

In Front Royal, Virginia, the Skyline Caverns feature something not found almost anywhere else in the world. If you’re a fan of natural cave formations, you will be delighted to see the anthodites here.

These are long needle-like crystals radiating outward from a common base. Anthodites grow in abundance in only a few places in the US, such as the Carlsbad Caverns, Craighead Caverns, and of course Skyline Caverns in Virginia.

About 80,000 to 100,000 visitors experience Skyline Caverns each year, making it less crowded than Luray Caverns, but still quite popular.

These caves laid beneath the earth’s surface for over 60 million years, and were discovered by Walter S. Amos in 1937. Today, school groups flock for the educational experience, as it is a family-friendly site.

Tours depart every 30 minutes and last one hour long. In addition, no reservations are required.

Red, blue, green, and purple lighting spread across a mostly flat but diverse floor at the Skyline Caverns.


As you can tell by now, Virginia has some of the more interesting caves in the country. Whether you like massive single rooms or long, narrower paths through the underground, you can find it all here.

There are so many more caves we haven’t covered here, as well. If you’re looking for more adventure in Virginia, these are the most popular caves we can recommend. However, as Virginia is quite close to several other states, you may want to try exploring some of the caves found there as well.

Consider some of the bordering states next:

Kentucky Caves

Maryland Caves

North Carolina Caves

Tennessee Caves

West Virginia Caves

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