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Guide to Alachua, FL Outdoor adventures and biotech firms

Nestled between 1-75 and US 441 a 20 minute drive from northwest of Gainesville, Alachua blends suburban comforts with rural charms.

A historic railroad town, Alachua is better known these days for its small town charms, seasonal outdoor festivals, parks, springs, horse farms, and…cutting-edge biotech firms.

Yes, you read that last part correctly. Alachua is also home to a 204-acre corporate park where biotech companies affiliated with the University of Florida, the state’s flagship research institution, have their offices.

The 2nd largest town in Alachua County after Gainesville, Alachua has a population of over 10,000 people, with an average age of 35. Young families and folks who like getting out in nature love Alachua. In September 2022, the median listing home price in Alachua was $375k, trending up 26% year-over-year, so now is a smart time to buy.

Living in Alachua

Alachua’s cozy historic downtown is one of North Central Florida’s hidden gems. Pear trees and vintage lampposts line its walkable streets. The two-story brick buildings with Romanesque arches over the windows were built in the early 20th century and hark back to Alachua’s days as a railroad hub. Today Main Street supports a variety of shops, cafes, restaurants, and personal services.

Alachua is a destination for outdoor adventurers. San Felasco State Park connects visitors to 7,000 acres of horseback and bike trails. The town is also blessed with pristine springs that remain cool year-round. And with High Springs nearby, there is never a shortage of fun on the water, from underwater cave exploration to a relaxing tube float down the Ichetucknee River.

One of Alachua’s standout communities is Turkey Creek, a 1,100-acre golf development on the edge of San Felasco State Park. The golf course underwent a volunteer-led renaissance, which Golf Digest dubbed the Miracle at Turkey Creek.

Cool Stuff to Do in Alachua

Mill Creek Farm Retirement Home for Horses

20307 NW Co Rd 235A, Alachua, FL 32615

The Mill Creek Farm is a horse sanctuary for elderly horses that have been neglected, abused or abandoned and rescued by SPCAs and other frontline rescue organizations. Police and military horses also live out their golden years at Mill Creek. The beautiful animals are never put to work; they roam freely with other horses in spacious, tree-lined pastures. The farm is open to the public on Saturdays from 11am-3pm. So stop by and say hi, and don’t forget to bring a bag of carrots.


  1. Heading north or south on I-75:
  2. Take Exit 399 (High Springs/Alachua exit) (US 441) off  I-75
  3. Turn Right (West) on US 441 and follow 3/4 of a mile to traffic light at 235A
    (passing High School on your right)
  4. Turn Right on 235A and follow 2.5 mi.You will cross the I-75 overpass
  5. After crossing overpass, turn RIGHT at GREEN SIGN marking entrance to farm

Admission: literally two carrots (but a 5 lb. bag is even better).

Be sure to check their Visitor Info page before you go.

Poe Springs State Park

28800 NW 182nd Ave, High Springs, FL 32643

Located just outside of Alachua, Poe Springs Park is a county-maintained park surrounding cool, natural springs. This park gets less busy than other nearby springs. Offering picnic benches, playgrounds and athletic fields, it’s a perfect place to bring the kids for a picnic. A scenic wooded path leads to the pristine springs, maybe a half a mile walk from the parking lot.

Admission: $6 a car

Photo by Paul Clark

San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park

This sprawling nature preserve offers serene walks through wetlands and mature forests, as well as outdoor adventures for horseback riders and off-road cyclists. Two-thirds of the park is set aside for hiking only, to maintain the delicate hammock ecosystem and ensure a true wilderness experience for human visitors.

  • The hiking trailhead is located 4 miles NW of Gainesville on State Rd 232 at 11101 Millhopper Rd
  • The horseback and bicycle trailheads are located just south of Alachua off US 441.

Admission: $4 per vehicle, $2 for pedestrians and cyclists

Alachua Splash and Skate Park

14300 NW 146 Terrace

The splash park is a great place to bring young kids on a hot day. It features water fountains shooting up from the ground and sprinklers and buckets that dump water from above. There’s also a sand box area and several picnic tables located under a big shady tree, a skate park for the older kids, and a basketball court.

Admission: free

Alachua Public Schools

Alachua is zoned for Irby Elementary, Alachua Elementary, Mebane Middle School and Santa Fe high school. All of the schools belong to the Alachua County School District, one of the best in the state of Florida.

Final Thoughts

Alachua is big on small-town charms and opportunities to get lost in nature. But the town is fast reinventing itself as a biotech hub. And with a variety of neighborhoods to choose from, from the charming ranchers of the downtown area, to the golf-centric community at Turkey Creek, to large luxury estates surrounded by beautiful forests, there’s something for everyone in Alachua.

Looking to put down roots in Alachua? Talk to your real estate agent at Rabell to learn more about what’s available.

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