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image of a map with a pin on Gainesville, Florida - text says Summer Fun in Gainesville
29 Jun 2022
Things to Do
Posted by
Alyssa Hockensmith

Summer in the Swamp


Spending the part of the summer in Gainesville may seem like a quiet, low-key activity, and in some respects, it's true. Most of the students have gone home for the summer, so the palpable energy that radiates through campus throughout the year isn't the same. But, in some ways, it makes it the perfect time to visit. Whether you're newly admitted into this year's freshman class or an alum that wants to revisit some of your favorite haunts, spending the summer in the Swamp can give you the chance to explore the town and get a chance to do things you never thought of before.


TIP: Book Hotel ELEO's Spring Into Summer Package (Save 20% on 2 night+ stays)



The 2022 U.S. Junior Olympic Championship for Artistic Swimming (aka synchronized swimming) will be held in Gainesville June 25- July 2, 2022. The Junior Olympic Championship averages about 1,100 athletes competing across a nine-day schedule. "The 2022 event will be staged June 25 to July 2 at the Stephen O'Connell Center on the University of Florida campus. The facility boasts room for just over 1,000 spectators and the 50-meter pool is considered one of the fastest in the world. Known as home to the University of Florida, the city of Gainesville offers opportunities for biking, fishing, kayaking, golfing, tubing down freshwater springs and other outdoor activities. There is also a sprawling downtown area, home to several craft breweries and a bustling restaurant scene." - Sports Travel Magazine


TIP: After being inspired by the incredible stamina and grace of the athletes, head to one of the many nearby freshwater springs and try out a few of the moves. Read our blog about the springs here.


The arts and culture in Gainesville are unique, interesting, and readily available in the summer. Below are a few suggestions on where to go to immerse yourself in creativity.

  • The Florida Museum of Natural History is host to life-sized dinosaur bones, a living butterfly rainforest, a collection of Florida's fossils, artifacts from indigenous tribes, and the interactive "Our Energy Future" exhibit. 
  • Located on the Santa Fe College campus, the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium reveals the awe and wonders of the universe.
  • For a full schedule and details, visit the Downtown Cultural Series website
  • The Gainesville Artisan Craft Gallery was established in 1970 to create a network and market for area artists.  The gallery is among the oldest artist cooperatives in the country.
  • The 11 galleries of superb art at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, also known as "The Harn" should top your list of things to do in Gainesville.
  • High Springs Playhouse offers theatrical productions all year long as does Hippodrome theatre in Downtown Gainesville.
  • The Legacy Park Concert Series is a FREE event that will feature some of the best music talents in the region, featuring two Funk/Soul bands, such as Uncle Morty's Rythym Cream who will be on stage June 4, performing in the beautiful Legacy Park Amphitheater.
  • From May through October, the bandshell at the Bo Didley Center offers FREE FRIDAYS. The performances are from 8pm until 10pm and feature a musical guest from a mix of genres including folk, jazz, reggae, rock and more.


TIP: Admission to the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Harn Museum of Art is FREE!



One of the things that is so nice about coming to Gainesville is that there are plenty of ways to spend time appreciating this wonderful planet of ours.


You can take a hike at one of the state parks located in and around Gainesville. Paynes Prairie, for example, is located just a short drive south of Gainesville and is Florida's first state preserve.


It boasts wonderful hikes through unique terrain giving you the chance to see several species native to the area, which means pets are not allowed on the trails. In addition to Paynes Prairie, you can visit Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, which gives you the chance to take a look into a large sinkhole after a half-mile hike. Depending on what time of year you go, the water held inside the sinkhole can be iridescent. If you're looking for a short, interesting hike, this one's for you, but be aware that it is only open Wednesday-Sunday.


If you're looking for a way to escape the heat of the summer in Florida, you should try some of the springs nearby. Ginnie Springs, located just outside Gainesville, offers inner tubes, kayaks, paddle boards, and canoes for a cool and refreshing 72-degree dip. There are also dive sites for those who are scuba certified, and other ways to enjoy some time in the freshwater. There's also Devil's Den Prehistoric Spring located in Williston, just north of Gainesville. It's an underground spring that is great for those who want to snorkel or dive to explore the cave. Since Covid-19, snorkeling is by appointment only. Like Ginnie Springs, the water temperatures are 72 degrees year-round. What better way to escape the summer sun by exploring a spring underground.


Maybe you're looking for something a little more relaxing. If that's the case, take a stroll through the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens to take in the plant life there. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is home to 24 major horticultural collections, including the largest herb garden in the Southeast.


TIP: The first Saturday of every month, Kanapaha offers guided tours that are $10 for adults and $5 for children. 

Food + Drink

Gainesville is full of surprises and with the school year over, the wait for a great table or a cold beer are almost non-existent!

  • Breweries - GNV is home to really impressive breweries and they each offer really creative programming such as bird walks! Read our Beer Blog here.
  • Vegetarian Options - So many great restaurants and a surprising amount offer vegan and/or vegetarian options. Read about them in our blog here.  
  • For a full list of ideas, check out the Visit Gainesville list of restaurants here.


TIP: Covey Kitchen + Cocktails at Hotel ELEO offers brunch on Saturday and Sunday (and free valet parking!).

Whatever your pleasure, Gainesville has a lot to offer anyone coming to visit this summer. Whether you're a high school student planning a college visit or an alumnus wanting to revisit some of the places you once knew or someone who is just passing through, take some time to explore summertime in the Swamp.