College, Events, Family, Friendship, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Wedding

April 29, 2017. Another bright and sunny day where two became one. When I was originally approached by a good friend of mine to take some photos for his friends, I wasn’t sure what to think, but I’m glad I took the offer! Getting to witness the excitement of friends and family of this compassionate couple was absolutely priceless. Here’s to you Brason and Jolene, here’s to being #EternallyEnglish!



100+ Dates in the Gator Nation (A Gainesville Bucket List)

College, Events, Food, Friendship, Gainesville, Life, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Reviews, Sports, Travel, Trips, University of Florida

100+ Dates in the Gator Nation

Updated: 7/14/2016


Ever stuck wondering what you (and your special someone) want to do while in Gainesville? To an outsider, Gainesville might just look like a humid swamp of a city (in some ways it is), but there’s much more than what meets the eye. You can call this a list of dates (for you and your significant other), or an epic bucket list (like I do:P), but no matter what you call it, take some time and see what Gainesville and surrounding areas really have to offer! The possibilities are (nearly) endless!


Thanks go out to Lindsey V, Elizabeth W, Jon K, Sarah W, Andy H, Mary V, Mary P, Mary S, Caitlin S, Sami P, Kristen A, GainesvilleConnect.com, and the City of Gainesville.

Photos: Doug Tam, Jon K // Photos appear below activities. Activities without photos I (most likely) have not personally experienced and/or documented.

 Note: Prices are based on adults. Child prices may be available. Prices per car commonly refer to 2-8 occupants. Prices subject to change. If so, let me know so I can keep it updated!




Take a trip to the Southwest corner of campus and walk through various exhibits. Spend some time sitting among hundreds of butterflies, or brush up on some history at the Museum of Natural History!

Walk through the halls of the Harn admiring various artistic pieces. With ongoing exhibits and changing ever so often, each visit won’t always be the same! Diversify your culture!Harn Museum

  • Sporting Events (Football, Volleyball, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Gymnastics, etc.)

What better way to bond with your best friend than with hundreds of other Gator fans? Scream, yell, shout and bask in the excitement of Gator athletics!Football

Take a break from studies and escape to the Natural Area Teaching Lab! Located near the Phillips Center on the Southwest Corner of campus, walk through nearly 60 acres of trees, ferns, and various plant life.NATL

  • Painting in Norman Tunnel

Walking near Norman hall? When the lights go down, bring out the spray paint and paintbrushes! Brush up on your artistic abilities with graffiti, or birthday announcements in the dimly lit tunnel! But take caution, anything can happen there.Norman Tunnel

  • Harmonic Woods/University Gardens

Located in the heart of campus (literally the geographic center of the main campus), walk the boardwalk paths through aisles of trees.University Gardens

As daylight weans, and as the dusk settles over campus, take a visit to the UF Bat Houses, and witness the exodus of an estimated 300,000 bats each night. Known as the World’s Largest Occupied Bat Houses, this is an experience you don’t want to miss!Bat Houses

Right by the Bat Houses, take a little time to walk around the perimeter of the area, snapping pictures through yellow flowers and student crops.Student Gardens

  • Picnic/Hammock at Lake Alice

Nothing is quite like spending some quality time by UF’s pristine lake. Gaze over the lake and its reflections while sharing a meal under the shade of campus trees.Lake Alice

  • Baughman Center (Mon-Thur: 8:00 am – 5:30 pm, Fri: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm)

Slow down your day, relax, and meditate at the Baughman Center. Known for its lofty ceiling and sun lit interior, the beautiful Baughman Center is perfect to just sit back and enjoy.Baughman Center

Take a walk through 5 acres of camellias and azaleas at the Wilmot Gardens. If you wish to help out with the restoration of the gardens, UF needs all the help they can get beautifying the small meditation garden just north of Shand’s (UF Health’s) Medical Plaza.Wilmot Gardens

Just north of the Health Science area between Museum Rd and Newell Rd lie the Bartram-Carr Woods. Take a little adventure through the various paths while taking in the sights and sounds of another campus trail.Bartram Woods

As the week comes to a close, swing by the Reitz Union on Friday nights for some free festivities! Watch a movie, make some crafts, or try themed food at the weekly event open for UF students and their friends!Reitz

Known for bowling, billiards, and classic game room games, stop by the Ground Floor at the Reitz union to try your hand at some of the fun games we all know and love!Reitz Game

Head in the stars? Well take a closer look with your date and check out the UF Observatory right by the Physics building. Peer through the telescopes to get a close view of the moon, or take a look at some of Saturn’s rings!Observatory

  • Student Performances (TSF, Danza, Carillon Bells, School of Music Recitals, Organ Recitals, etc.)

