Gainesville Florida Area Parks

The City of Gainesville Florida has an abundance of city & state parks where you can go for a walk, ride a bike, hike, canoe, swim, picnic, or even camp. The Bivens Arm Nature Park is located only 1.5 miles from the Gainesville Plaza Hotel & Conference Center.

Other parks include the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Rail Trail, Alfred A. Ring Park, Loblolly Woods Nature Park, the Morningside Nature Center, and many more. The Loblolly Woods Nature Park is one of the best places in the county for bird-watching.

Read the following list for more information about these parks and many others.

Gainesville parks listed by distance from the hotel:

Bivens Arm Nature Park • 1.6

3650 S. Main Street, Gainesville, FL    (352) 393-8756

Bordered by beautiful forests, Bivens Arm Nature Park provides shaded family picnic grounds, an observation pavilion overlooking the marsh, and a network of trails that lead through shady oaksand towering pines. The park connects the southern creeks of Gainesville with the wetlands of Paynes Prairie State Preserve, and features a 1,200-foot boardwalk through the marshes that are filled with wildflowers and wildlife. Bicycle parking and restrooms are available.


Gainesville-Hawthorne State Rail Trail • 4.3 mi

3400 SE 15 Street, Gainesville, FL (352) 466-3397

The Gainesville-Hawthorne State Rail Trail is seventeen miles of abandoned railways that stretch from Gainesville to Hawthorne. They have been converted to public trails for walking, jogging, bicycling and horseback riding. The trail begins at Boulware Springs Park wildlife sanctuary and passes through Paynes Prairie.


Alfred A. Ring Park • 4.7 mi

1801 NW 23rd Boulevard, Gainesville, FL (352) 393-8756

The Alfred A. Ring Park features a mile-long trail that follows the Hogtown Creek. At the north end of the trail visitors find a picnic area, playground and the Emily Ring Wildflower Garden with a pond and waterfall.


Loblolly Woods Nature Park • 5.4 mi

3315 NW 5th Avenue, Gainesville, FL    352) 393-8756

Loblolly Environmental Facility is located on 49 acres where Possum and Hogtown Creeks meet. Surrounded by a scenic floodplain forest with a variety of hardwood trees, a broad diversity of plants and animals can be seen at the park, and it is considered one of the best bird-watching spots in the county. Trails and boardwalks provide shady routes for walking, biking, or jogging, and restrooms and parking facilities are available.


Morningside Nature Center • 5.7 mi

3540 E. University Ave, Gainesville (352) 334-2170

The Morningside Nature Center features an 1840's cabin and a Living History Farm complete with animals in the barnyard. It offers seven miles of trails and boardwalks that wind through 278 acres of forest. The forest is home to dozens dozens of species of birds, reptiles and mammals.


Paynes Prairie State Preserve • 8.2 mi

100 Savannah Blvd, Micanopy, FL 32667    (352) 466-3397

Approximately 20,000 acres of nature make up the Paynes Prairie State Preserve, Florida's first state preserve. Almost 300 types of animals and birds can be seen here, including bison, wild horses, and alligators. There are roadways and trails through the preserve, commonly used for bicycling and hiking. Lake Wauburg is located here, and boating, camping, and picnic facilities are available. The Visitor Center and museum includes an observation tower through which a panoramic view of the prairie can be seen.


Gum Root Park and Swamp Conservation Area • 9.3 mi

7300 NE 27th Avenue, Gainesville (352) 393-8756

Gum Root Park is a 741-acre park that is mostly floodplain swamp, with a canopy of cypress and gum trees. It is a great location for birding and wildlife viewing, and offers trails that wind through different natural communities, including blackwater stream, floodplain swamp, xeric hammock, baygall, pasture, and pine flatwoods. The upland portions are Scrubby Flatwoods, remnant flatwoods, and a 20-acre pasture. Located on the northern shore of Newnans Lake, the parks have diverse wildlife including deer, otters, alligators, and numerous birds. Both parks have limited parking areas, informational kiosks, and loop trails and the Conservation Area has interpretive materials, and a picnic pavilion.


Palm Point Nature Park • 9.8

7401 Lakeshore Drive, Gainesville, FL   (352) 393-8756

For views of cypress trees in Spanish moss, Sabal palms, bald eagles, and osprey, come to Palm Point Nature Park, located on a peninsula on the western shores of Newnans Lake. Palm Point is a magnet for some spectacular migratory and local birds, and the lake's deep water provides great bank fishing. About half of this 16.1-acre park is dominated by stately cypress trees, and the other half by majestic live oaks and sable palms. A wildflower demonstration area is located on this second half, and butterflies are plentiful during the fall while the flowers are in bloom. Wildlife is abundant, with numerous alligators a common sight. Palm Point Park is known throughout Florida as a top bird-watching location, with cormorants, osprey, bald eagles, herons, egrets, and ibis commonly seen. Amenities include park benches, picnic table, and limited parking.


Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park • 10.0 mi

4732 Millhopper Rd, Gainesville, FL 32653 352-955-2008

Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park features a beautiful limestone sinkhole in which lush vegetation has taken root. Small waterfalls trickle down the walls, providing the sound and humidity needed to form this small rainforest environment. Its unexpected beauty makes it a natural attraction, and visitors can enjoy the nature trail that runs along the rim, or venture down into the hole on the stairs and boardwalks provided, and enjoy the peaceful coolness at the bottom. A visitor center exhibits fossils and relics from the sinkhole.


San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park • 19.1 mi

12720 NW 109 Ln, Alachua, FL 32615 (386) 462-7905

The San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park is a 6000-acre preserve known for its established hardwood setting, which provides an ideal habitat for local wildlife, including deer, boar, bobcats and foxes. The park's nine miles of trails allow visitors to enjoy biking, hiking, and horseback riding while viewing the natural beauty and wildlife. Indian mounds from original tribes can are also located within the preserve.


O'Leno State Park • 26.8 mi

410 S.E. Oleno Park Road, High Springs, Florida 32643 (386) 454-1853

O'Leno State Park, a beautiful park featuring the natural bridge and sinkholes of the Santa Fe River, has several trails that run through the deep hardwood forest and across the swamps. The river disappears and runs underground for three miles, and a hiking trail leads along the river's edge to the place where the river disappears. Other trails take hikers and bikers through the beautiful scenery. Fishing is allowed in the river and a shady, full-facility campground is available with scenic picnic areas. Bicycles and canoes are available to rent.


Gold Head Branch State Park • 26.9 mi

6239 S.R. 21, Keystone Heights, Florida    (352) 473-4701

Gold Head Branch State Park is a popular place to enjoy many water sports, including swimming, canoeing and fishing. The 1,500-acre park also features camping, picnic tables and pavilion, bath houses, nature trails and a softball field. Visitors enjoy hiking and wildlife viewing along the park�s nature trails and a three-mile stretch of the Florida Trail. A large picnic area, with tables and grills, overlooks Little Lake Johnson, and a full-facility campground is available for primitive camping, in addition to fully equipped lakefront cabins.