15 Best Things To Do In Gainesville, Florida

things to do in gainesville florida
Samantha
Samantha 
Updated

Gainesville, Florida is full of parks and history, so it makes for a wonderful vacation spot. There is so much to learn and enjoy here that no one can be bored here. To make your trip as exciting as it could be, check out the best things to do in Gainesville, Florida.

1. Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park

Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michael Rivera used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park is a small rainforest, located on Gainesville’s northern borders beneath a sinkhole. The crater was formed within the Ocala Limestone over a long period due to its dissolution by acidic groundwater. The water that flows down the rock layers to the base makes the park evergreen, regardless of the season. The cavity is 120-foot (37-meter) deep and 500-foot (152-meter) wide. It’s accessed via a 132-step staircase, each landing revealing new strata. Many archaeological items have been discovered on site, and it’s an opportunity to see how wildlife is thriving amidst these geological features.

Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park

Address: 4732 Millhopper Rd, Gainesville, FL 32653, United States

Website: Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park

Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 9am - 5pm (closed on Mon & Tue)

2. Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation on Monday, January 11, 2021

Discover about 30 endangered and rare species in this unique destination. Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation, founded in 2002, covers 275 acres (111 hectares) of the state’s farmland and forests. You can learn more about wildlife preservation and personal stories of over 100 animals, including Indian rhino, striped hyena, amur leopard, and puma, from professional zoologists. The animal refuge hosts camp and field trips for kids and special events such as parties and weddings. You can learn more about the pricing on their official website.

Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation

Address: 8528 E, County Rd 225, Gainesville, FL 32609, United States

Website: Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation

Opening hours: Sat: 10am - 12pm (closed from Sun - Fri)

Price: 10 - 25 USD

3. Historic Haile Homestead

Historic Haile Homestead at Kanapaha Plantation
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kvkirkman used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Historic Haile Homestead is a museum situated on an old cotton plantation. The house, constructed in the 1850s, tells the stories of the social, cultural, and cultural affairs of that time and the skilled slaves that built it and worked the fields. When the initial owners, a couple, died in the 1890s, they left the building to their 14th child, Evans Haile, who hosted parties within the home on weekends and holidays. He wrote the attendees’ names on the walls of the music and the seating, which are now called “The Talking Walls.”

Historic Haile Homestead

Address: 8500 SW Archer Rd, Gainesville, FL 32608, United States

Website: Historic Haile Homestead

Opening hours: Sat: 10am - 2pm; Sun: 12pm - 4pm (closed from Mon - Fri)

4. Bluefield Estate Winery

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Bluefield Estate Winery on Friday, February 2, 2018

Bluefield Estate Winery is a family-owned business that started in 2006 by Jennifer and Bradley Ferguson. The spot, located in the city’s eastern region, focuses on handcrafted fruit wines, mainly muscadine grapes, and blueberry. You can indulge in a wine-tasting session with the knowledgeable staff or buy some for your collection. Some of the famous wines served in this small but fun place include Windsor White, Green Apple Affair, and Blackberry Bliss.

Bluefield Estate Winery

Address: 22 NE, Co Rd 234, Gainesville, FL 32641, United States

Website: Bluefield Estate Winery

Opening hours: Thu - Fri: 11am - 5pm; Sat - Sun: 12pm - 6pm (closed from Mon - Wed)

5. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user w:en:Hughs used under CC BY-SA 2.5

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is the Gators’ home, University of Florida football team. It was constructed in 1930 and has since undergone some refurbishments over the years. In 2003, 84,000 seats were added. The noise from fans and the swampy nature of the field sometimes make it uncomfortable for the opponents. You might be lucky to witness a match during your visit, featuring unmatched talents and chanting from numerous fans dressed in jerseys and waving colorful flags. You can also exercise or attend one of the concerts held on site.

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Address: 57 Gale Lemerand Dr, Gainesville, FL 32611, United States

Website: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

6. Florida Museum of Natural History

Florida Museum of Natural History
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Todd Van Hoosear used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Florida Museum of Natural History is a wonderful place to visit if any travelers love learning about the history of different areas. It is located at the University of Florida, so it’s pretty easy to find. The museum has officially been in business for 100 years, which means there have been some changes to the exhibits and information that the museum shares. They actually change their exhibits quite often, keeping some and replacing others with more interesting finds or relevant pieces of the time.

