Location, Location, Location
Gainesville is conveniently located in North Central Florida between two of the state’s main thoroughfares, Interstate 75 and US Highway 441 and is equidistant from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Gainesville is located approximately 129 miles from Tallahassee; 96 miles from Orlando; 118 miles from Tampa and 298 miles from Miami.
Perhaps Gainesville’s most notable and latest claim to fame is the University of Florida Gators unprecedented winning of the 2006 NCAA National Championship football as well as NCAA Basketball National Championships in 2006 and 2007.
Demographically, Gainesville ranks 15th among Florida’s most populous cities; more than 27 percent of its population consists of individuals between the ages of 25 and 44 years.
- County Population: approximately 247,000
- City Population: approximately 120,000
- Average enrollment at University of Florida: 46,000
Gainesville / Alachua County History
Officially established in 1824, Alachua County (pronounced A-latch-u-wah) was named by this area’s first settlers, the Timucuan Indians. Excellent fisherman, hunters and farmers, the Timucuans thrived on the vast fertile soil especially on and around what is now known as Paynes Prairie State Park Preserve. In the 1500′s, Spanish explorers, perhaps most notably, Hernando DeSoto, plundered this area and it native settlers. However it was during this time that Franciscan missions and cattle ranches were established. By the early 1700′s the Spanish found it difficult and costly to maintain dominance in this vast region and which made way for the influx of English settlers and the Seminole Indian tribes. Subsequent Seminole skirmishes and the establishment of the Florida railroad through the interior of the state, brought new settlements and trading to the area. Cotton, vegetable crops and later citrus and phosphate welcomed more residents to the Gainesville area. It was in 1905 when Gainesville was selected as the official site of the University of Florida.
Airport / Airline Information
The Gainesville Regional Airport serves North Central Florida with scheduled, private and cargo air service. Located in Northeast Gainesville, the airport is conveniently located approximately 15 minutes from downtown as well as the University of Florida campus. Commercial service includes daily flight service via Delta Connection/ASA, Continental/Gulfstream International Airlines and US Airways/PSA. DayJet, the new per-seat, on- demand jet service, is now also available.
Number of Lodging/Rooms — Gainesville/Alachua County has approximately 57 lodging properties with about 4,600 hotel rooms including seven bed & breakfasts, four full-service hotels.
Climate & Weather — Gainesville and the surrounding area enjoy a sub-tropical climate year round with mild winter averages in the upper 50′s to mid-60′s while warm, humid summer temperatures hover in the upper 80′s and lower 90′s. Average annual rainfall is approximately 35-40 inches.
Gainesville is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream destination offering world-class venues for snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking, incredible hiking and biking and even bird- watching. Paynes Prairie State Park Preserve, located just 20 minutes from historic downtown Gainesville is a 21,000-acre wilderness preserve and home for more than 800 species of plants and 430 species of vertebrates including 271 species of birds. Although an incredible sanctuary for natural Florida wildlife such as alligators and bald eagles year-round, visitors in mid-October to Late November can marvel the annual fall migration of the Sandhill Cranes. Bison and wild Spanish stallions roam freely in this lush natural North Florida sanctuary. Located in northwest Gainesville, the 7,000-acre San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park is one of the finest examples of climax mesic hammocks remaining in Florida. With rolling hills, short climbs, sinkholes, upland forests, hammock and prairie, San Felasco offers prime hiking, biking trail and the equestrian trails. With the largest number of high-magnitude springs in the world as well as several pristine rivers within less than an hour drive, the Gainesville area offers a wealth of snorkeling, scuba, and kayaking, and rafting adventures. With Gainesville’s seasonal sub- tropical climate coupled the natural springs annual average temperature at 72° F, a trip to crystal clear springs is an inviting adventure year-round.
Interesting Facts About Gainesville / Alachua County
- Home to the largest occupied bat house in North America; located at the University of Florida campus is home to 100,000 bats.
- Gatorade, the world first and most popular sports drink, was invented at the University of Florida in 1965.
- Has the largest number of high-magnitude springs in the world.
- Home to the world’s largest butterfly research center and houses the world’s second largest collection of butterflies and moths.
- Birthplace of Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
- The Gainesville/Alachua County area was the film locations for Doc Hollywood, The Hawk is Dying, Devil’s Advocate and The Yearling.
For more information: www.visitgainesville.com