15 Best Things to Do in High Springs (FL)

The town of High Springs is located in Alachua County in north central Florida, just north of Gainesville.

It’s best known for its refreshing springs that rise to the surface and maintain a temperature of just 72 degrees year-round, even if the temperature and humidity make things almost unbearable.

Visitors to High Springs have access to a variety of popular state parks that offer a wealth of natural surroundings and amenities for travelers who love the outdoors, as well as many affordable dining and lodging options nearby.

Here are 15 things to do in and around Ocean Springs, Florida.

1. High Spring Museum

High Spring Museum

Visitors to High Springs for the first time wanting a unique insight into the town’s history may be worse off than spending an hour at the High Springs Museum.

Its location on NW 187th Avenue behind City Hall, adjacent to the town’s historic schoolhouse, is also worth checking out.

The museum’s exhibits focus on the era of settlement, the local economy and culture, and the Native Americans who called the area home long before the city was officially founded.

The museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays, and admission is free, so turn around and check it out.

2. The Great Outdoors Restaurant

Great outdoor restaurant

Located on Main Street downtown, The Great Outdoors is known for its charming decor, carefully selected steaks, fresh seafood and mouthwatering desserts.

The restaurant has consistently won awards for the past decade, ranking among the top restaurants of its kind in the state. While it may not be for those looking to feed their family on the cheap, it’s the perfect place to enjoy romantic evenings and great food unlike anywhere else in town.

Most items are freshly made on-site, and there are plenty of light options like soups and salads for those counting calories.

3. Ichetacney Springs State Park

Ichetacney Springs State Park

No matter where you find yourself in the Sunshine State, you’re probably not far from a state park or two.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park is a mecca for fit and active types of outdoor activities and offers a variety of recreational options including tubing, swimming, snorkeling and mountain biking.

The park is located near the confluence of the Santa Fe River and Ichetucknee Springs and became an official Natural Landmark in the early 1970s.

From May to September, the rivers in the park are often full of tubers, swimmers and anglers. Whether you decide to observe things from the water or from land, you are likely to encounter a variety of natural habitats and the animals that inhabit them.

4. Bike Florida

bike florida

With plenty of sunshine and moderate year-round temperatures, Florida is an outdoor lover’s paradise. With so many unfortunate souls tied up in their homes in the Northeast and Midwest, the heat is on, and Floridians are enjoying the great outdoors.

Bike Florida is a local nonprofit dedicated to promoting activity and fitness. Their main annual event is a week-long cycling extravaganza in the spring.

The event includes safety classes, guided tours and many opportunities for self-exploration. The trail stretches over 200 miles along the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop and is suitable for people of all ages. Check out their website for upcoming events.

5. Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park

Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park

Just a few miles from downtown High Springs, Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park spans over 200 acres and has been owned and operated by the same local family for over seven decades.

Bordered by the Santa Fe River, the park features a boardwalk and is the perfect vantage point for a view of the crisp, clear spring water.

The water remains a refreshing 72 degrees year-round, perfect for a dip in the sun’s hottest afternoons. There are many easy-to-walk nature trails, covered picnic areas and built-in barbecue grills for those looking to spend the day.

6. Travellers Campground

Traveller's Camp

The weather in Florida is perfect for camping most of the year, and for kids who never spend the night in a tent, campsites are a great place to hang up your hats while saving some money and leaving the possibility Memories will last a lifetime.

Traveler’s Campground is located on April Avenue in Aracula, and previous guests have noted that it is clean, orderly, generally well managed, and has all the amenities they would expect.

Daily, weekly and monthly rates are available and most sites include electricity and water. There are plenty of restrooms, showers and a tourist shop with food, toiletries and camping supplies like propane and ice.

7. High Spring Theater

High Spring Theater

Community theaters are a true traveler’s gem and tend to be overlooked as more commercial attractions, but they are inexpensive family-friendly forms of entertainment that should be utilized whenever possible.

High Springs Playhouse recently celebrated its 27th consecutive season, and their schedule is full of dramatic productions, including suspenseful murder mysteries and new twists on old classics like William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Tickets can be purchased individually or for an entire six-show season, the latter option offering theater lovers the most flexibility and a huge payoff for their hard-earned travel and entertainment bills.

