Get out and explore all Gainesville has to offer with your visiting friends and family, and then take a ride on the city's only Lazy River!
These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of SwampRentals.com or any of our advertising partners.
If you've got friends and family up north, they probably love to come down and hang out during the colder months. Since the weather in this area is gorgeous all year long, you have plenty of options for entertaining your visitors that are convenient to your Gainesville apartment.
Read on for some creative ideas for showing off our town like a local!
The Great Outdoors
This region of north central Florida is abundant with natural beauty, like botanical gardens, crystal clear springs, vast lakes full of fish, and breathtaking waterways for boating and kayaking.
Most of these options are inexpensive and fun for almost everyone. Be sure to always pack water, sunscreen, and bug spray, though – even in the winter, the sun here is strong, and mosquitoes are never completely absent.
- Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park – Located a bit to the northwest of I-75, this scientific wonderland is a mini rainforest ecosystem in an ancient sinkhole. You can climb down into to the dark, cool, depths to enjoy the waterfalls at this stunning national landmark.
- Kanapaha Botanical Gardens – A favorite for outdoor weddings, Kanapaha is a breathtaking oasis of bamboo forests, tropical flora, and the largest herbal garden in the Southeast. Stroll along the paved walkway, bring your pet, and bring whatever you'd like to eat and drink. Just don't litter!
- Ichetucknee Springs – One of several awe-inspiring springs in the Gainesville area, this park is famous for its 9 artesian spring heads, perfectly clear water, and long relaxing tube ride. You can also paddle, hike, or just relax by the water with your loved ones.
- Depot Park – Part of Gainesville's vibrant Downtown, Depot Park is a fabulous place to enjoy a bike ride, outdoor special events, a huge children's playground, picnic pavilions, or just playing with your pup on the broad green lawns. When you get thirsty, check out the unusual craft sodas at Parkside Subs & Shop, or the Boxcar Beer and Wine Garden.
Eat and Drink
Everyone has to eat, and this city is literally bursting with culinary delights and unique dining experiences. Here are just a few of our favorites:
- Brunch at Oak – Bring the fam and dive into this amazing brunch menu, featuring calorific delights like a smoked duck Benedict, bourbon and bacon stuffed waffles, or a Breakfast Club cocktail with house-made black walnut bitters.
- Do a Gainesville Brewery Tour – This town loves its beer, and we've got an impressive selection of local breweries that any visiting Dad or brothers will love. Here are just a few to check out:
- First Magnitude Brewing Company – Perched a bit to the west of the UF campus, here you can slurp flights or pints of tasty drinks like blueberry lemonade cider, Vega Blonde Ale, or the Wakulla Hefeweizen.
- Cypress & Grove – A friendly neighborhood brewery, the beer here is crafted with water from a local wellspring. Try the delish Crane Song Japanese Style Lager or the Cool Contest Brut IPA.
- Blackadder Brewing Company – This atmospheric Old World-inspired brewhouse is the perfect place to take fantasy fans and those who enjoy the Renaissance fest. Sample the Bugger English Bitter, The Shadow Stout, or The Pink Rider.
- Swamp Head Brewery – Super casual and laid-back, chill out on the patio here and relax with a 6-pack of the amazing Wild Night Honey Cream Ale.
- Celebrate with a really fancy dinner – Here are some of the most highly-rated restaurants in the area that are perfect for a special occasion with your friends and family from out of town:
- Embers Wood Grill – Reservations are required at this upscale eatery, and you'll simply love the decadent menu, offering mind-blowing delights like pan-seared foie gras, surf and turf, and lobster mashed potatoes.
- Prime & Pearl – Indulge in oysters, succulent seafood, and European-style entrees, perfectly paired with exquisite wine and champagne.
- Dragonfly Sushi & Sake Company – Treat your guests to a uniquely Japanese experience, curated by a talented executive chef. The ever-changing menu might include short rib miso ramen, beef Tataki, or blue crab fried rice – all paired with the perfect sake from their extensive list.
This is just a few of the fun things to do with visitors to the gorgeous Gainesville area. Follow SwampRentals for more tips on how to enjoy the north Florida lifestyle to the fullest!