Need help planning your outing? Call us at (352) 373-4535
We can give you personalized recommendations based on lifestyle and experience for Gainesville attractions. Be sure to check out Visit Gainesville for more recommendations. There you will be able to find special event dates and temporary local attractions. You can also join our newsletter to learn more about local events and happenings at The Laurel Oak Inn. We send out secret recipes, promotions, and so much more! You will also get to know us, the Innkeepers, a little bit beyond our story.
The University of Florida boasts the world’s largest occupied bat house! In it, you can find several different species of bats, but most prominently the Brazilian free-tailed bat. Visit around sunset and you’ll see all of the bats emerge at once right above your head!
One of the newest additions to the Gainesville community is the Cade Museum where you’ll be challenged to think as inventors and engineers. There are several hands-on exhibits including the Sweat Solution (which tells the story of the creation of Gatorade) and the Robot Zoo. Be sure to come by on Saturdays, when you can stop by and meet a new inventor every week!
Located right next to the Cade Museum (and just a couple minutes away from us) Depot Park is the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors for a while. They have a play area for kids, a beautiful lake in the middle perfect for a morning run or bike ride, and even an area to grab something from the general store or wine & beer garden. If you like to run, be sure to catch their weekly 5km run every Saturday at 7:30 am!
874 SE 4 St, Gainesville, FL 32601
Known as “the little town that time forgot” Micanopy is the best place to come as an example of how Old Florida used to be. Its biggest claim to fame is the title of being the “antiquing mecca”, so if you’re looking for antiques this is a must-see!
Florida Museum of Natural History
The Florida Museum of Natural History is located right next to the Harn Museum of Art and is one of the nation’s top five natural history museums. Its main exhibit is constantly changing, but you can always count on visiting the butterfly rainforest!
3215 Hull Rd, Gainesville, FL 32611
Harn Museum of Art
Free and open to the public, the Harn Museum showcases an ever-changing collection that spans from Asia to Africa and everywhere in between. The Harn offers free tours so you can learn the most about each exhibit, or feel free to give yourself a self-guided tour to move at your own pace.
3259 Hull Rd, Gainesville, FL 32611
Hawthorne State Trail
The Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail is a 16-mile paved trail perfect for a relaxing bike ride. It starts a couple of miles from the Inn and very picturesque with diverse scenery running alongside. Make sure to bring water!
3400 SE 15 Street Gainesville, FL 32641
If you’re interested in theatre and film, this is the place for you! Everything you see here is sure to be unique, from screenings of indie and cult classics to performances of plays you’ve likely never seen (or heard of) before. This is the perfect place to come before grabbing dinner downtown!
25 SE 2nd Pl, Gainesville, FL 32601
Interested in the history of Gainesville? Come to the Matheson House built in 1867 that exhibits the history of Florida and Alachua County! The museum has a collection of thousands of photographs and postcards of Gainesville and the surrounding area from as early as the late 19th century that’ll give you a new perspective of the city we call home.
513 E University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601
Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo
Home to over 75 different species, the Sante Fe teaching zoo is a great place to spend the day. The zoo’s trail is only 1⁄4 mile so it’s great for people of all ages. Here you can learn about species native to Florida, as well as exotic species like Asian small-clawed otters and kangaroos!
3000 NW 83rd Street, Building Z, Gainesville, FL 32606
Sweetwater Wetlands Park
Sweetwater Wetlands Park is a manmade wetland habitat with birds, crocodiles, boardwalk nature trails & ranger-led tours. Truly experience Florida wildlife while remaining in Gainesville.
325 SW Williston Rd Gainesville, FL 32601
Feeling adventurous? Make a trip to Payne’s Prairie and walk or cycle one of their eight trails. Also, be sure to check out Lake Wauburg where you can paddle, canoe, fish and everything in between. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled because the prairie is known for its wildlife, like deer, native birds, wild horses, bison and of course, gators.
100 Savannah Blvd, Micanopy, FL 32667
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park
The San Felasco Hammock Preserve is one of the only mature forests remaining in Florida. Whether you want to hike, bike, or horseback down one of their several trails there’s something to do for everyone. It’s known for its rare and unusual plants as well as its diverse wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled!
12720 NW 109, Lane Alachua, FL 32615