The joke around here is that all roads lead to Gainesville… and that’s kind of true.
Interstate 75 runs through Gainesville, as does US Highway 441, so it’s relatively easy to drive from anywhere in Florida. Which brings me to the other joke about Gainesville… that we’re two hours away from everything… and that’s also kind of true. We’re about 1.5 hours away from Jacksonville. Two from Orlando. Two to 2.5 from the Tampa/St. Pete area. So if you are flying, say, from a big city and don’t want to connect in Charlotte or Atlanta to jump a smaller plane to Gainesville’s airport, you can take a direct flight to Orlando, Tampa, or Jacksonville and drive over without too much fuss. You can take I75 directly from Tampa, you can take I4 to 75 from Jacksonville, or you can take the Turnpike to I75 from Orlando.
Gainesville does have an airport, as I mentioned above, and while it might not be the smallest airport I’ve ever… oh, wait, yes, it probably is the smallest. Of course I love it because it’s in my town and it’s certainly convenient (especially to where I live currently, as I live right down the road, and even after we move it’ll still be on the same side of town), some people may find they get a better plane ticket price flying into a larger city (especially if you can get a direct flight). Keep in mind, though, that if you do that you may be paying for parking for your car in the airport you’re flying out of, car rental here in Florida, and time on the road to and from the city you fly into/out of. So weigh your options on flights. If you’re planning on flying into Gainesville and don’t want to rent a car, too, please contact me — we may be able to arrange pickup for you at the airport (and a lift there when you are ready to leave).
I will be honest; Gainesville does not have a fantastic public transit system. Taxis are very expensive, for all that they don’t have to take you very far, and the city buses are more geared towards having students in mind, so not only to they cater to the middle of town where the University is, but getting from one side of town to the other (which takes 15 minutes by car, Gainesville is not very big) can take a couple of hours when you factor in three bus changes and the waiting for the next correct bus for your route. Also because of the students, Gainesville is a little tow-happy; while it’s easy to find parking, it’s also easy to find parking in a lot with restricted parking — many people don’t care, and will take their chances and park there anyway (especially downtown or near the University) and the tow companies aren’t too concerned with someone doing it deliberately vs. someone doing it by accident. Having said that, there are PLENTY of parking lots and areas available, some will just cost you $5 or $10 (my thought is usually that I don’t mind paying $5 if I’m guaranteed to find my car still there when I get back). There are two large parking lots within walking distance of the venue we’ve chosen for the party, and also a hotel and a few Bed & Breakfast inns within walking distance (I’ll be doing a post on those later) and also plenty of free parking at all of the places at which we’re having gatherings throughout the weekend, so please, don’t panic. I just wanted to make you aware!
And if you’re not a car person, drop me a line and let me know — we may be able to arrange some of our friends to pick you up on the way to events and gatherings. Don’t let not having a car keep you from all the fun!
That’s it, I think I’ve covered all the ways to get into town. We’re just about the only landlocked city in Florida, so you can’t take a boat here. You could walk, but in summer…. good golly, why would you?! Unless you have mad hiking skills. Gainesville is a reasonably bike-friendly town, so you could bicycle here, but again, since we’re not really close to any other cities, that would be a heck of a feat.
Feel free to comment here or email me if you have any questions, if there’s anything I left out! Thanks, y’all!