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Make a holiday villa in Gainesville your home away from home

Literally surrounded by state parks, Gainesville holiday villas and apartments give tourists the opportunity to explore Florida beyond the more usual destinations of the coasts and the Everglades. Home to one of the largest colleges in the US, the University of Florida, Gainesville rentals central location means holidaymakers can find something interesting whichever direction they strike out in. Even staying close to Gainesville holiday accommodation means there are a host of local treasures to explore, from top-flight museums to eclectic nightlife and shopping. Almost all holiday rentals in Gainesville are family friendly, and come fully equipped with every modern luxury, including air-conditioning.

Things to do

-State Parks: Any Gainesville rental will be ringed by fascinating state parks, from the sinkhole at the Devil's Millhopper Geological to the nature activities at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Ichetucknee Springs. Nearby Ocala National Forest is a haven for wildlife, and the go-to destination for camping, hiking, biking and kayaking.

-Art: Punching way above its weight for a museum in Gainesville, the university affiliated Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art shows more than 6,200 permanent pieces in addition to temporary exhibits, and focuses on African, Asian, modern, contemporary, and photographic art.

-Nightlife: As might be expected in a large college town, a raucous night out is a definite possibility. Coupled with a very buoyant local music scene, guests will never be far from a knees-up. That said, there are quieter venues and fine dining restaurants to cater to more subdued tastes.

-Shopping: Gainesville's downtown area is a fine shopping area, especially on Wednesday afternoons during the farmers' market, where tourists can enjoy local crafts, produce, and live music. Also check out the 'shopping in a park' atmosphere of Thornebrook Village, the extensive Oaks Mall, and Tioga Town Centre for upscale shopping.

-Museums: The Florida Museum of Natural History is the official state-sponsored centre, and chronicles Florida's human cultural heritage and charts its biological, archaeological and ethnographic history. A fantastic range of exhibits greet the visitor, but the highlight has to be the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit: its butterflies hail from around the world, and are all hatched here at the facility.

Weather in Gainesville

Long, hot and wet summers typify Florida's subtropical climate, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms cooling things down, but adding to the humidity. It really doesn't get that hot, however, compared to inland locations further north, with temperatures usually maxing out in the low- to mid-30°C range. Winters are drier and milder, approximating average British summers, which goes a long way to explain Florida's year-round appeal as a holiday destination.

Travel to Gainesville

Jacksonville International is the nearest major airport at 80 miles away, though there are no direct flights to the UK or Europe. The best bets for a fly/drive are Orlando and Tampa at 122 and 137 miles away respectively. There is no train station, though there is a Greyhound station in addition to a local bus service. It's far better to have a hire car, however, because this is America after all: apart from exceptions like New York, America was designed for the automobile.

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