Skip to main content

Making the Most of Orientation Weekends at the University of Florida

By: Jane W / 16 May 2023
Image of the UF tower and the words Orientation in Gainesville

Orientation weekends at the University of Florida (UF) are an exhilarating time for incoming students and their families. As you embark on this new chapter in your life, it's essential to not only acquaint yourself with the campus but also explore the small and surprising town of Gainesville. In this blog, we'll dive into orientation weekends at UF and highlight some of the interesting things to see and do in Gainesville during those precious moments of free time.


Orientation Weekends at the University of Florida:

The University of Florida's orientation weekends are designed to help new students transition smoothly into college life. These action-packed events provide invaluable information, resources, and opportunities to connect with faculty, staff, and fellow students. Let's explore some key aspects of UF's orientation weekends:

  • Campus Tours and Information Sessions:

Orientation weekends often kick off with campus tours and information sessions. These activities allow you to familiarize yourself with UF's stunning campus, discover essential locations such as academic buildings, libraries, and student centers, and gain insights into the university's academic programs and support services.

  • Academic Advising and Course Registration:

During orientation, you'll have the opportunity to meet with academic advisors who will guide you through course selection and registration. They will help you understand the curriculum, degree requirements, and assist in crafting an academic plan that aligns with your goals and interests.

  • Student Involvement Fair:

The student involvement fair is a highlight of orientation weekends. This bustling event showcases the wide array of student organizations, clubs, and extracurricular activities available at UF. It's an excellent opportunity to explore your passions, meet like-minded individuals, and join groups that align with your interests.


During the busy orientation period, it's understandable that there may not be enough time to fully explore Gainesville and its attractions. However, it's essential to plan ahead for those moments when you do have free time or when friends and family come to visit. Utilize resources like Visit Gainesville's website, social media platforms, and local visitor centers to gather information, create itineraries, and discover the best places to visit. By planning in advance, you can ensure that you make the most of your future opportunities to explore Gainesville's hidden gems and create unforgettable memories with your loved ones.


  • Visit Gainesville's Newsletter:

Visit Gainesville, the official tourism organization for the city, offers a What's Good newsletter that is a treasure trove of information for visitors. Their newsletter is packed with recommendations, insider tips, and upcoming events in Gainesville and the surrounding areas. It's an excellent resource to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings and discover exciting attractions, including the natural springs that are sure to captivate your senses. Sign up here.

  • Visit Gainesville's Website:

Visit Gainesville's website is a comprehensive platform that provides a wealth of information for visitors, students and residents. Their website features an interactive map, itinerary suggestions, and detailed guides on various attractions and up-to-date calendar listings. You can explore the many attractions and plan your visit accordingly. The website also offers insights into nearby parks, hiking trails, and outdoor activities.

  • Social Media:

Harness the power of social media platforms to gather insights and recommendations from locals and fellow travelers. Follow Visit Gainesville's social media accounts, where they often share updates, breathtaking photos, and engaging content about the area's natural springs and other attractions. Additionally, explore hashtags such as #VisitGNV, #Gainesville, #NaturalSprings, #UF, and #ExploreFlorida to discover hidden gems, personal stories, and valuable tips from individuals who have experienced Gainesville firsthand.

  • Blogs:

Blogs serve as excellent resources for gathering valuable information and insights, especially when it comes to exploring new places like Gainesville. Visit Gainesville's blog offers a wealth of content, including tips, recommendations, and in-depth guides about the city's attractions, events, and natural wonders. Similarly, Hotel Eleo's blog provides a unique perspective on local experiences and things to do in Gainesville based on requests and suggestions from hotel guests such as "vegetarian-friendly restaurants" or "suggestions on hair and nail salons", and "what to do in Gainesville". For students, a popular blog is the Move in, Move Out blog provides helpful tips on where to stock up when you enter as a Freshman and where to donate after graduation.  By utilizing these blogs, you can tap into the expertise of locals and experts, enhancing your understanding and enjoyment of Gainesville's offerings.


As you plan ahead for your college journey in Gainesville, it's important to consider inviting your family to visit you during the school year. Gainesville offers numerous attractions and events that make it an ideal destination for a family getaway. One highlight is the popular football season, where the University of Florida Gators bring the campus alive with their spirited games. Hotel Eleo, known for its exceptional accommodations, goes above and beyond by offering tailgate tents at select home games for their guests. This unique amenity allows you and your family to immerse yourselves in the vibrant game-day atmosphere while enjoying the convenience of staying at Hotel Eleo.

Beyond football season, Gainesville offers a multitude of reasons for your family to plan visits throughout the school year. Here are a few more compelling reasons to explore and plan ahead:

  1. Cultural and Artistic Events: Gainesville is a hub of cultural and artistic events, including theater performances, music festivals, and art exhibitions. The Hippodrome Theatre, the Gainesville Fine Arts Association, and the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts are just a few venues that offer an array of engaging performances and exhibitions. By planning ahead, you can secure tickets to these events and share memorable experiences with your family.

  2. Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities: Gainesville's proximity to breathtaking natural wonders, including the numerous natural springs in the area, provides ample opportunities for outdoor adventures. Plan family excursions to explore the serene beauty of places like Ginnie Springs, Ichetucknee Springs State Park, or Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Engage in activities such as hiking, canoeing, or simply relaxing amidst the stunning scenery.

  3. Family Weekend and Homecoming: Universities often have designated events like Family Weekend and Homecoming, where families are invited to celebrate and engage in campus activities. These events offer the perfect opportunity for your family to experience campus life, attend special performances or games, and connect with other families. By planning ahead and coordinating with your family, you can ensure their presence during these memorable occasions.

  4. Local Festivals and Fairs: Gainesville hosts a variety of festivals and fairs throughout the year, showcasing the city's vibrant culture and community spirit. Events like the Downtown Festival & Art Show, the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, or the Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival offer a unique blend of art, music, food, and entertainment. Plan ahead to coincide your family's visit with these lively celebrations and experience the dynamic side of Gainesville.

By planning your family's visits ahead of time, you can secure hotel reservations, make dinner arrangements at the city's diverse range of eateries, and ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Gainesville has much to offer beyond academics, and by exploring and planning ahead, you can create cherished memories with your family while fully embracing the vibrant spirit of this thriving town.


Find more readings


Need time to define details?

We are happy to send you a reminder while you confirm your booking details.
Form Sucess Message will Come Here