With UF’s rich diversity that the university strives for, alongside specialized performances by various student organizations, be sure to also check out some of the music performances put on by your own peers! Open up a blanket and relax by the Century Tower listening to the carillon bell recital or take a seat at the University Auditorium for an acapella performance!Bell Recital

  • Swing Dancing (Summer lessons at the MUB, Early Semester lessons at the Reitz Breezeway)

Put on your dancing shoes and grab a date, because an evening with the Swing Dancing club will certainly be a night to remember! During the summer, the Swing Dancing Club has met at the Music Building by Century Tower offering beginner, intermediate, and advanced lessons to all!MUB

Boasting various activities, UF students can play some basketball, volleyball, tennis, skate, and take part in a variety of outdoor sports!Broward Rec

Want to get away and knock a few balls around? Try your best Happy Gilmore impersonation (Orrrr… not)? Grab your driver, and your chipper attitude and try your hand at UF’s full golf course located on the North West corner of campus!Golf Course

Hop in the car and take a short drive down 441 to UF’s private lake! Lounge on the beach, canoe on the lake, or try your hand at some rock climbing or the ropes course! There are so many activities to take part in at Lake Wauburg so you can’t go wrong with a trip to either of the entrances!Wauburg



  • Gator Cinemas ($2, $1 Tuesdays) *Currently Closed for Renovations*

On a tight budget? Want to see that movie you missed during the release? Then a trip to the Gator Cinemas is in order for you! Why not enjoy some movies on the big screen for cheap! Located by the Oaks mall, feel free to take in the sights at the mall, and catch up on that one movie all your friends have been talking about!Gator Cinemas

Of age and want to know more about the local brews? Drive down 34th near the Post Office and stop by Swamp Head Brewery! Sip on some craft brews and take a tour with your loved one. For just $5, you can tour the facility and go home with your own pint glass!Swamp Head

  • Funworks Putt Putt and Go Karts (Various Prices)

Just past the Newberry exit on I-75, bring out your inner child with each other at Funworks! Put on some roller skates or knock a ball around with some putt putt for a fun night to remember.Funworks

Want to score a few strikes, spares, and splits? Head on over to splitz bowling for some friendly competition between you and your date.Splitz

  • Trivia Nights (Gator’s Dockside, Mother’s, OAK, Brass Tap, Luckys etc.)

Think you’ve got what it takes to beat out the competition? Put your heads together with your date and out wit the competition at various restaurants throughout the week!OAK

  • Karaoke Nights (Stage 7, Applebee’s, Gumby’s, etc.)

Got a song stuck in your head? Want to sing it loud for all to hear? Want to spread that Christmas cheer? Then head out and grab a mic for some karaoke! Make a fool of yourself; make a fool of your date. Laugh through the night, or blow away the crowds with your stunning voice! Karaoke is always a good time!Applebees Karaoke

Get your act together and take your date to one of the various shows put on by local and renowned actors!

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UF Black Box Theater

  • Play with puppies/animals at the Pet Store

Kittens. Pets. Need we say more?

Get in touch with your creative side and take an art class with your date! See who’s the better artist and frame up the experience with memories for years to come!Painting With A Twist

Famous to students in the area, a movie night isn’t complete without some uniquely flavoured cookies from Midnight cookies! Cookies n Cream, S’mores, Snicker doodle, Coffee Chocolate Chunk, Birthday Cake flavors, oh my! Don’t forget, they also deliver! It will be a great night!Midnight Cookies

Want to take your date on a little bit more of an explosive experience? Train your sights at the Gainesville Targeting Range where you can fire various guns at targets for reasonable rates!

Nothing shows your love for another like nailing them in the face (mask) with a ball of yellow paint!

Bring out your spirit animal and meet some animals at the Santa Fe Zoo!

Don’t want to deal with cloudy skies? No problem! Explore the galaxies at the Santa Fe Planetarium!

Take a trip back in time to the late 1800s and early 1900s and see what it was like with some good ol’ farm living!Dudley.png

Step back in time and walk through the orange groves at this Historic Home!Marjorie Kinnan

A Gainesville tradition, and a time you and your friends will remember forever!34th St Wall

  • DNA Bridge

Hop on a bike or walk on by the DNA Bridge on the South East corner of campus! With its bright red, whites, and blues (purples), stand over 13th Street and watch Gainesville come to life as the sun goes down!DNA

Like the fine tastes of wines? Or want to learn more about wine tastings? Head on over to the Bluefield Estates and try the special wines made right here in Gainesville!

