Of all the 50 states in the United States, Florida just might be the best one to play outside in. The weather couldn’t possibly be better suited for outdoors fun with it being aptly named the Sunshine State. Notorious for the huge portion of days each year that boasts gorgeous blue skies and warm weather, it’s an ideal place for residents to spend lots of time outside. 

Gainesville is no different than the rest of the state. With a myriad of different options available for those interested in making the most out of nature, there are limitless alternatives for outdoor enthusiasts! Below are four reliable choices for a solid day of fun outdoor activities in Gainesville, Florida.

Explore Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

In terms of pure diversity, Paynes Prairie might just have the most options within its borders of all the items on this list! From the trail system that includes options for horseback riding, hiking, and biking, to a wide array of different campsites available for overnight and multiday visitors, and a notably vibrant ecosystem teeming with animal and plant life to check out, the rolling hills of this beautiful state park contain options for nature lovers of all sorts. 

Experience Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park

Checking out a giant hole in the ground might not sound like a super-interesting way to spend a free day outside, but then again, this isn’t just any giant hole! Centered around a massive sinkhole measuring more than 120 feet deep, Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park is a fascinating opportunity to explore a dense miniature tropical rainforest. The rainforest essentially transplanted itself into this 120-foot hollow cavity in the ground tucked back in the woods, leaving us lucky benefactors with an entire world to explore! 

Get the Blood Pumping on the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail

Although it’s less of an adventure than any of the other options on this list, the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail that runs through Gainesville is a good choice for those looking for a quicker, less intensive foray into the outdoors. There’s no need to venture miles away from Gainesville proper to enjoy the natural splendor of the area. Join fellow exercisers and enjoy a nice walk, run, or bike ride down this pretty, popular pathway.

Float the Ichetucknee Springs

You might not have known it, but the greater area of Gainesville is home to some of the largest, most prolific freshwater spring systems found in the United States. They all share some similar characteristics: The water runs at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, they feature some of the most beautiful shades of blue and green physically possible, and you’re guaranteed to see some interesting wildlife. None of them are as popular as Ichetucknee Springs State Park, and for good reason! Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful floats to be found in the state of Florida, water enthusiasts grab their canoes, tubes, and kayaks and flock to this natural gem.

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