Gainesville, Florida is most notably the home of the University of Florida, or “the gators.” However, it is also the site of many natural attractions, including Paynes Prarie and the San Felasco Hammock Preserve. Art is also an important aspect of Gainesville’s culture. In fact, there’s a self-guided artwalk every last Friday of the month! 

History of Gainesville

Before being given to Don Fernando de la Maza Arredondo as a Spanish land grant, Gainesville was home to the Timucuan Indians. Florida was annexed in 1824, and became a true state in 1845. Gainesville, Florida was situated along the Florida Railroad, and Alachua residents proposed its creation due to its significant location.

The oldest residence of Gainesville was the home of Major James B. Bailey. Major Bailey’s home was created through slave labor and truly reflects the style of mid-nineteenth century plantation homes. During the Civil War, the Confederate Storehouse was located in Gainesville, Florida, and it was also the site of one battle.

Much of Gainesville’s population and economic growth was, and is, due to the University of Florida. The prosperity of UF allowed Gainesville to survive the collapse of the local cotton and phosphate industries. Gainesville is known widely as a “college town,” but it is home to a variety of various amusements.


Fun Things to Do in Gainesville

Have you ever been inside a sinkhole?

Well, Devil’s Millhopper is a beautiful sight comprised of a one hundred and twenty foot sinkhole that descends into a rainforest-like scene.


Don’t you hate mosquito bites?

The University of Florida Bat Houses are a must see if you enjoy the winged mammals that are vital to our planet, and yes, they eat mosquitoes.


Have you ever swum in a river so clear it seems as if you’re swimming in bath water? 

Ichetucknee State Park is home to an incredibly crystal clear river that runs six miles until it empties into Santa Fe River.