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How to Spend a Weekend in Gainesville, Florida

Gainesville, Florida is a college town, home to the University of Florida. There’s plenty to do when you visit Gainesville, from museums to shopping to breweries. This lively city will keep you coming back for more. Here are the best things to do during your weekend trip to Gainesville.

Gainesville, Florida

Things To Do During Your Weekend in Gainesville

1. Explore the Florida Museum of Natural History

Florida Museum of Natural History

The Florida Museum of Natural History is one of the top things to do in Gainesville. This museum features displays of tons of fossils, including my favorite – the Florida spectacled bear. You’ll also learn about Florida’s waterways and wildlife as well as the indigenous peoples of Florida.

They also feature a rotating special exhibit and a Butterfly Rainforest featuring hundreds of free-fling butterflies and birds from around the world.

Admission to the Florida Museum of Natural History is free for their permanent exhibits. For their special exhibit, admission costs 107 for adults, $7 for children. For their popular Butterfly Rainforest, admission costs $14 for adults, $7.50 for children. You can get a discount when you purchase both the special exhibit and Butterfly Rainforest combination ticket.

2. Diving and Watersports at Ginnie Springs

Ginnie Springs

The crystal clear waters of Ginnie Springs are 72 degrees year round and perfect for SCUBA diving, tubing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and canoeing. This is one of the world’s best freshwater dives, full of startling natural beauty. You can even camp at Ginnie Springs and make your entire weekend a dive weekend.

Ginnie Springs offers snorkel and diving equipment rentals so you can explore their three different dive sites. You can also rent innertubes, kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards for exploring the springs above water.

Daily admission for adults costs $15 during the off-season and $20 during the on-season. Admission for children 5-12 costs $5, and children 4 and under are free. SCUBA rates costs $24 for cave certified divers and $32 for all other certified divers.

3. Wine Tasting at Bluefield Estate Winery

Bluefield Estate Winery, Gainesville, Florida

A bit of a drive from Gainesville proper is the Bluefield Estate Winery. This family-owned winery was started by a married couple in their kitchen with a small batch of blueberries. The winery specializes in blueberry wines and muscadine grape wines. You can explore the vineyards, enjoy a tasting, and participate in seasonal fruit pickings.

Their tasting room is the perfect place to try out some new wine flavors. Wine tastings cost $5 for 4 tastings or $8 for 8 tastings.

4. Diving and Snorkeling at Devil’s Den Spring

Devil's Den Spring

Devil’s Den Spring is one of North America’s most prehistoric sites. This underground spring inside a dry cave housed many extinct animal fossils dating back to the Pleistocene Age that are now on display at the Florida Museum of Natural History. 

At this spring, you’ll find crystal clear water that’s 72 degrees year round, ancient rock formations and stalactites, and fossil beds dating back 33 million years. Access to the spring is limited to only those who are snorkeling or diving.

Admission for diving at Devil’s Den costs $38 per person. You can also rent diving equipment here. Admission for snorkeling costs $18 on weekdays and $25 on weekends and holidays. You can also rent snorkel equipment.

5. Grab a Drink at Swamp Head Brewery

Swamp Head Brewery, Gainesville, Florida

As a college town, it’s only fitting that Gainesville have plenty of great breweries. Swamp Head Brewery is one of those.

Founded in 2008, Swamp Head Brewery uses quality ingredients in its beers, from local honey and blueberries to spices from a local garden. Each beer is brewed with natural flavors and to the highest standard.

6. Enjoy Drinks at First Magnitude Brewing

First Magnitude Brewery, Gainesville, Florida

Located in downtown Gainesville, First Magnitude Brewing is a nationally and internationally awarded craft brewery and tap room. They have a large tap room with 26 taps, an oak-shaded beer garden, and a large indoor warehouse area where you can enjoy your beer.

This brewery hosts food trucks daily, and you can enjoy a movie or a game on their giant screen and catch some live music in their beer garden.

7. Visit the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo

Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo

The 10-acre Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo is the only college zookeeper training facility in the United States with its own AZA-accredited zoo on grounds. The zoo is home to over 70 different species of animals. You can walk the lush, shaded, tropical trail to see animals like bald eagles, capuchin monkeys, alligators, Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo and Asian small-clawed otters.

Admission to Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo costs $10 for adults, $6 for children ages 4-12, and $6 for seniors.

Where to Eat in Gainesville

1. That Bar and Table

That Bar and Table, Gainesville, Florida

That Bar and Table in Haile Plantation, Gainesville serves classic American dishes, famous burgers, brunch, local craft beer, and changing specials. They also have a dog-friendly patio perfect for your friendly dog!

I recommend getting the California Chicken Club sandwich.

2. Stubbies Pop-up Sausages Food Truck

Stubbies Popup Sausages, Gainesville, Florida

Stubbies Pop-up Sausages food truck serves fine German sausages and innuendo where ever it rolls up. You can find them at breweries and fairs around town. Just check their Facebook page to find out where to catch them on any given night!

I recommend getting their Bratwurst.

3. Tijuana Flats

Tijuana Flats

The first Tijuana Flats opened not too far from Gainesville in Winter Park, Florida by a recent college grad, so it’s perfect for a visit to this college town. This fast-casual Text-Mex chain is full of bold flavors and colorful experiences.

I recommend trying their Banging Chicken Burrito.

Gainesville Weekend Itinerary Map

Want to easily plan your weekend in Gainesville, Florida? Check out the map below for all the locations listed in this post.

I hope you found this Gainesville weekend itinerary helpful! Enjoy your time exploring Gainesville, Florida!

Top Gainesville Tours

With so much to see, Gainesville can be overwhelming for any first-time traveler. To take some of the stress out of planning your visit, opt for a guided tour! Check out this list of the top Gainesville tours to help you make the most of your time in this Florida city.

Where to Stay in Gainesville, Florida

Find the perfect place to rest your head on your visit to Gainesville, from the top rated accommodations to unique stays you can’t get anywhere else.

More Florida Itineraries

Looking for more fun places to explore in Florida? Check out these top posts:

Ready to visit Gainesville, Florida? Plan your trip with these tips.

  • Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
  • Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Gainesville using
  • Get Packing: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources.



How to Spend a Weekend in Gainesville, Florida

Have you spent a weekend in Gainesville, Florida? Let me know your favorite things to do in Gainesville in the comments below!

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  1. I always love reading coverage of my hometown – and I’m glad you made it to Stubbies! I’d add to this list: Satchel’s (a Gainesville classic!) and Alpin (one of my favorite French restaurants outside of France).

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