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Activities to Beat the Summer Heat in Gainesville

The fun and nostalgia of summer may lose its edge as the days get hotter (and muggier), and you feel like activities are limited to anyplace with air conditioning. The weather doesn’t have to ruin your summer fun, however — there are a few ways to beat the heat that doesn’t involve standing near a maxed-out AC.


The best way to naturally beat the heat is by spending an afternoon in one of North Florida’s natural springs, many of which are close by to Gainesville. Ginnie Springs is one of the most popular in the area — you can swim around in one of the many springs that empty into the Santa Fe River, or grab some tubes and have a relaxing float down the river.

For adventurers and thrill-seekers, Ginnie Springs has an underwater cave system known as the “Devil’s Spring System” perfect for scuba-diving exploration. If you don’t have your own equipment or training for scuba diving don’t worry, on-site rentals and instructors will help you safely embark on an underwater expedition.

Nature Trails

Gainesville is surrounded by beautiful nature trails teeming with wildlife. Though most of them offer a lot of tree cover, taking a stroll through one in the middle of the day may prove to be too hot during the summer. This is definitely an early morning or late afternoon activity, but nothing beats watching the sunrise or sunset over Paynes Prarie or birdwatching (and sometimes gator spotting) at Sweetwater Preserve.

Catch a comedy show

On those brutally hot days, air conditioning may be your only option — but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. Gainesville has its own circuit of comedians aspiring to make it big. Comedy nights are held at different venues including the Midnight, the Hippodrome, the High Dive and more each night throughout the week, but you will be sure to see familiar faces the more you go. The who’s who of Gainesville comedians can be found at most of these events, testing out new material and incorporating regulars into their set.

A night of dancing

Comedy not your style? As the weekend approaches, downtown venues offer a number of shows and themed nights — a perfect opportunity to break out your dancing shoes.

We are also in the middle of a free Friday concert series at Bo Diddley Plaza. Every Friday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. you can catch Jazz, Soul, orchestra and ensemble, rock and tribute bands, and much more all for free, and all after the sun has gone down! It is the perfect follow up to dinner downtown, or even a precursor to drinks at your favorite downtown bar.

These are only a few ways to beat the heat. Gainesville has so many attractions and events tailored to spice up your summer. Catch a show at the iconic Hippodrome Theatre, check out the new shops and restaurants at Butler Plaza and Celebration Pointe, or enjoy a nice afternoon at one of the city’s amazing museums.

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