8. High Springs Brewing Company

Ocean Springs Brewing Company

Florida sunshine and fresh air can drain the gas tank of many busy travelers. For those who find themselves in need of a little liquid food, there’s no better place to spend a few hours in the afternoon or evening than High Springs Brewing Company.

This brewing company features many different styles of beer brewed on-site and is known for its friendly staff and cozy atmosphere.

Local food trucks often take up temporary residence on the lot, offering visitors a variety of delicious street food. There is also live entertainment on some evenings and an outdoor seating area suitable for the evening.

9. Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation

Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation

The Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation is a unique facility dedicated to rescuing injured or abandoned exotic animals.

While it’s a bit like a zoo, the Conservation Foundation is more of an animal emergency room and nursing home, and it’s open to the public for private and group tours.

Located at 225 East County Road in Gainesville, in addition to rescue missions, the crew is dedicated to education and offers a variety of programs for schoolchildren.

Tours must be booked in advance, so give them a call and let them know when you are coming before making a special tour.

10. Cade Museum of Creativity and Invention

Cade Museum of Creativity and Invention

Although many of the exhibits and activities at the Cade Museum of Creativity and Invention are designed for kids, adults are usually a lot of fun too.

The museum’s founders envisioned a unique facility to promote things that are often overlooked in schools, such as creativity, problem-solving and entrepreneurship. Although it has only been open for a few years, it has already attracted quite a loyal following.

Regularly scheduled field trips introduce children to local business owners, scientists and inventors and engage them in stimulating activities they might not otherwise be able to.

11. Lubee Bat Sanctuary

Lube Bat Sanctuary

To be honest, most people find bats creepy, and while they are often nightmares, they are fascinating animals that play a vital role in promoting healthy ecosystems around the world.

Located on NW 192nd Avenue in Gainesville, the Lubee Bat Conservancy is a unique attraction that often far exceeds visitor expectations.

The reserve is home to numerous bat species, and staff work to educate the public about the importance of these radar-equipped nocturnal flying mammals. Guided tours are the best way to experience the facility.

They also host the Florida Bat Festival held every October.

12. Florida Museum of Natural History

Florida Museum of Natural History

The University of Florida in Gainesville is an action-packed attraction, making it the perfect day trip option for those staying in High Springs.

From nationally ranked sports programs to arts, culture and historical attractions, the university is full of fun ways to spend the day, and the Florida Museum of Natural History is one of its most visited attractions.

The museum houses an impressive collection of exhibits and artifacts covering animals, the environment, Native Americans, and science.

While there is no admission fee to visit the museum’s permanent exhibits, there may be a small fee for temporary exhibits and the ever-popular Butterfly Rainforest.

13. Oleno State Park

Oleno State Park

Oleno State Park is one of the oldest parks of its kind in Florida, and many of its facilities were developed and built by workers working for the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

Nestled along the scenic Santa Fe River, the park consists of a variety of habitats, including hardwood forests, swamps, sand dunes, and even a pristine sinkhole.

Just a short drive from High Springs, the park tends to attract outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers and amateur photographers.

Cycling and hiking are also popular park activities, and while the park often draws crowds during peak hours, it’s large enough that it doesn’t usually feel overcrowded.

14. Kaanapaha Botanical Gardens

Kaanapaha Botanical Gardens

Located on SW 58th Drive, the Kanapaha Botanic Gardens, with its many themed growing areas including bamboo, herbs and orchids, is a popular local attraction and is often likened to an oasis in a bustling college town.

While they are beautiful all year round, the gardens are especially charming in the spring, when many flowers are in bloom.

Generally speaking, March is a safe bet and is the annual Spring Garden Festival. The gardens are connected by clearly marked paths and include informative signs describing what you see. The entrance fee is quite cheap.

15. Samuel P. Hahn Art Museum

Samuel P. Hahn Art Museum, Gainesville

Like the aforementioned Florida Museum of Natural History, the Samuel P. Hahn Museum of Art is located on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville.

The museum’s collection includes nearly 10,000 works in a variety of media from around the world, and regularly exhibits works from other institutions and private collections.

Admission and guided tours are free, and those willing to present themselves at their own pace can do so for free.

The grounds surrounding the museum include a Japanese-inspired rock garden, numerous sculptures and covered seating areas, which are peaceful places to relax with a cold drink out of the sun.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Ocean Springs, FL (FL)
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