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Cities Near Gainesville FL 📍– Explore Cities & Towns Near Gainesville to Visit or Live: Facts, Distance, & More

Last Updated on: 4th January 2023, 08:59 pm

If you’re thinking about moving to Gainesville or visiting the surrounding area, you’ll find a lot of interesting places to see or live. Gainesville is located in Alachua County in northern Florida. Gainesville’s population is 140,000 people and the city is home to the University of Florida, a beautiful, sprawling campus with over 50,000 students. UF is the fourth-largest public university campus by enrollment in the United States.

Gainesville is brimming with culture and is home to the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Harn Museum of Art, and the Matheson History Museum. Gainesville hosts two large art festivals every year, drawing artists and visitors from all over the southeastern United States. The University of Florida College of the Arts contributes to the culturally rich town with the School of Music, School of Theatre and Dance, and School of Art and Art History.

Gainesville also has a rich music and sports scene. Famous musicians, including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stephen Stills, and Bernie Leadon of The Eagles, all came out of Gainesville. The Florida Gators compete in the Southeastern Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and have won 45 national team championships as of 2022, including two men’s basketball titles, three football titles, one women’s soccer title, one baseball title, four gymnastics titles, two softball titles, four men’s golf titles, and seven women’s tennis titles. Gainesville is an exciting place to live!

Largest Cities Near Gainesville, FL

There are 4 cities within 25 miles of Gainesville, FL that have a population of at least 3,000 people. Each city is unique with outdoor activities, recreation, and interesting things to see and do. Here are the largest cities near Gainesville, FL, listed from largest to smallest.

Alachua, FL – 9.2 miles from Gainesville


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  • Population – 10,712
  • County – Alachua

Out of the closest cities to Gainesville is Alachua and it’s the largest. Alachua covers about 36 square miles and is northeast of Gainesville. Alachua is known for its small-town charm and cultural diversity. You’ll find plenty of pristine nature and outdoor activities at the San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park, with many mountain bike trails, Mill Creek Preserve, and Santa Fe River Preserve. The Legacy Park and Hal Brady Recreation complexes offer plenty of sports, recreation, and fun for the whole family. Downtown, stroll along Alachua’s historic Main Street. Alachua has a growing business sector with many local businesses and is one of the Southeast’s largest bio and life science sectors. Alachua is also home to several Fortune 500 companies. Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation is home to a variety of native and exotic animals that have been injured, orphaned, or abandoned, and is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitation. Find out more about why living in Alachua is great.

Newberry, Fl – 17.0 miles from Gainesville

  • Population – 7,662
  • County – Alachua

Newberry is located west of Gainesville, with an area of 59.9 square miles. Newberry started as a mining town in the 1880s and grew into a trading center after the Savannah, Florida, and Western Railway was extended to Newberry in 1893. An agricultural town, Newberry is known for its Watermelon Festival held every year. Newberry boasts Champions Park of Newberry and the Easton-Newberry Sports Complex for recreation and outdoor activities. With six state-of-the-art fields, Champions Park of Newberry is one of the premier baseball & softball tournament complexes in the United States and attracts over 30,000 visitors annually for games and tournaments, The Easton Newberry Sports Complex’s Easton Foundation Archery Center is home to one of only 10 programs in the country that trains athletes and coaches for the United States Olympic Committee. Check out our guide to living in Newberry for more information.

Starke, FL – 25.7 miles from Gainesville

  • Population – 5,822
  • County – Bradford

Starke is the third largest city near Gainesville and is situated north and slightly east of Gainesville right on U.S. Route 301 on the way from Gainesville to Jacksonville, FL. The city of Starke has a total area of 7.2 square miles. Camp Blanding, Florida’s National Guard base and training center, is 8 miles to the east of Starke. Ten miles north of the city is where Florida State Prison, Union Correctional Institution, and New River East Correctional Institution are located. Notable sites in Starke include the Call Street Historic District, a downtown area full of locally-owned restaurants, antique shops, a jewelry store, and a movie theater. The Bradford County Strawberry Festival is an annual two-day festival celebrating the importance of the strawberry crop in the community. Thousands of visitors come every year for the celebration. Find out about Bradford county’s history at the Eugene L. Matthews Historical Museum or visit the Romanesque-style Andrews Center on the campus of Santa Fe College. Built in 1902, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Florida Twin Theatre is one of the oldest movie theaters in north Florida, having opened its doors in 1941.

Williston, FL – 21.6 miles from Gainesville

  • Population – 3,064
  • County – Levy

Williston is a typical small town near Gainesville, surrounded by lush wilderness. The city was established before 1885 by J.M. Willis. Williston is located 21.6 miles south of Gainesville and has an area of 6.8 square miles. Local industries include forestry, manufacturing, and farming. You’ll find many horse farms in the surrounding area as well. Every October, Williston hosts the Central Florida Peanut Festival, a cultural and historical event celebrating the peanut. Williston is home to Devil’s Den and Blue Grotto, two popular cave diving spots that are part of an extensive underground spring system in the area. The clear water is ideal for divers of all skill levels to explore the caverns with unique fossils and colorful aquatic life. The Kirby Family Farm features a narrow-gauge railway known as the Great America Railway that they claim is Florida’s largest private railroad. Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens, set in a 100-year-old lime rock quarry, is a stunning botanical garden with waterfalls, bridges, and pristine landscapes.

