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Gainsville, Florida, a city located in Alachua County, is just a short drive from both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean
Gainesville offers a wealth of fun and opportunity to get the most from Florida's tourism industry. Additionally, the Gainesville area offers unique opportunities to visit and interact with natural, historical, and entertaining areas of Florida.
Home of the “Swamp” and the
famous Florida Gators, this Florida city has a life and culture all its own. In
Gainesville, as well as the surrounding areas, visitors can explore the
beautiful rivers & lakes, cool natural springs and unspoiled wilderness parks of
an exquisite sub-tropical region. Easy US Interstate-75 access allows
exploration of many of the nearby natural attractions from cycling, canoeing,
hiking, camping, bird-watching and fishing to tubing down the famous Suwannee
Long before the Spaniards
arrived in Florida, Gainesville’s combination of fertile soil, broad prairies,
clear lakes and abundant game had attracted a complex Native American
Civilization known as the Timucuan. Throughout the sixteenth century Spanish
explorers, including Hernando DeSoto, ranged across the region seeking land and
treasure. Next, Franciscan priests founded missions, and finally
ranchers established a large cattle ranch on Payne's Prairie. During the early
1700s the English and their indigenous allies destroyed these missions and later
the Seminole established settlements around Micanopy.
of the most significant events in the more recent history of the County occurred
in 1905 when Gainesville was chosen as the site for the University of Florida.
The University opened a year later with 102 students, fifteen faculty and two
unfinished buildings. Twenty years later the student body numbered 2000 who
attended classes in thirteen Gothic-style buildings including a library, a
gymnasium and an auditorium. By the 1930s, the University had become the focus
of the County's economy, helping it weather both the land boom collapse of the
mid-1920s and the long depression of the 1930s. At the turn of the 21st
century, the student population had grown to over 44,000, and the upward trend
In addition to the University,
visitors can experience the thrill of drag racing at the Gainesville Raceway.
With a quarter-mile drag strip 167 feet above sea level, it’s a thrilling
experience. For a little Florida history, take a trip along the Old Florida
Heritage Highway. Located along U.S. 441 from Williston Rd. to the Marion County
Line, there are 48 miles of U.S.441 just south of Gainesville providing a vista
of rural landscape, cattle, state parks and historic towns.
Nearby are a host of once-in-a
lifetime adventures. Visitors can canoe down the Santa Fe or Ichetucknee Rivers
near High Springs, hike the trails at O'Leno State Park in High Springs, see the
sink holes at Peacock Springs near Branford, even canoe down the Suwannee River
made famous by composer Stephen Foster, or take a houseboat cruise along the
Suwannee River near the west coast of Florida. In addition, just two hours
south of Gainesville is Orlando, home of the Walt Disney World Resort and the
most popular vacation destination in the world.
to its location in sunny central Florida, any time of year is fine for a visit
to Gainesville. It is a busy time of year when the University of Florida is in
full session (and anytime the Florida Gators are playing a home football game).
Winter tends to be even busier as visitors from the north visit Gainesville
while also stopping in at other areas in Florida. With the exception of a few
summer days, temperatures are quite pleasant. Winter brings a midday high near
70 making it ideal for any of the many outdoor activities available. Spring and
fall bring a rise in temperature during the day but evenings are just cool
enough for a relaxing dinner at one of the city’s many fine restaurants followed
by a stroll through the area or on the University campus. The heat and humidity
rise in summer, making it the perfect time of year for a dip in the pool and a
cool drink. Whatever the season or whatever the reason for visiting, this true
Florida City has something for everyone.