Top 5 Parks in Gainesville

Top 5 Parks in Gainesville


If you find yourself stuck in your car or at your desk for too long, one of the best cures for you is to go outside and get back in touch with nature. Luckily, Gainesville in Alachua County, FL has some of the best greenery and parks in the entire state. Allergies be damned, if you want to experience wide open spaces or the true nature of Florida, here are five of the top parks to unwind in Gainesville.

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

4700 SW 58th Dr, Gainesville, FL 32608

Located by Lake Kanapaha, the gardens were established in 1978 by the Goodman family, but did not open to the public until 1986. Botanical gardens specialize in plants, either of a specific family or to preserve the native plants of the specific area. As of 2005, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens had the largest public bamboo garden and largest herb garden in the southeast. Other collections of vegetation include a butterfly garden, a hummingbird garden, rose garden, vinery, and an arboretum. The Gardens host many wonderful annual events, such as the Moonlight Walk, Orchid Show, Camellia Show, and many specials on holidays and plant sales. It has also become a lovely location for weddings and parties. 

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Gainesville FL

Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, Gainesville FL

Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park

4732 Millhopper Rd, Gainesville, FL 32653 

In the most northwestern-most corner of Gainesville sits the Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park. This sinkhole got its name due to it looking like a hopper, a common tool found in mills. The bones found in the bottom of the sinkhole gave its first explorers cause to believe this is where animals would go when they wanted to meet with the Devil. The Devil’s Millhopper descends 120 feet into the ground. For those with an insatiable curiosity, this geological site has revealed many secrets of Florida’s history and the Ranger Led Walks go in depth on what researchers have uncovered.

Depot Park

200 SE Depot Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601

Formerly a railroad transportation hub, Depot Park is riddled with old disused railroad tracks. The playground is designed like a train as homage to the space’s history. Free for all to enjoy, Depot Park also offers a mini water play park, a waterside promenade great for hosting events, pavilions for cookouts, and a Pop-a-Top general store. These features provide anything you may want or need while out enjoying a day in the Florida sun.The south side of the park is dedicated to conservation and for those who need to be more in tune with nature. The Downtown Gainesville location makes this park easily accessible to a wide population of  UF students and native-born Alachua County Residents alike.

Depot Park, Gainesville FL

Sweetwater Wetlands Park, Gainesville FL

Sweetwater Wetlands Park

325 SW Williston Rd, Gainesville, FL 32601

Created in 2009 as a way to reduce contamination in Alachua Sink to help restore the natural sheetflow into Payne’s Prairie. Shaped like an alligator head, it is a wetland habitat covering 125 acres that returns natural water flow and improves water quality in Alachua Sink and Floridan aquifer. By increasing this amount of conservation lands, an abundance of wildlife is consistently present for fantastic nature photography opportunities and to truly experience the Florida Gator and other local flora and fauna, along with some of the greatest sunsets in North Central Florida.

Biven’s Arm Nature Park

3650 S Main St, Gainesville, FL 32608

Often know as Gainesville’s first nature park, Biven’s boasts new renovated boardwalks, hiking trails, and playground structures.  This park provides a space between Payne’s Prairie and the urbanization of Gainesville crucial to the survival of the flora and fauna. This park is a bird-watchers paradise where wading water birds and owls are abundant, along with hundreds of migratory songbirds often seen during April and October.

Biven's Arm Nature Park

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