Destination guide

A Florida college town filled with culture

The roar of sports fans and the riffs of live music make up the soundtrack in Gainesville, one of the liveliest college towns in the Sunshine State. It’s home to the University of Florida, and the student population gives the town its laid-back, live-for-the-moment feel. While there’s buzzing nightlife to get stuck into, not to mention cultural attractions to stimulate the intellect, the area is also known for its serene, natural beauty, and opportunities to spot wildlife. Gainesville vacation rentals, which include spacious family homes with hardwood floors and antique furnishings, will make you feel right at home, no matter how long you’re staying.

Things to do

Art and culture in Gainesville

Gainesville vacation rentals always place you within strolling distance of major cultural attractions. One of these is the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, which proves you don’t have to go to a major city to feast your eyes on serious masterpieces. You’ll find works from Africa and Asia here, as well as iconic images from names like Ansel Adams, William Hogarth, and Claude Monet. Meanwhile, the Florida Museum of Natural History features fossils and bones as well as a Butterfly Rainforest and a special Discovery Zone where children can get their paws on interactive activities.


Getting out and about in Gainesville

While it may be tempting to spend a lot of time just relaxing in your Gainesville vacation rental, there’s so much to lure you out and about this part of Florida. There’s Gainesville’s downtown district, a quaint warren of independent shops and bustling eateries, where you wander the tree-lined streets and snack on artisan pastries. Football fans should catch a game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, which is dubbed the Swamp and is home to the Florida Gators. If peace and quiet is what you’re after, head to the Morningside Nature Center to see turtles, deer, and countless birds, and visit a living history farm evoking life in the 19th century.


Spring and fall in Gainesville

Things can get mighty hot in summer, so if you prefer more moderate temperatures, head over in the spring or fall. Spring is particularly enjoyable, thanks to the vivid azalea blooms, clear blue skies, and big events that bring the community together, including the Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival. Fall, meanwhile, lets you wander the forests and take in the attractive golden hues of the season, and – if you’re here at the right time – catch live shows and public performances at the Downtown Festival and Art Show.

Natural features

Exploring the Florida wilds near Gainesville

Gainesville may have plenty of urban pleasures, but it’s also nestled amid grand, natural landmarks. Newmans Lake lies just to the east, while south of the city center sits Sweetwater Wetlands Park, which has over 125 acres of ponds and wetlands – a rich, fertile habitat where colorful birds and butterflies, not to mention fearsome alligators, call home. The trails and boardwalks make this a hiker’s paradise. Meanwhile, to the north, you can also visit Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, with its fragrant pine forests.

How to get there

How to get to and around Gainesville

Fly into Gainesville, FL (GNV-Gainesville Regional), the closest airport, located 3.7 mi (6 km) from the city center. If you can't find a flight that's convenient for your trip, you could book a flight to Ocala, FL (OCF-Ocala Intl.), which is 33.8 mi (54.3 km) away.

Where to stay around Gainesville?

Our 2019 property listings offer a large selection of 140 vacation rentals near Gainesville. From 68 Houses to 13 Cabins, find a unique house rental for you to enjoy a memorable stay with your family and friends. The best places to stay near Gainesville for a holiday or a weekend are on HomeAway.

What are the popular points of interest near where I can stay when traveling to Gainesville?

HomeAway offers a large selection of vacation rentals near lovely places in Gainesville. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular points of interest to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend are:

  • University of Florida: 142 vacation rentals
  • North Florida Regional Medical Center: 122 vacation rentals
  • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (The Swamp): 141 vacation rentals
  • Kanapaha Botanical Gardens: 130 vacation rentals
  • Shands at the University of Florida: 141 vacation rentals

But there are many other points of interest around Gainesville listed on HomeAway where you can find your place to stay. Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available near the point of interest of your choice.

Can I rent Houses in Gainesville?

Yes, of course. HomeAway has 68 Houses in Gainesville. Our other popular types of vacation rentals in Gainesville include:

  • Cabins: 13 rentals available
  • Condos/Apartments: 37 rentals available
  • Cottages: 13 rentals available

But you can also enjoy a great stay in one of our other vacation rentals including Bungalows and more.

Can I find a vacation rental with pool in Gainesville?

Yes, you can select your preferred vacation rental with pool among our 32 vacation rentals with pool available in Gainesville. Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.