Gainesville is located in north central Florida along Interstate 75 and US Highway 441, which gives favorable access to many places throughout the state. Gainesville is equidistant from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean and located approximately 129 miles from Tallahassee, 96 miles from Orlando, 72 miles from Jacksonville, 118 miles from Tampa, and 298 miles from Miami. Enjoy learning about the places to visit and the things to do in Florida!
Key West: Although it’s about 8 hours from Gainesville, Key West is one Florida destination you will never regret visiting. Besides reaching mile marker 0 and spending time on the beaches, there are a lot of sites to see in the Keys. Depending on your preferences, there are plenty of things to do, from art galleries to water sports. Take a cruise into the sunset or grab your scuba gear or bike around one of the many islands; whatever you choose to do, you’ll have a fantastic time!
Miami: Miami is a must-see/experience. It’s about 5-6 hours from Gainesville, and a fun road-trip with friends! While you’re in Miami, check out South Beach. Although it is crowded at times, the restaurants and bar scene is awesome on Ocean Drive! The Everglades aren’t that far from Miami, so you can go on an airboat tour and see a lot of huge gators. You can watch the Miami Heat play or catch a concert at the American Airlines Arena on Biscayne Blvd. If you walk a little farther from the arena, you reach Bayside, an outdoor mall with great restaurants and shops. There are also a few bars in this area, so if you’re not enjoying the nightlife on the beach, Bayside is a good option too! The Wynwood walls are a unique attraction in Miami; they are beautiful mural walls in the city, and definitely worth visiting if you enjoy street art.
Ocala: Just 45 minutes to an hour south of Gainesville is Ocala. This is a smaller city, but it’s a good place to visit if you enjoy parks and the outdoors. Silver Springs River and Sate Park have stunning blue water and gators, manatees, and cool birds. You can kayak, swim, or do whatever you like while enjoying Florida’s natural beauty. There are a few farm tours in Ocala if you like being around horses! Additionally there are many springs outside of the city, and Sholom Park is another popular park to visit in Ocala.
Orlando (Kissimmee): Orlando is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world! It’s only two hours away from Gainesville! There are a lot of options in Orlando, the most popular being the Disney parks. You can visit Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and more, but you might need more than one day! Check out park hoppers online, they’re often a better deal than just buying a one day ticket. Florida residents often get special deals as well. Don’t forget about City Walk! There, you will find Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure—aka the Harry Potter parks! You will also find great restaurants and bars in City Walk. There is a great shopping scene in Orlando; there are several outlets, such as Orlando International Premium Outlets and the Vineland Premium Outlets. You can also watch Orlando City play or the Orlando Magic in the Amway Center.
Sarasota: Sarasota is a little over an hour south of Tampa. With some of the top beaches in the nation, you’ll discover the perfect getaway in Sarasota. Siesta Key and Lido Beach are a couple of popular beach destinations. If you enjoy shopping, St. Armand’s Circle is the place to be. It has plenty of boutiques and trendy stores to fill your afternoon, and you can relax afterwards at one of the many restaurants. Another popular tourist destination is the Ringling, which houses the legacy of the Ringling brothers. It is also the home of a Museum of Art, the historic Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, Bayfront Gardens, an art library, Circus Museums, and the Historic Asolo Theater. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium are also popular tourist destinations.
St. Augustine: St. Augustine provides many options for a day trip away from your studies! You can visit the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum, Potter’s Wax Museum, the Fountain of Youth, or take a ghost tour in the evening. If you’re there during the summer (or winter) you can hit the beaches. Castillo De San Marcos is the enormous Spanish fort you’ll spot near St. George’s Street (where you can grab a quick bite to eat or indulge in some Kilwin’s fudge/ice cream). You can tour the Fort and learn what it was used for, what life was like, and how to load and fire a cannon! There is plenty to do down in St. Augustine.
Tampa: Situated on the beautiful waters of the Gulf, there are many things to do when you’re in the Bay area! It is the perfect place to take a weekend off and enjoy the beaches and amusements parks. Busch Gardens and Adventure Island are located in the heart of Tampa. Check out their ticket deals, especially if you are a Florida residents! Located near Tampa, you can visit the pristine beaches of Clearwater Beach; or if you’re brave, you can even run the annual Ironman! A little farther south of Clearwater is St. Petersburg. With more beautiful beaches, shopping centers, and restaurants, you won’t regret your trip to St. Pete!