Other Cities in Gainesville, FL

It’s hard not to look at the many rural areas dotted with charming small surrounding cities of Gainesville and want to explore them all. With populations between 600 and 3,000, and four of the most interesting towns can be found within a 15-miles radius of Gainesville. Micanopy is the oldest community in the interior of Florida, has a historic downtown listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and hosts an annual fall festival every year. Hawthorne is home to Lindsey Phillips Park, featuring a boat ramp, fishing pier, playground, and picnic facilities. The 11,000-acre Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area is just south of the city, providing hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, canoeing, and boating for the whole family. Hawthorne Youth Sports offers baseball, softball, t-ball, tackle football, soccer, basketball, and cheerleading for kids. Bo Diddley, a rock & roll legend, hails from Archer, FL.

Cities and Towns Near Gainesville (600 to 3,000 population)

County Population (2020) Distance from Gainesville
Hawthorne Alachua 1,491 10 miles
Archer Alachua 1,152 15 miles
Waldo Alachua 840 14 miles
Micanopy Alachua 647 12 miles

Map of Cities Near Gainesville and Surrounding Area

Small Cities & Towns Near Gainesville, FL

You can find six small towns with populations of under 600 people near Gainesville, FL that offer a quiet, rural lifestyle. These towns have changed little over the years and are reminders of what Florida was like 50 to 100 years ago. McIntosh is one of the smallest cities in Gainesville and is like a step back in time. It’s a small Victorian town with shady oak trees that hasn’t changed much since the 1930s. The McIntosh Historic District lists 68 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In Hampton, Florida, you’ll find lots of wide open space and cotton and strawberry farms. La Crosse is known as the “Potato District” and has a thriving farm industry that includes potatoes, corn, vegetables, tobacco, and livestock.

Here are the 6 small towns near Gainesville. These towns in Gainesville have a population below 600 and are all within 25 miles of the Gainesville city center.

Cities and Towns Near Gainesville (less than 600 population)

County Population (2020) Distance from Gainesville
Mcintosh Marion 479 18 miles
East Williston Levy 460 22 miles
Hampton Bradford 444 20 miles
Worthington Springs Union 373 21 miles
Brooker Bradford 325 18 miles
La Crosse Alachua 317 15 miles


Major Cities Near Gainesville, FL

Gainesville is by far the largest city in Alachua County and the surrounding area, but a short drive away are other major cities in Florida that are worth checking out when you’re in the area. Take a day trip or plan a weekend getaway. Some of the closest major cities around Gainesville, Florida are only an hour or two drive away, and others are in other regions of the state. Here are the major cities close to Gainesville, FL in the Southeast.

Major Cities Near Gainesville, FL

Population Distance from Gainesville
Jacksonville, FL 954,614 71 miles
Orlando, FL 309,154 113 miles
Tampa, FL 387,050 130 miles
Tallahassee, FL 197,102 149 miles
Clearwater, FL 116,674 151 miles
St Petersburg, FL 258,201 154 miles
Savannah, GA 147,088 207 miles
West Palm Beach, FL 117,286 271 miles
Coral Springs, FL 132,822 305 miles
Charleston, SC 151,612 307 miles
Fort Lauderdale, FL 181,668 311 miles
Atlanta, GA 496,461 331 miles
Miami, FL 439,890 336 miles
Montgomery, AL 198,665 353 miles
Charlotte, NC 879,709 452 miles
Raleigh, NC 469,124 522 miles
New Orleans, LA 376,971 532 miles
Nashville, TN 703,953 579 miles
Memphis, TN 628,127 651 miles

Gainesville, FL Area Cities FAQs

What are the closest cities to Gainesville, FL?

The closest cities to Gainesville, FL are Alachua, FL, which is only 9 miles northwest, and Hawthorne, FL, about 10 miles east of Gainesville.

What major cities are near Gainesville, FL?

The two major cities closest to Gainesville, FL are Jacksonville, FL (71 mi), and Orlando, FL (113 mi). Both are less than two hours away by car.

What cities (or towns) are 1 hour from Gainesville, FL?

Lake City, FL (53 minutes), Ocala, FL (44 minutes), Silver Springs, FL (50 minutes), Belleview, FL (59 minutes, Middleburg, FL (60 minutes), East Palatka, FL (59 minutes), Hernando, FL (69 minutes), MacClenny, FL (68 minutes), and Palatka, FL (56 minutes) are all about a 1-hour drive from Gainesville, Jacksonville. FL is the nearest big city, about 1 hour and 19 minutes from Gainesville, FL.

What cities (or towns) are 30 minutes from Gainesville, FL?

The nearest cities to Gainesville, include Fort White, FL, Trenton, FL, Williford, FL, Ellisville, FL, and Fort McCoy, FL.

Gainesville is a lively, exciting college town with many things to see and do. The surrounding area has many small cities and towns just a short drive away where you’ll find local restaurants, historic buildings, and fun outdoor activities for you and your family. A benefit of moving to the Gainesville area is that there are so many new and different places to explore. If you are planning to relocate to Gainesville or one of the many towns or cities surrounding it, call 2 College Brothers a call at 352-448-9095 for a free moving quote from our 5-star movers!


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