Alachua is a small, close-knit community about 20 minutes northwest of Gainesville. The city derives its name from the Indian word for “sink,” and has a rich history that can be traced back to Spanish explorers. There are two animal hospitals in Alachua to serve the needs of its resident and visiting critters.
Daily physical activity is key to your best friend's well-being, and furtunately, Alachua is home to a number of parks where your pooch can go for walkies. One of these is Maude Lewis Park, a typical neighborhood park with a playground, picnic shelter, and basketball court.
Another spot is the J.N. Preacher Copeland Park, which offers the same amenities, plus an athletic field and nature trail. Following the trail will lead you and your pupper through the woods and to a pond overlook.
If you and Fido are spending a few days in town, Alachua has a few pet-friendly hotels that you can temporarily call home, including the Quality Inn just off Interstate 75 and Highway 441. This bargain hotel welcomes up to two pets for an additional fee, and has a courtyard area where you can walk your pup. Contact the hotel beforehand to make sure you get a Fido-friendly room.
See why Alachua is called “the good life community” when you visit with your doggo!
The Alan Hitchcock Theatre Park on Main Street is a unique spot that shouldn't be missed! Nestled among shops and restaurants, this park is set inside an abandoned building, giving off a vibe that's both mysterious and charming. Don't forget to bring your camera and take photos of your pooch! This offbeat site attracts weddings, artists, and shoppers looking to rest their tired feet. After checking out the Alan Hitchcock Theatre Park, cross the street to the Main Street Pie Co. to grab a bite to eat. This pizzeria serves stone oven pizza that you can enjoy at an outdoor table with your best friend by your side.
This neighborhood houses some dog-friendly eateries where you can enjoy a good meal with Fido in tow. One option is Mi Apa Latin Cafe, which specializes in Cuban food and coffee. There are a few pup-friendly outdoor tables out front, so order up and dig in. If you're in the mood for something cold, Frosty Jack's Frozen Yogurt is just a stone's throw from Mi Apa. Frosty Jack's offers different flavors of frozen yogurt, Italian ice, and sorbet, as well as a large assortment of toppings. Share your sweet treat with your doggo on one of the outdoor benches in front of the store.
Is your pup up for a camping trip? Then park your RV at the Travelers Campground! Situated on shaded grounds with rolling hills, this pet-friendly RV park features about 150 full hookup and pull-thru sites. Other amenities include 20/30/50 amp service, phone hookups, a laundry room, swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, and free cable. There's even an on-site ATM and store if you need to get anything. To keep four-legged guests happy and healthy, the Travelers Campground also includes an off-leash dog park. The dog park contains agility equipment and lots of room to run around, so Fido will definitely be tired and sleeping like a log when you return to your RV.
The San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park is one of the few remaining mature forests in the state. Covering 7,360 acres, this site encompasses climax mesic hammocks, limestone outcrops, sinkholes, steephead springs, and other interesting features. San Felasco is home to miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails, and Fido is permitted to join you on the hiking trails. To access the trailhead, head to Millhopper Road in Gainesville, about 8 miles southeast of Alachua. The distances of the nature trails range from 0.9 to 5.6 miles, accommodating hikers of different skill levels. Dogs can use the trails provided they remain on a 6-foot leash.
Take your adventurous pup to the Mill Creek Preserve right in Alachua for a day in the Florida outdoors! This 1,200-acre site offers nearly 5 miles of trails that will take you and Fido among spruce pines, swamp chestnut oaks, and beech. The abundance of trees means that the preserve never gets too hot, so you can still stop by on warmer days. Visitors say the trails are well-marked and well-maintained, making the hikes pleasant and easy. Doggos are welcome on the trails as long as they are leashed and cleaned up after. Remember to bring enough food and water for you and your pooch, and pack out whatever you pack in!