Gainesville, Florida is a small southern college town. Its size doubles when the University of Florida is in session, and, doubles again on football weekends. It is more lung than anything else. For proof and atmosphere, attend any one of the home football games. More than 85,000 sports fans of the so called Gator Nation rock the Richter scale recording in the Geology Department. For more local colour, on Thursday nights, attend one of the home-town high school football games, or, just sit back in one of the terrace restaurants in the city centre. Listen to the marching bands, the play-by-play, and the crowd’s roar on warm evening breezes while eating soul food and drinking a Cuba Libre. This time of year, it is still hot. During the day, climb to the bottom of the Devil’s Millhopper sinkhole, where the temperature, 75 feet below the surface, is not less than 10 degrees cooler. Then, take a dip in the crystal clear, spring-fed waters of the Ichetucknee River. If you want to see a real alligator, canoe into Newnans Lake or down the backwoods River Styx. If you’re brave, follow a hiking trail into Payne’s Prairie, a pristine savanna formed in 1886 when a sinkhole gulped down a vast lake in a matter of days. Just remember to keep you feet on solid ground; and, if chased, run a circle — an alligator can’t.
Devil's Millhopper - www.floridastateparks.org/devilsmillhopper/
Ichetucknee River - www.floridastateparks.org/ichetuckneesprings/
Payne's Prairie - www.floridastateparks.org/paynesprairie/
Florida Gators (remember people sometimes bite) - www.gatorzone.com/
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