There are many good reasons to live in Gainesville, among them the University of Florida, access to business, research and medical resources, and the always-evolving city itself. But, one of north central Florida’s main draws is its natural resources. Four National Natural Landmarks surround the Gainesville area — a bonus reason to consider a new custom Florida home here if you enjoy the outdoors.
Another great reason is Oakmont — Gainesville’s premier master-planned community. It’s on the city’s booming southwest side, where you’ll find Gainesville’s top builders at work. Oakmont’s resident amenities are topnotch, with a fitness center, resort-style swimming pool, basketball court and event lawn anchored by a Residents Club roomy enough for any social gatherings. A lifestyle director keeps the fun going with weekly, monthly and annual events.
But, if it’s outdoor recreation you crave, Oakmont has you covered. Here’s a look those four National Natural Landmarks near Oakmont.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
It’s one of many freshwater springs in north central Florida, a state park since 1970, and a National Natural Landmark since 1971.
Springs are abundant here because this region sits above the Florida Aquifer, the state’s underground limestone system that processes its water supply and surfaces as clear, 72-degree springs.
Ichetucknee offers three trails for hikers — it’s also on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail — but water sports reign. The park also is a rare inland site for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Paynes Prairie State Preserve Park
This is a biggie — 23,000 acres — only a half hour and 17 miles east of Oakmont. It became a National Natural Landmark in 1974 and was Florida’s first state preserve.
Paynes Prairie always provides something to see, flooding during wet periods and drying out afterwards. More than 30 miles of hiking trails will get you moving. Bike the paved 16-mile, Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail that runs through Paynes Prairie, or go fishing or camping.
San Felasco Hammock in San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park
This National Natural Landmark is in Alachua, north of Gainesville. It’s a unique geographic feature inside the greater state park. The San Felasco Hammock is famous for its old-growth forests and was named a National Natural Landmark in 1974.
The park also is notable for limestone outcroppings and variable terrain. Equestrian, biking and hiking trails course throughout this nearly 7,400-acre tract, which is known for its mountain biking. Two annual events — the Tour de Felasco bike ride and the Gate2Gate Trail Run — are perennially popular.
Silver Springs State Park
Silver Springs State Park is most famous as Florida’s first attraction. It became a National Natural Landmark in 1971 and is known for its glass-bottomed boats, which spotlight aquatic beauty below the surface.
It’s located east of Ocala, Gainesville’s southern neighbor city. Prefer to explore Silver Springs in a personal watercraft? Bring yours or rent from the on-site outfitter. Guides are available too.
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