Within the quiet, lush beauty of North Central Florida, Alachua County/Gainesville is a circle of natural diversity. We offer a wide variety of activities to our visitors ... from sports and recreation to arts and culture, from festivals and special events to touring and shopping.

 Located in north central Florida on the I-75 corridor halfway between Atlanta and Miami

 Nine hundred and sixty-five square miles including Archer, Alachua, Cross Creek, Gainesville, Hague, Hawthorne, High Springs, La Crosse, Melrose, Micanopy, Newberry, Rochelle, Santa Fe, Traxler, Waldo, and Windsor.

 Population 191,000

 Moderate temperature averages 71 degrees F with summer highs in the 90's and winter lows in the 40's. Average of 2,803 hours of sunshine each year.

 Forty-six motels and hotels, several bed & breakfast inns and a wide assortment of over 100 restaurants

 Delta Airlines and USAir Express, and several commuter airlines serve Gainesville Regional Airport.

Historical Alachua County


Starting at the Clock Tower in Gainesville, tour the Northeast Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 63-block area of 290 buildings reflects Florida architectural styles from 1880 through the 1920's.

Step back in time and see what Florida was like in the 1800's by visiting Micanopy, located 13 miles south of Gainesville on US 441. Featuring antique, art and curio shops, Micanopy is Florida's second oldest town. High Springs, an old railroad town, is located 23 miles north of Gainesville. Main Street has many shops, a restaurant in the old barber shop, an early 1900's church still in use and a sports store in an old opera house. Waldo, 15 miles northeast of Gainesville, features an Amtrak Station and antique shops.

Bivens Arm Nature Park

of Waterlily]

3650 South Main Street


(352) 334-2056

Enjoy 57 acres of oak hammock and marsh traversed by a 1200-foot promenade. Wildlife sanctuary, nature center, picnic tables, pavilion. Open daily 8:30a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Free.

Center for the Performing Arts

of Performing Arts Center]

315 Hull Road

Next to the Harn Museum of Art, Hull Road and 34th Street

University of Florida, Gainesville

(352) 392-1900

Center Series Calendar and Information

From the best of Broadway, opera and dance, to the superstars of pop, jazz, classical and country music, Gainesville's new Center for the Performing Arts presents the finest in world-class entertainment. Opened in 1992, the Center features a state-of-the-art, 1800 seat theatre with a large proscenium stage, versatile orchestra pit, and the latest in sound and lighting technology. Also houses a 200 seat, multi-purpose Black Box Theatre.

Devil's Millhopper State Geological Site

[Image of Millhopper]

4732 Millhopper Road (SR 232)


(352) 955-2008

Enjoy a dozen small waterfalls as you follow 232 steps to the bottom of a 120-foot deep, 500-foot wide sinkhole containing plant species found rarely in Florida. Guided walk 10:00 a.m. every Saturday. Visitors center, picnic tables. Open daily 9:00 a.m. to sunset. Oct. 1 - Mar 30, open 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Admission.

Florida Museum of Natural History

[Image of Florida Museum]

Museum Road and Newell Drive

University of Florida, Gainesville

(352) 392-1721

Explore a full-size Florida limestone cave, a Mayan palace, and the Hall of Florida History at the largest natural history museum in the Southeast. Discover Florida fossil specimens, skeletons, and computer games in the Fossil Study Center, and examine hundreds of natural science specimens up close in the Object Gallery. Collectors Gift Shop. Open Mon. - Sat. 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Sun. and holidays 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Closed Christmas day. Free.

The Fred Bear Museum

of a Bear]

Archer Road at I-75 (Exit 75)


(352) 376-2411 (Extension 5)

Lion, elephant, cape buffalo, brown bear and wolf. See these and other specimens collected from around the world by Fred Bear, expert bow-hunter. Authentic spears, shields, carvings, artwork and Indian artifacts also on display with ancient tools and weapons. Gift Shop. Open Wed. - Sun. 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Closed Christmas day. Admission.

Gainesville Raceway

[Image of Gatornationals]

11211 North County Road 225


(352) 377-0046

Lightning speed and thundering excitement, and home of the NHRA Gatornationals, the Raceway hosts a full year-round calendar of professional and amateur drag racing, auto shows and motorcycle racing.

