Exploring Coral Caverns in Bedford County

Exploring Coral Caverns in Bedford County Pennsylvania.

Coral Caverns in Bedford County is a “show cave” like no other in PA!

Stalactites and stalagmites at Coral Caverns in Bedford County PA.
Stalactites and stalagmites inside the caverns.

There is no website, no advertising, no “gem mine”, no concessions, and no souvenirs for sale!

The Visitor Center at Coral Caverns in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
The minimalist Visitor Center.

What you will find inside Coral Caverns are the remains of a 420 million year old coral reef that formed off the coast of modern-day Virginia and migrated (via plate tectonics and continental drift) to Bedford County over the eons.

Stalactites inside Coral Caverns in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Stalactites near the coral reef wall inside the caverns.

Coral Caverns is a family-owned and operated attraction, and can be visited by appointment only (more on that in a bit).

Office hours at the Coral Caverns Visitor Center.
Office hours.

So in a way it’s like visiting an underground speakeasy – you have to know how to find it, who to talk to, and how to make an appointment to get in!

Inside the Visitor Center at Coral Caverns in Bedford County PA.
Inside the Visitor Center.

Fortunately for you, I’ve assembled all that information for you in this article, and it IS worth the effort to see Coral Caverns in person.

Formations inside Coral Caverns in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Illuminated “speleothem” formations inside the caverns.

How to Find Coral Caverns in Bedford County

Coral Caverns is located 2 miles south of Shawnee State Park, just off Route 31 in the small town of Manns Choice.

How to find Coral Caverns in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Map to Coral Caverns.

If navigating by GPS, use coordinates 40.006946, -78.587166 to find the Coral Caverns Visitor Center.

Vintage mining cart along the Coral Caverns driveway.
Vintage mining cart along the caverns driveway.

If you want a good landmark, look for the remains of a train car and a mining cart displayed along the gravel driveway leading to the Visitor Center at Coral Caverns.

Old train car sitting below the Coral Caverns Visitor Center.
Old train car sitting below the Visitor Center.

How to Schedule a Tour of Coral Caverns

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, tours of Coral Caverns are given by appointment only.

Directional sign to Coral Caverns in Manns Choice, Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Directional sign to the caverns in Manns Choice.

The phone number to call/text is 814-977-9570.

Tours of Coral Caverns in Bedford County is only available by appointment.
Tours of the caverns are only available by appointment.

If you don’t get an answer, you’ll get a voice mail prompting you to leave a message with the day/time you are interested in visiting.

Vintage photos and advertising memorabilia from Coral Caverns in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Vintage cavern photos and advertising memorabilia on display in the Visitor Center.

What You’ll See at Coral Caverns

The Visitor Center at Coral Caverns is a single room, filled with an assortment of fossils, dioramas, and caving-related artifacts and memorabilia.

Fossil display at Coral Caverns in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Fossil display in the Visitor Center.

The first time I visited Coral Caverns was as a kid in the 1970s (when it was still called Wonderland Caverns), and it was neat to see photos of that era on display in the Visitor Center as well.

Coral Caverns in Bedford County was formerly knows as Wonderland Caverns.
Coral Caverns in Bedford County was formerly knows as Wonderland Caverns.

The entrance to the caverns is off the back of the Visitor Center, via a 50 foot-long tunnel.

Looking back through a passageway towards the entrance to Coral Caverns in Bedford County Pennsylvania..
Looking back through the tunnel towards the entrance to the caverns.

As this is a “show cave” (albeit without many of the frills associated with a show cave), you’ll see lots of stalactites and stalagmites with whimsical names, illuminated with colorful lights.

Red and blue lights illuminating some of the speleothems inside Coral Caverns in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Red and blue lights illuminating some of the speleothems inside the caverns.

One of the highlights for me was seeing the original entrance, a precarious set of stairs sealed off for safety reasons in 1985, but which I vaguely remember descending as a kid on my first visit in the 1970s.

The old entrance to Coral Caverns used these steep, narrow steps.
The old entrance to the caverns used these steep, narrow steps.

There are more modern stairs inside Coral Caverns now, which take you down to a lower level of the the caverns.

Stairway leading to a deeper section of Coral Caverns in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Stairway leading to a deeper section of the caverns.

