Just northwest of Gainesville in North Central Florida, Alachua was originally established in 1884 on a railroad line and incorporated as a city on 12 April 1905 with a population of 526. Today Alachua is home to more than 6,500 residents.
Day-trippers can easily access the surrounding area thanks to easy access to Interstate 75 to the west and Interstate 10 to the north; both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts are only a few hours away.
Alachua Main Street
At the heart of downtown Alachua, picturesque Main Street is filled with quaint family owned shops and a vintage candy store straight out of the 50’s. Here visitors can shop in charming stores for collectables, art, and unique gifts. A highlight of the street is Govinda’s restaurant, a restored, old family home complete with a white picket fence.
Annual Alachua Spring Festival
The Annual Alachua Spring Festival held on Main Street in April comes complete with arts, crafts, jewelry, home & garden, writers, artists, musicians, clowns, children’s activities, inspirational, self-improvement, music, fishing tackle and boaters “toys”, home improvement, tools, quality yard sale items, and anything that makes people happy!
Poe Springs Park
Not far from Alachua, Poe Springs Park, 202 acres of scenic woodlands and rolling fields situated along the banks of the pristine Santa Fe River, offer swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and canoeing. Bubbling up from the limestone rock of the Florida Aquifer, this spring flows in excess of 44 million gallons of cool, clear water per day.
Poe Springs is Alachua County’s largest spring. Every day, it pumps 45 million gallons of cool, refreshing water. There is a playground, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, hiking, tubing, picnicking, volleyball courts, softball/kickball/soccer field, nature trails, and its own spring in the park.
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park
Nearby, one of the few remaining mature forests in Florida, the San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park provides outdoor adventure to hikers, off-road bicyclists, horseback riders, and nature lovers. Bobcats, white-tailed deer, gray foxes, turkeys, and many species of songbirds make their homes in the 18 natural communities found in the preserve.
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park is unrivaled in the state of Florida for the quality of its cross-country biking trails, with over 30 miles of single-track mountain bike trails. There are four hiking and nature trails on the park’s south side, off Millhopper Road. These trails have lengths of 1.0, 2.3, 4.8, and 5.6 miles.
Mill Creek Farm
And for the amazing admission price of only two carrots, horse lovers can visit the Mill Creek Farm (Saturdays only) Retirement Home for Horses. This home gives lifetime care to horses seized by law enforcement; those rescued by the SPCA or Humane Societies; horses retired from government service such as police patrol, state or federal parks; horses used by handicapped riding programs; circus horses; those used in experiments or similar cases.
Gainesville and the University of Florida are both located in Alachua County. There are also seven Florida State Parks and several small towns. It is the meeting point of nature and culture. Where Spanish moss-draped trees line quaint Old South-inspired streets. In its shops and locally owned restaurants, a cozy quintessential downtown exudes hospitality, comfort, and, at times, a certain refined ease. Where state parks are a virtual playground of world-class natural attractions, sinkholes, waterways, and waterfalls, shady pine forests, flora and fauna, and spectacular natural north Florida sunsets.