Find everything the great outdoors has to offer in Gainesville town, located between Newnans Lake and San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park, Florida. A green paradise of national parks and surrounding lakes, Gainesville is also home to the mighty University of Florida and Florida Gators football team. The thriving live music scene and plentiful eateries mean your vacation is never short on entertainment. Under a two-hour drive from Jacksonville and Orlando, Gainesville is an easily accessible destination for those who want to experience a break from larger cities.
The largest stadium in Florida, this is the home turf for the Gators. Catching a game here involves high noise levels and crowds, but if you prefer to visit at a quieter time, you can always take a tour of the grounds when there is no game being played.
Perfect for spending time with the kids, some of the most notable exhibits here are the Florida Fossil exhibit and the Library of Life. The Butterfly Rainforest boasts free-flying butterflies, adding a magical experience that you and your children are sure to remember for years to come.
Spend a day outside of the city exploring the geographical state park, The Devil's Millhopper. Take advantage of photo opportunities while hiking through the mini forests of Florida until you arrive at the famous sinkhole. Little streams sink directly into the ground, a wonderful and curious example of how nature occasionally goes off-course. Many fossils of shark teeth and other marine creatures from the prehistoric era are displayed inside the local museums.
A visitor's center is available for those who need additional information upon arrival. For those who brought the furry members of the family along, pets are allowed inside the park. Picnic areas are also provided for resting and regaining energy before heading out to conquer one of the many hiking trails available.
With their launching point an hour outside of Gainesville, Wild Bill's Airboat Tours are well worth the bus ride. The airboat takes you through swampland, where you can spot the alligators that Florida is famous for. You might even get a tour guide who interacts with the alligators by jumping in or feeding them bits of chicken.
You can choose to book a private ride for you and your small group at a higher rate, or ride with a larger group and share the experience at a cheaper price. If you wish to see alligators at their most active time, seeing them at night is suggested. Shuttles and taxis are able to bring you back to your hotel afterward.
Although Gainesville does have a regional airport (GNV), flights are cheaper if you choose to fly into a major airport, with the closest one located in Jacksonville (JAX). From here, you can take a bus from Greyhound bus lines, Runways Transportation Company or Redcoach from Jacksonville to Gainesville. The bus will drop you off in the middle of downtown, providing easy access to Gainesville hotels available in this area.
Be in the midst of the bustle in the heart of the city. Walk through the Bo Diddley Community Plaza and take in the sounds of live music acts, visit the Union Street Farmer's Market to taste some local fare, and treat yourself in one of the boutiques or restaurants. You can even catch a show at the Hippodrome State Theatre.
Gainesville experiences high amounts of humidity year-round, with the most humid time of the year being between June and September. Gainesville also experiences frequent thunderstorms during this time, leaving many days hot, humid and wet. Temperatures during the summer average about 80 degrees Fahrenheit during midday, but be sure to pack your umbrella, just in case.
The average temperature for the winter months, December through February, is about 66 degrees, and only very occasionally goes below freezing.