Outdoor Fun Around Gainesville

Article by Patti Morrow

For three of the four seasons, Gainesville has the perfect climate for outdoor activities such as exploring state parks. But don’t worry, when it gets hot, you can find relief at some of the natural springs nearby. There’s a plethora of fun to be had outdoors in Alachua County, the Gainesville area, is one of Florida’s top tourist destinations.

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Paynes Prairie became Florida´s first state preserve in 1971 and is designated as a National Natural Landmark. The park covers a 21,000-acre savanna with eight trails. Visitors can climb a 50-foot-high observation tower for panoramic views of the preserve along with deer, buffalo, alligators, hawks, bison, deer, and other wildlife.

Ginnie Springs
Located on the Santa Fe River in High Springs Florida, Ginnie Springs is packed with things to do. The crystal-clear 72-degree water is chilly, but refreshing during the hot summer months. River tubing, swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking are a blast and there’s a building to rent equipment and accessories. There are also areas for walks and picnics.

Juniper Springs
Juniper Springs is one of the oldest and best-known recreation areas on the East Coast. Nestled in the Ocala National Forest, it contains hundreds of tiny bubbling springs and enormous springs gushing out of crevices in the earth beneath a dense tree canopy. It’s a fantastic place for swimming, and there are also picnic areas and trails.

Silver Springs
Silver Springs State Park in Ocala is a group of artesian springs that claims to be Florida’s first tourist attraction. Visitors can’t swim here, but kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding are allowed. The park is known for its glass bottom boat tours, where guests glide over the springs to view underwater life in its natural habitat. The park itself is pristine and contains a café and charming bakery/ ice cream shop.

Micanopy
Population 600, Micanopy is Old Florida at its best. Laying claim as the oldest inland town in Florida, it has a historic town center dripping with Southern charm. This quaint town offers small independently owned antiques shops, outdoor cafes and bakeries, art galleries, and boutique shops. It’s the perfect place for an afternoon al fresco lunch, and a stroll along the main street to hunt for unique antiques.

 

Patti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of Luggage and Lipstick – a travel blog for baby boomer adventurers. She was recently named by TripAdvisor as one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials), and is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone.” Patti has over 100 bylines in 35 publications, including The Huffington Post and The Washington Post. She has traveled throughout most of the USA and more than 50 countries and islands abroad.

 

 

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