Home to the University of Florida, Gainesville is surrounded with outdoor recreation opportunities. This is a bike-friendly city, with bike commuters and students using its many dedicated bike paths.
The City of Gainesville has set aside many smaller public lands within city limits to conserve unique natural features. Beyond city limits, you’ll find plenty of places to play, especially to the east, where conservation lands protect portions of the shorelines of the many lakes within Alachua County. To the west are the springs of the Santa Fe and Suwannee Rivers in High Springs, Bell, and Trenton.
The biggest and most obvious destination for outdoor recreation is Paynes Prairie. It’s a landform defining the south rim of the city, protected by a string of parks and preserves. The popular Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail extends east from Boulware Springs, the city’s original water source and an access point for both the trail, Sweetwater Preserve, and the northern portion of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Several state parks surround the city and nearby communities in Alachua County.
Newest Trails and Parks near Gainesville
Paynes Prairie: A North Florida Gem
A natural landform between Gainesville and Micanopy, Paynes Prairie is an immense and ever-changing basin
Descent into Devils Millhopper
Devils Millhopper State Park debuted a new staircase into the sinkhole on June 5. It has 100 fewer steps and yet is less steep and broader than the prior version.
Florida’s Best Urban Parks
When you live in a tightly packed space, you need somewhere green as your go-to place nearby. These are our top picks for parks in Florida’s urban areas, chosen for their diversity of outdoor activities and/or their unique green spaces.
NEARBY: Alachua, Archer, Bronson, Cross Creek, Hawthorne, High Springs, Lake City, Micanopy, Ocala, Trenton, Waldo, Williston | ALONG: Paynes Prairie | PART OF: North Florida