The Hippodrome State Theatre

[Image of Hippodromei]

25 Southeast 2nd Place


(352) 375-4477

Take your seat next to the three quarter round Hippodrome stage and enjoy the very best in contemporary plays starring actors from all over the country. The Theatre also offers an exciting cinema series on the Second Stage, and a gallery which displays the work of local artists. Founded in 1963, the Hippodrome is the only professional theatre in north central Florida. It is housed in the former U.S. Post Office, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

[Image of Lily Pads]

4625 Southwest 63rd Boulevard

Off the Archer Road (I-75 Exit 75)


(352) 372-4981

Delight in 62 acres of woodlands, meadows, vineries, and specialized gardens which feature butterflies, wildflowers, hummingbirds, rocks, carnivorous plants, and spring flowers. Visit the Southeast's largest herb garden, Florida's largest bamboo collection, our palm hammock, water lily pond, fern grotto, and sunken garden. Gift shop, plant nursery, and picnic area. Mon. - Tue. - Fri. 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Wed. - Sat. and Sun. 9:00 a.m. - sunset, closed Thurs. Admission.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site

[Image of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' House]

Cross Creek

21 Miles Southeast of Gainesville on Highway 325

(352) 466-3672

Wander through the home and farm of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings just as it was when the noted author of The Yearling lived here. Learn about Florida cracker living in quiet Cross Creek. Guided tours of the house, limited to 10 people each, on the hour. First come, first served. Thurs. - Sun. 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.; closed Tues. and Wed. Mon. available for small seminars by reservation. House closed August 1 - September 30, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's days. Admission.

Matheson Historical Center

513 East University Avenue


(352) 378-2280

The Matheson Historical Center houses 18,000 Florida post cards, 1200 Stereo-View cards, 400 Florida prints, 50 Alachua County and Florida maps, and 2500 volumes on local and state history. Open Tue. - Fri. 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Sun 1:00p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Admission.

Micanopy Historical Society Museum

Cholokka Boulevard and Bay Street (I-75 Exit 73)


Located in teh old Thrasher Warehouse, with a wooden shingled roof and a large Coca-Cola sign painted in the 1920's, the museum transports visitors back in time with old photographs, memorabilia, artifacts and exhibits that reflect a proud heritage. Open Fri., Sat., Sun. 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Bookstore. Admission.

Morningside Nature Center

[Image of Morningside Nature Center]

3540 East University Avenue


(352) 334-2170

Experience the life style of a family farmer in North Central Florida 100 years ago. Visit the 278-acre Living History Farm featuring barnyard animals, an 1840 cabin, a turn-of-the-century kitchen, heirloom garden and barn. Explore 7 miles of trails and boardwalks through sandhill, long leaf pine and cypress habitats including over 130 bird species, 225 wildflower species, mammals and reptiles. Live animal exhibits, educational programs and a wildlife observation blind. Open daily 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Free.

Oaks Mall

6419 Newberry Road

I-75 Exit 76


(352) 331-4411

Oaks Mall

North central Florida's largest shopping center offers 5 major department stores, 22 restaurants, 10 movie theatres, a one-mile measured indoor walking course in a temperature controlled environment, and 160 specialty shops. Open Mon. - Sat. 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., Sun noon - 6:00 p.m.

Paynes Prairie State Preserve

[Image of Lake LaChua]

10 Miles South of Gainesville on US 441

(352) 466-3397

Boat, camp, hike, bird watch, fish, and picnic on this 20,000-acre wildlife sanctuary. With ponds and 3 lakes, Paynes Prairie is a wintering area for many migratory birds such as the sandhill crane, and home to Florida alligators and a wild herd of American Bison. Trail Head: 16-mile Rail Trail from Gainesville to Hawthorne. Observation tower and Visitors' Center with Museum. Free Ranger-led activities October - March. Trail maps available. Recreation park open 8:00 a.m. to sunset daily. Visitors' Center open daily 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Admission.

Poe Springs Park

[Image of Poe Springs]

3 Miles West of High Springs on County Road 340

(352) 454-1992

Make a big splash in the cold, clear waters of Poe Springs. This 197-acre park on the Santa Fe River features rolling hills, bluffs, two springs, a hardwood swamp and a variety of wildlife. Concession building, boat ramp, nature trail, multi-purpose building, playground and picnic area with shelters. Open daily 9:00 a.m. - sunset. Admission.

Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art

[Image of Harn Museum]

Hull Road and Southwest 34th Street

University of Florida, Gainesville

(352) 392-9826

One of Florida's newest and largest, the Harn offers a variety of changing exhibits. The Museum features American paintings, African, and pre-Columbian collections, as well as contemporary works of art. Film and lecture series, workshops and performances. Museum Store open during regular Museum hours. Tues. - Fri. 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Sat. 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Sun. 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., last admission 4:45 p.m., closed Mon. and State holidays. Free.

