Summer officially starts June 20, but in Florida we like to get a head start. As the days get longer and the temperatures rise, it becomes more important to take precautions against the heat and enjoy your visit to Gainesville & Alachua County. Scroll down and take a look at our suggestions to beat the heat.
Take a dip in a freshwater spring
The small town of High Springs is located near the Santa Fe River and serves as a gateway to the springs. Springs are a unique geological feature of this area of Florida as water rushes up from the underground Floridan Aquifer at 72 degrees all year round. This natural flow creates one of nature’s most perfect swimming pools with an ideal temperature and clear visibility. At Poe Springs Park you can take a swim at the spring which pumps over 40 million gallons of water daily. While you are there, you can also have a cookout and get a great view of the Santa Fe River! The park is open dawn to dusk 7 days a week with an entrance fee of $5 per car.
Hal Brady Recreation Complex Splashpad
For another refreshing choice, head over to the city of Alachua and cool off at the Splash Park at Hal Brady Recreation Complex. The 160-acre park’s large fountain, spouting cool water from the ground, is a great alternative for guests who aren’t strong swimmers. Both children and adults can enjoy the fountain and relax on one of the park’s beach chairs. Park admission for the fountain is free.
Depot Park Splashpad
The Blue Grotto splashpad at Depot Park is inspired by underground Florida caverns. Water cannons, water jets, and waterfalls provide plenty of fun while hidden fossils from the Florida Museum of Natural History let kids peek into the state’s past. Admission is free. Click to explore things to do at Depot Park.
City of Gainesville Pools
Gainesville is home to multiple public pools accessible to the local community and to visitors. Make a splash at Westside, Northeast and TB McPhearson Pools. Serious swimmers, can use the designated lanes to log some laps. Click for more information
Eat and Drink
A great way to cool off during the hot Florida summer is with a cool drink, and Madrina’s is the perfect spot for a Cuban-inspired craft cocktail and frozen daiquiri.
Prefer craft beers over mixed drinks? Check out some local breweries:
- Swamp Head Brewery
- First Magnitude Brewing Company
- Cypress & Grove Brewing Co.
- Blackadder Brewing Company
- Big Top Brewery
Perfect Summer Dining
When exploring High Springs, The Great Outdoors restaurant is a good spot to sit down for food and drinks. The outdoors-themed restaurant has a large pet-friendly patio with massive umbrellas to shade the tables. It’s a great spot to sit outside while sipping on a cold brew, listening to live music, and trying one of the great menu items like Cajun redfish, burgers, fish tacos, salads, crab cakes and more.
For dessert, visit Talented Cookie Company and satisfy your sweet tooth with their homemade cookies. In Micanopy, you can pay a visit to Coffee and Cream for their famous freshly squeezed lemonade and outdoor patio. Lunch, ice cream and frozen yogurt are served there as well. In Gainesville, Sweet Dreams, and Karma Cream are the places to go for homemade ice cream.
The Great Indoors
Take a break from the sun and slip into one of Gainesville’s air-conditioned museums and spend some time soaking in knowledge. The University of Florida Cultural Plaza features the Harn Museum of Art, Florida Museum of Natural History. The Thomas Center is a historic Mediterranean-Revival mansion with preserved period rooms, art gallery, and a self-guided tour. Spark Wonder at the Cade Museum of Creativity & Invention with exhibits and hands-on activities meant to inspire future inventors, entrepreneurs, and visionaries. The museum’s namesake, Dr. Robert Cade, was the lead inventor of Gatorade.
Visit High Springs for exhibits on the early pioneers from the late 1800s to early 1900s. High Springs Historical Museum provides a glimpse of what life looked like for the people of that era, and the historical impact the steam train industry had on their lives, along with a display of model trains. History buffs can continue their adventure at Matheson History Museum, the second oldest house in the city (1867), with hundreds of old photographs reflecting the life of the pioneers.
When Night Falls
Evenings in Gainesville are fun during the summer as the temps cool off. On Friday nights, head over to Bo Diddley Plaza for free concerts each week during the summer. Click to see the Free Fridays Concert Series schedule. Other local music venues to enjoy during the evening include: The Hippodrome, High Dive, Atlantic, The Wooly, One Love Cafe and Tioga Town Center.