If you didn’t know already, Gainesville perfectly balances the natural beauty of northern Florida, whilst still nurturing that college-town feel that drives so many students to the city each year. With so much to see and do, it’s hard to know where to start. Luckily, we’re here to help. Check out our list of the best things to do in Gainesville, ensuring you soak up as much of the city as possible.
If you’re looking for an activity where you can enjoy the weather and support a local farm in the process, this is the activity for you. Pick your very own organic blueberries at the Deep Spring Farm Florida. Whatever you choose to do with your harvest once you get home — if the blueberries make it that far — whether ingredients for making muffins or to sprinkle on top of your oats in the morning, the blueberries are guaranteed to be delicious.
When in Gainesville you must visit the Florida Natural Museum of History, and more importantly, you must visit the Butterfly Rainforest. Among the tropical trees, you’ll find hundreds of species of butterflies from across the globe flying around. From brightly-colored species to eye-like wing decorations, see these beautiful insects first-hand whilst learning about them from the dedicated staff members. If this wasn’t enough, you’ll also get to see a range of turtles, fish, and birds in the exhibit too.
Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park
If you’re looking for a great outdoor activity to take part in whilst in Gainesville, you should head to Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park. This beautiful state park is home to a miniature rainforest, which is in stark contrast to the typical sandy terrain found in north Florida. Take a walk among the trees and once you reach the bottom of the cavity, measuring at a whopping 120 feet, you’ll find small streams and lush vegetation thriving in the area.
Harn Museum of Art
For art-lovers and culture-hunters out there, the Harn Museum of Art is one of the best things to do in Gainesville. It’s free to the public and includes a major collection of African and Asian art, as well as contemporary photography exhibitions.
You may have tried your hand at camping before but glamping is a whole new, more luxurious experience. Instead of pitching up a small tent, sleeping on an inflatable mattress on the floor, and not washing for a few days, you could be staying in a beautiful glamping accommodation, with running hot water, real beds, and some added extra special amenities.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Head to the lovely Kanapaha Botanical Gardens for over 24 major collections of flora and fauna, including the largest herb garden in the Southeast, as well as the largest public display of bamboos in the state. The gardens are closed every Thursday so be sure to keep this in mind when planning your trip. If you fancy learning more about the garden from staff members, guided tours can be arranged.
Sage Fitzpatrick is a travel blogger currently living in London. She can be found drinking tea, reading and traveling the world. When she’s not traveling she spends her time blogging about her travels over at A Virtual Postcard.