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Weekend Getaways Near Gainesville

During a time of uncertainty and unpredictability, it’s easy to fall into the laziness trap. In other words, during this pandemic, it’s common for people to feel down on themselves. Some begin the pattern of staying in bed for hours too long while also losing track of how many episodes of Netflix they’ve consumed. In my opinion, the hardest part is staying put in one place. After quarantine in my house for months on end, all I wanted was to go back to Gainesville. However, as much as I am thrilled to be back in the 352, it can grow difficult to remain in one town for an extended period of time. Luckily, Gainesville is located in a state filled with plenty of tourist attractions. As much as it seems easier to just hang out around school, making small weekend getaways can definitely improve your college semester. Here are a few places definitely worth the drive.

Amelia Island

Only an hour and a half away from Gainesville, Amelia Island makes for the perfect weekend vacation. Who doesn’t love a small town with a beautiful beach? All you need is a method of transportation and a bottle of sunscreen to enjoy a quick stay at this island. After a stressful week of exams, this trip could be the perfect study break you didn’t know you needed.

Disney World/Disney Springs

If you grew up wishing you were the kid who got to draw the Disney logo with a magic wand during commercials like me, then you probably are still a kid at heart who can’t resist a trip to Disney World. As much as Disney World is known for its unique contraptions, magnificent characters and thrill-seeking rides, Disney Springs is such a hidden gem. Filled with many delicious restaurants and scenic stores to choose from, exploring Disney Springs on a trip to Orlando is the perfect break.

Universal Studios

Speaking of rides, Universal Studios should definitely be next on your weekend getaway bucket list. If you love a good stomach-dropping rollercoaster like me, sitting front row on the Hulk is an absolute must because nothing quite compares to that out-of-nowhere lunge forward. Aside from the roller coasters and other rides, Universal is known for CityWalk, which is an area filled with shops, restaurants and family sites. If you aren’t a big ride-goer, then CityWalk is the tourist attraction for you.


In general, the city of Tampa is a must-see. A personal favorite stop in Tampa for me is Amalie Arena, where many well-known performers come for concerts. Once, I took a quick pit stop here to see the Chainsmokers, which is something I will never forget.

If you are looking for a way to de-stress and enjoy yourself, any of these short-distance trips will make for the perfect weekend getaway.


Jolie Freedman is a Sophomore at the University of Florida and is from Melville, New York. Jolie is working towards achieving a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with an outside concentration in marketing. Jolie has a passion for storytelling and digital media, and she places a heavy emphasis on the importance of social media. Jolie is also a campus trendsetter for Her Campus Media and an ambassador for the College of Journalism and Communications. Aside from her journalistic involvement, Jolie enjoys skiing and art. Jolie's inspiration to join the Her Campus community stems from her involvement as the Print Manager and Staff Writer/Editor for her high school's newspaper.
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