Florida Museum of Natural History

Address: 3215 Hull Rd, 32611 Gainesville, FL

Website: Florida Museum of Natural History

7. Ichetucknee Springs State Park 

Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michael Rivera used under CC BY-SA 4.0

A 970-hectare (2,441-acre) state park in Florida, Ichetucknee Springs State Park was named after the 10-kilometer (six-mile) Ichetucknee River that flows through the grounds. Most people find this river to be very relaxing, calling it a lazy river where visitors can float on the water and enjoy some beautiful scenery along the way. There are workers there to be sure everything runs smoothly but if any questions arise, they are always able to help. There is a small fee to get into the park, but on Sundays, there is not a man in the little shed, so visitors must bring exact change with them.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park 

Address: 12087 US-27, 32038 Fort White, FL

Website: Ichetucknee Springs State Park 

8. Depot Park

Depot Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Flatwoods 36 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This is a great place to bring the kids for a few hours! Not only is it a very beautiful land with trees and flowers all around, there is a fantastic playground for the kids to play on. Slides, swings, a splash pad, this park has it all! They also have big grassy areas for kids to play a soccer game or baseball game if they want to. The grassy areas also make for excellent picnic areas, so bring a picnic basket full of everyone’s favorite goodies and enjoy the sunny day at this beautiful park.

Depot Park

Address: 200 SE Depot Ave, 32601 Gainesville, FL

Website: Depot Park

9. Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo

Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user LittleT889 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo is an actual college that specializes in the art of zoo etiquette. The students learn about the animals that different zoos can have, how to take care of them, what to do if they are sick, pretty much everything there is to know about the animals that are housed at zoos. Because the school specializes in zoo animals, of course, there is a zoo near the school to help them learn the animals better.

Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo

Address: 3000 Northwest 83rd Street, Building Z, 32606 Gainesville, FL

Website: Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo

10. Bivens Arm Nature Park 

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

This is the very first nature park of Gainesville, Florida. It opened in 1981 and contains a lot of different paths to take through the thickly wooded area. There is a playground at the head of the park, which makes for an entertaining day for the children if bringing any along. The bathrooms are at the start of the trail ways, so be sure to use them before starting on the trail. Visitors of the park will be surprised to see so many pine trees in the area.

Bivens Arm Nature Park 

Address: 3650 S Main St, 32608 Gainesville, FL

Website: Bivens Arm Nature Park 

11. UF Bat Houses

Dsg UF Bat House Field
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user [Unknown] used under CC BY 2.0

This wildlife sanctuary is situated on University of Florida land, and hundreds of bats hang out here. There are three big open barns in which the creatures hang upside down while they sleep. During the day, the area is pretty boring, but once the sun goes down and the moon rises up in the sky, these bats all wake up and start flying around to start their nights. It is such an amazing sight to see all of these night creatures wake up and start flying about.

UF Bat Houses

Address: Museum Rd, 32603 Gainesville, FL

Website: UF Bat Houses

12. Sweetwater Wetlands Park

Sweetwater Wetlands Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Flatwoods 36 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Sweetwater Wetlands Park is a park full of wetlands and wild creatures for visitors to enjoy. They really aren’t very pretty since they are wetlands and it can get pretty mucky here, but the animals here are what make the park so fascinating. The birds have made this area their homes and the turtles love the watery grounds. There are plenty of alligators here too, so be sure to keep an eye out for them. They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.

Sweetwater Wetlands Park

Address: 325 SW Williston Rd, 32601 Gainesville, FL

Website: Sweetwater Wetlands Park

13. Alachua

Dsg UF French Fries Sculpture 20050507
Source: Photo by user [Unknown] used under CC BY 2.0

On the campus of the University of Florida is a sculpture that looks like a popular fried snack of French fries. What these yellow beams are really called are “Alachua.” They are named after Alachua County where the University of Florida is located. The fries are a popular spot for new freshmen of the campus to meet during the welcome week, but it’s a cool spot to visit nonetheless.

Alachua

Address: 32603 Gainesville, FL

14. Matheson House

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

A landmark and historical place in Gainesville, Florida, the Matheson House was the home of eight-term mayor Chris Matheson. Matheson was also a state legislator for those that are unaware of who he was. The building is now part of the Matheson Museum, which recounts the history of Alachua County. The only disappointing thing about this particular attraction is that an appointment must be made in order to view the old home.

Matheson House

Address: 528 SE 1st Ave, 32601 Gainesville, FL

Website: Matheson House

15. Butterfly Rainforest

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Butterfly Rainforest is actually an exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History. The birds and butterflies roam free in the interactive room, where visitors can see them in their natural habitat. There are also turtles and fish in the room that visitors can learn about and enjoy. There is a lush landscape with many different trees and waterfalls around the path that visitors can walk on. There is staff all around the room to help answer any questions customers may have or help people understand the creatures better.

Butterfly Rainforest

Address: 3215 Hull Road, SW 34th Street and Hull Road, 32611 Gainesville, FL

Website: Butterfly Rainforest

Relaxing in Gainesville, Florida

Gainesville FL city hall sign01
Source: Photo by user Ebyabe used under CC BY 2.5

There are a lot activities in Gainesville, but that doesn’t mean relaxation can’t be put on the list of activities to do. Most of the above activities don’t require too much planning or energy, so they are perfect for older kids or a group of adults traveling together. Enjoy the stay in Gainesville, Florida.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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My name is Samantha Kern, and I have my Bachelor's Degree in English, which I'm using to pursue a career in writing. I've had a love of traveling since I was younger. My family would go to the...Read more

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