San Felasco Hammock State Preserve

[Image of Creek in San Felasco]

Millhopper Road (SR 232), at I-75 overpass

3 1/2 miles west of Devil's Millhopper State Geological Site


(352) 955-2008

Nature trail through 6,500 acres of sunny pine forests and shady hardwood hammocks, past steep sinkholes and over bubbling brooks. Rare plants and champion trees, birds, bobcat, gray fox, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey. 1st Saturday of month: guided horseback ride, 2nd Saturday: hike and overnight camp out with Rangers, 3rd Saturday: 8 - 10 mile day hike, 4th Saturday: orienteering. Programs by reservation . Admission.

Santa Fe Community College Teaching Zoo

[Image of SFCC Zoo]

3000 Northwest 83rd Street (I-75 Exit 77)

(352) 395-5604


The only community college teaching zoo in the nation houses reptiles, birds, animals, and endangered species from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas. Open Sat. - Sun. 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. or by appointment Mon. -Fri. Free.

The Thomas Center

[Image of Spanish Court in Thomas Center]

306 Northeast 6th Avenue


(352) 334-2197

Gainesville's Cultural Center is housed in a beautifully restored Mediterranean Revival-style hotel. The Thomas Center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and contains art galleries, 1920's period rooms, local history exhibits, and is surrounded by lovely gardens. Open Mon. - Fri. 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Sat. - Sun. 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Admission for special events. Guided tours by request. Handicapped accessible. No charge to visit.

University of Florida

[Image of Century Tower]


The Historical Campus

UF has many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places such as University Auditorium. Above the Auditorium, visitors will find Century Tower, a 49 bell carillon which rings throughout the day at quarter hours. Maps at the gated entrances and at the Campus Shop and Book Store on Stadium Road. Visitor passes at at U.F.'s main entrance, S.W. 13th Street (U.S. 441) and S.W. 2nd Ave.

Stephen C. O'Connell Center

(352) 392-5500

Cheer Gator basketball, track, swimming, volleyball, and gymnastics teams in the 296,000 square-foot O'Connell Center, featuring an air-supported roof. Sit back in one of the 12,000 sears for an evening of celebrity performers. Admission varies with event.

Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

of Florida Field]

Located directly east of the O'Connell Center and seating 83,000 fans, Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is better known as "The Swamp" - the home of the "Fightin' Gators" football team.


[Image of Gator]

See these intriguing scaly creatures in their natural habitats from the shores of Lake Alice at the western end of Museum Road on the UF campus.

Music, Dance, and Festivals

Alachua County enjoys a full schedule of special events which include dance, theatre, music, festivals, exhibitions, sports, fairs and showcases. Calendars and information available at the Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau

Recreation and Sports Facilities

Alachua County's year-round mild climate and recreation facilities attract athletes from around the world for training. Swimming pools, tracks, baseball fields, and jogging trails and tracks at Santa Fe Community College, University of Florida, City and County Parks. Cyclest discover miles of scenic roads and paths. Information regarding Parks and Recreation available at the Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Wildlife Museum

Located in Tony's Taxidermy

2 miles south of Hawthorne on US 301

(352) 481-2429

Enjoy one of the largest private collections of mounted birds, animals, and reptiles in the Southeast. Over 1500 wildlife specimens from all over the world are displayed in natural settings in lighted, glass cases. Open Mon. - Sat. 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Closed Sundays. Donations accepted.

A Walk Through Time

[Image of a Walk Through Time]

Kanapaha Park

Tower Road and SW 41st Place

I-75 Exit 76

(352) 462-2147

A unique lesson in history . . . and a deeply moving memorial to the individual men and women of Alachua County and the University of Florida who gave their lives for freedom. Literally travel through time down a granite, brick and tile berm walk where one linear foot equals one year in time. Spanning 219 feet, A Walk Through Time covers 10 wars from the Revolutionary War through Desert Storm. Handicapped accessible. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Free.

Gainesville to Hawthorne Rail Trail

[Image of Hawthorne Rail Trail]

Located Off SE 15th Street

South of University Avenue and Hawthorne Road

(352) 466-3397

This 17-mile trail designed for walking, cycling and horseback riding extends from Gainesville's historic Boulware Springs Park at Paynes Prairie through Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area to the town of Hawthorne. Travelers on the Trail are treated to changing landscapes past Prairie vistas, deep lakes, and lush forests, and the plants and animals who live there. The Trail Head is at Boulware Springs Park and Hawthorne. Parking and daily access to the Trail from 8:00 a.m. to sunset.

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About the Alachua County Vistors & Convention Bureau | Alachua County Fact Sheet | Alachua County Attractions | Hotels, Motels, and Bed & Breakfast Inns | Calendar of Events and Festivals | Alachua County/Gainesville Golf Courses | Map of Alachua County | Mileage Map | Information on Small Towns in Alachua County | Local Weather Conditions | Other resources available from ACVACB | E-mail to the Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau

Last edited May 2, 1996
Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau