What's Cool in Alachua County!

Alachua County, located in North Central Florida, is known for its picturesque landscapes, outdoor recreational opportunities, and cultural attractions. Home to the city of Gainesville and the University of Florida, Alachua County offers a mix of college-town charm, natural beauty, and diverse cultural experiences.


Here are ten top visitor destinations in Alachua County, with brief descriptions and web links:

  1. Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park: A massive, 21,000-acre savanna with diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and hiking trails. Observe wild horses, bison, and alligators while exploring the park's boardwalks and observation towers. https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/paynes-prairie-preserve-state-park

  2. Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park: A unique park featuring a large, 120-foot-deep sinkhole with lush vegetation and a wooden boardwalk descending into the sinkhole. Learn about the geological formations and the park's history at the visitor center. https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/devils-millhopper-geological-state-park

  3. Florida Museum of Natural History: Located on the University of Florida campus, this museum offers exhibits on Florida's natural history, cultural heritage, and biodiversity. Highlights include the Butterfly Rainforest and the fossil hall. https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/

  4. University of Florida Bat Houses: Visit the world's largest occupied bat houses at dusk and witness thousands of bats emerge to feed on insects. A unique wildlife experience on the University of Florida campus. https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/bats/

  5. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens: A 62-acre botanical garden with diverse plant collections, including Florida's largest public bamboo garden and a picturesque water lily display. An ideal spot for nature lovers and photographers. https://kanapaha.org/

  6. Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art: Located on the University of Florida campus, the museum features a diverse collection of artwork, from Asian art to contemporary pieces. It offers rotating exhibitions and educational programs. https://harn.ufl.edu/

  7. Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo: A 10-acre zoo managed by Santa Fe College, offering visitors the opportunity to observe over 75 species of animals in naturalistic habitats. A great destination for families and animal lovers. https://www.sfcollege.edu/zoo/index

  8. Depot Park: A revitalized 32-acre park in downtown Gainesville with a playground, splash pad, picnic areas, and a promenade around a scenic pond. The park also features a history museum in a restored train depot. https://www.depotpark.org/

  9. Thomas Center: A historic building with beautifully landscaped gardens, art galleries, and performance spaces. The center hosts cultural events, art exhibits, and concerts throughout the year. https://www.visitgainesville.com/attractions/thomas-center/

  10. Morningside Nature Center: An expansive nature park with miles of hiking trails through diverse habitats, including pine flatwoods, sandhill, and wetlands. Visit the Living History Farm for a glimpse of 19th-century Florida farm life. https://www.visitgainesville.com/attractions/morningside-nature-center/

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