Travel Guide to Florida

2017 Travel Guide to Florida

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F rom its abundance of nature and relaxed way of life to its vibrant entertainment options and love of sports, Gainesville's charm is hard to resist. Just one visit and you'll understand why. DO Outdoor enthusiasts love the Gainesville area. Enjoy 30 miles of hiking, bicycling and equestrian trails at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Descend 200-plus steps into the Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park limestone sinkhole to find a miniature rainforest. Grab a kayak and head to High Springs or tube down the Ichetucknee River. If you're a sports fan, you're in luck. The Florida Gators field championship caliber squads in football, basketball, gymnastics and softball, to name a few. Like to golf? Ironwood and West End welcome you to tee off year-round. Shop the brand new Celebration Pointe, featuring an 82,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shop, or at the many new stores at Butler Plaza. If antiques are your thing, neighboring Micanopy, the oldest inland town in the Sunshine State, is the epitome of Old Florida. SEE Visit the Cultural Plaza on the University of Florida campus to see the Florida Museum of Natural History, which houses 34 million specimens and a Butterfly Rainforest. The adjacent Harn Museum of Art is the permanent home of Claude Monet's Champ d'avoine (Oat Field). Downtown, the Hippodrome Theatre has been the go-to place for plays and cinema for more than 40 years. In nearby Cross Creek at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, you'll find the writer's famous home where she penned The Yearling, the 1939 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction. EAT AND PLAY Gainesville is a college town, so there is never any lack of nightlife, especially on University Avenue and Main Street. For live music, step inside The Wooly, High Dive or Loosey's. The Bo Diddly Plaza features free outdoor music every Friday from May through October. The revitalized downtown core is home to hip and tasty restaurants. Try Dragonfly Sushi & Saki Company, Boca Fiesta, The Top or satisfy your Italian cravings at Amelia's. INSIDER'S TIP Want to see a 'gator? Take a stroll on La Chua Trail at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park where alligators bask on the shores to soak up the sun. 144 2017 TRAVEL GUIDE TO FLORIDA THE CHARM OF Gainesville BY KEVIN FRITZ COURTESY VISIT GAINESVILLE G A I N E SV I L L E Alachua County Visitors & Convention Bureau: VisitGainesville.com Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park: floridastateparks.org/park/devils-millhopper Florida Gators: floridagators.com Florida Museum of Natural History: flmnh.ufl.edu Harn Museum of Art: harn.ufl.edu Hippodrome Theatre: thehipp.org Kanapaha Botanical Gardens: kanapaha.org Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park: floridastateparks.org/parks/ Marjorie-Kinnan-Rawlings UF Health: ufhealth.org FEATURED LINKS TOP: The bottom of the sinkhole at Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park. CENTER: Fossil Hall at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

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