Coral Caverns is not the largest cavern you’ll ever explore (the tour takes about 30 minutes), and it’s far from the flashiest, but I very much enjoyed the low-key atmosphere the owners have created here, and look forward to visiting again in the future.

Visiting Coral Caverns in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Inside Coral Caverns “show cave” in Manns Choice, PA.

Laurel Caverns is billed as “Pennsylvania’s Largest Cave”, and is a great way to spend an hour or two BENEATH the Laurel Highlands!

Exploring Laurel Caverns in Fayette County, PA
Laurel Caverns in Fayette County.

First discovered by Native Americans thousands of years ago, Laurel Caverns has been a popular “show cave” for many decades now, featuring among other things, an underground waterfall!

Calico Falls inside Laurel Caverns.
Calico Falls inside Laurel Caverns.

Lincoln Caverns gives visitors the opportunity to explore an incredibly beautiful world far below the surface of Huntingdon County!

Visiting Lincoln Caverns in Huntingdon County Pennsylvania.
Lincoln Caverns in Huntingdon County.

Discovered during the construction of Route 22 in 1930, the Lincoln Caverns tour visits both the original cavern as well as Whisper Rocks cavern, discovered just prior to World War 2 on the hill above Lincoln Caverns.

Whisper Rocks Cavern in Huntingdon COunty PA.
Whisper Rocks Cavern.

Tytoona Cave in Blair County  is owned by the National Speleological Society and is maintained as a “natural cave”, with no lights or staircases.

Exploring Tytoona Cave in Blair County Pennsylvania.
Entrance to Tytoona Cave in Blair County.

The first 1,000 feet of Tytoona Cave is essentially a horizontal walking passage, but going any further requires diving equipment.

Historical records of the cave date back to 1788, and it was noted on county maps from the early 1800s.
The first 1,000 feet of Tytoona Cave is essentially a horizontal walking passage.

Penn’s Cave in Centre County offers the only cavern tour in the United States that is conducted completely by boat!

Some of the flat-bottom boats used to give tours of Penn's Cave.
Some of the flat-bottom boats used to give tours of Penn’s Cave.

Woodward Cave in Centre County contains 5 large rooms, hundreds of yards of tunnels and passageways, and the largest stalagmite in Pennsylvania!

Exploring Woodward Cave in Centre County PA
Woodward Cave is home to the largest stalagmite in Pennsylvania.

Indian Echo Caverns is a beautiful “show cave” located 3 miles west of Hershey in Dauphin County.

Exploring Indian Echo Caverns near Hershey Pennsylvania.
Scenes from Indian Echo Caverns.

Crystal Cave in Berks County was the first “show cave” to open in Pennsylvania, with official tours beginning shortly after it was discovered in 1871!

Exploring Crystal Cave in Berks County Pennsylvania
Scenes from Crystal Cave.

Lost River Caverns near Allentown gets its name from an entirely underground river system that passes through the cave.

Lost River Caverns tours near Allentown Pennsylvania
Lost River Caverns near Allentown.

Nearby Attractions

Exploring Shawnee State Park in Bedford County is your guide to the best things to see and do at this remarkable 3,983 acre recreational area just north of Coral Caverns.

October at Shawnee State Park.
Shawnee State Park in Bedford County.

The Bedford Coffee Pot is a unique 18 foot-tall “novelty structure” built along what was known at the time as the Lincoln Highway, America’s first coast-to-coast highway.

The Bedford Coffee Pot in October 2020.
The Bedford Coffee Pot along the Lincoln Highway.

Dunkle’s Gulf Station along the Lincoln Highway in Bedford is a throwback to the early days of American automobile transportation.

Dunkle's Gulf Station in Bedford Pennsylvania
Dunkle’s Gulf Station in downtown Bedford.

The Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford County (just minutes from Coral Caverns) not only serves up delicious food and beverages in a colonial American setting, but it is rumored to be the most haunted restaurant in Pennsylvania!

The historic and supposedly haunted Jean Bonnet Tavern along the Lincoln HIghway in Bedford County, PA.
The Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford County.

22 Must-See Attractions in Bedford County is your guide to even more great attractions near Coral Caverns.

Fort Bedford Museum in downtown Bedford Pennsylvania.
The Fort Bedford Museum.

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Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.