This weekend I was blessed with a three day weekend!! #BLESSED. So my husband and I decided to spend the weekend in Gainsville, Florida. (About a two hour drive from our home city in Orlando).
Kind of a random city to stop in if you are visiting Florida, but believe me it’s worth the time. Especially those who are into more outdoor activities like hiking, like our family!
We arrived in Gainsville around 8:30AM and landed in the Devil’s Millhoper Geolgical State Park. The trail head is unmanned by park staff, you will need to leave your $4 for parking/entrance fees in the “trailhead” evenvelope box at the entrance to the parking lot.
Walk towards the restrooms/state park ranger booth; the trailhead is directly behind the building. This is a very very short trail, just under a mile loop. Perfectly shaded and pretty cool even in these “summer” like temperatures. This trail is completely dog friendly too. The worst part though? Because of hurricane damage and lack of funding, the staircases down into the sinkhole were closed. But it still an absolutely breath taking trail.
This trail completely transports you to Tennessee hiking; with hills, bluffs and even waterfalls. If you are stopping near Gainsville, put this site on your bucket list! Check out their website here. Be sure to pack plenty of water and bug spray!
Just a PSA: Even on short trails like this (AND EVEN with cell phone signal), I ALWAYS carry my pack. I carry a small first aid kit, a water bladder, a pop-up bowl for Tinsel and plenty of sunscreen and bug spray. It’s better to be prepared, then not be prepared at all 😘😘
Our next stop was the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens (a 15 minute drive from Milhopper). We arrived around 9:45AM and the parking lot was virtually empty (ON A SATURDAY TOO). Another completely dog friendly activity! Check out their website here. Admission will cost you $8 for adults and $4 for children.
Pull into their shaded parking lot and walk right into the lobby. The State Park staff was so welcoming and SUPER dog friendly (they even had dog biscuits on their counter!). Walk right into the lobby to check in, pay admission and be sure to grab a map!
We started off wandering through a bamboo forest. Then walking our way into their exapansive herb garden. If you are bring your pup, be sure to stop in the herb garden. Tinsel was overwhelmed by all of the smells, textures and tastes. We wandered into the kids garden, a butterfly garden and even a cactus greenhouse. We spent about 3 hours in this park, we were so captivated by all of the different areas and gardens.
There are so many wonderful things to do in Gainsville, Florida > be sure to add this small town in Florida to your next trip. We fell in love with all of this town had to offer; from bamboo forests to captivating waterfalls.