Want to paint some pottery or make some ceramic crafts? Bring your date along to Corks and Colors for a creative experience!Corks and Colors

  • Coffee Talks around Town

Between the locations all around town, get your caffeine fix at some of the best hangouts around town! Some shops like Curia on the Drag have movie showings as well. Other coffee shops include Pascals Coffeehouse with concerts, CYM Coffee Co. and their food truck rallies, Coffee Culture‘s open mic nights, Volta Downtown, Opus in UF Health, Bay Island, Karma Creme, Know Where Coffee cupping sessions.


The Greens at Curia on the Drag

Peruse the aisles of Lucky’s while hopefully stumbling along into an event such as live shows or cookout events! Other notable experiences include sipping and shopping, a study room in the back (Snacks provided on Wednesdays), board games, and trivia nights!Luckys



Being a college town (a fantastic one at that), Gainesville’s got a great selection of restaurants to choose from! In fact, with most places downtown, you and your special person won’t be disappointed! Check out Yelp, Trip Advisor, OutInTheVille, or KenEatsGainesville for input on the good, bad, and ugly when it comes to a lovely dining experience!Hyppo Downtown

Want to watch some old films or see a local performance? Put on your nicest clothes and check out the Hippodrome theatre!Hippodrome

Climb, belay, and rappel all around the Rock Gym! Do you trust your partner spotting your climb up and up?GRG

Grab some change and head over to Rockey’s Dueling Piano Bar for an improvised spin on some popular songs! Drink on up, and party responsibly kiddos.Rockeys

After some food, why not stop by one of the pool halls for some friendly competition!Main St Billiards

Another one of Gainesville’s local breweries, 1st Magnitude is a place to truly relax. Walking up to the brewery, you’re greeted with giant jenga, wooden picnic tables, corn hole and more! Grab a drink and relax! In addition to an evening to winding down, 1st Mag also holds various events from concerts to morning yoga sessions!

First Magnitude

Local Band ‘The Savants of Soul’ Perform at First Magnitude

With 2015 winding down, Gainesville decided to revamp the urban art scene! Located all throughout the downtown area, take a walk and get some model worthy shots at the many art murals placed on restaurants, garages, and businesses! Visit 352walls.org for more info!352 Walls

Each year, there are food truck rallies that pass through the area. Usually located by High Dive, bring your date and try out the specialized foods from vendors near and far!Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 9.10.32 AM

Buy a drink and get a token. Use the token for another drink! It’s a fun deal to take part in! And the food is pretty darn fantastic too!Top

  • Maude’s (Coffee, Board Games, Movies, Drag Shows)

Maude’s has always been something special in Downtown Gainesville. Grab some coffee and break out the board games in the main room! Board games not quite your thing? Swing by at different times and you might be able to watch a movie outside or even a drag show! Who knows what you’re going to find when you go to Maudes!Maudes

Whether it’s a bustling Friday night at Tall Paul’s, or a calm empty Tuesday evening, sit back and enjoy a few local Alligator Brews at Tall Paul’s! It’ll be a fun night to remember… Or not.Tall Pauls

  • Cowboy’s Saloon (Formerly known as 8 Seconds… It’ll always be known as :08 to me)

Put on your boots and get in line for some dancing at The Cowboy’s Saloon! Ride the bull, and break out your southern sass!Cowboys

Check out the High Dive and other concert halls for performances from artists well known and artists that are upcoming!1402380_466358393481374_1345884323_o

Show off your dance moves while learning a few tips or two with your rockin’ and steppin’ partner!UTC

Nestled just above the bulk of Downtown, explore the beauty of the Historic Thomas Center. Lay out a blanket and bring a few snacks for a beautiful outdoor experience.Thomas Center1

  • Barcade

It’s a bar. It’s an arcade. Pretty self-explanatory.Barcade

Just east of most of Downtown, check out the pretty houses in the Bed & Breakfast District!

Bed and Breakfast

SE 2nd Place leading to B&B Dist

Another Historic Site in Downtown Gainesville, take a tour or just relax on the rocking chairs on the front porch sharing stories and making jokes!Matheson House

Local. Food. Check em out! Maybe gather some ingredients for a meal you and your date can cook at home!

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  • Cooking Classes at the Fat Tuscan ($40-$50/class)

Don’t want to make a meal together at home? How about with the instruction of a professional chef? Get some lessons and enjoy your meal in an intimate setting for a romantic evening!Fat Tuscan


Haile Plantation:

Cupcakes and Coffee accompany the quaint area of Gainesville you will love!Patticakes

An evening stroll away from the hustle and bustle of Campus can be a welcoming break!Haile Roads

  • Explore the Biltmore houses

Check out some of the new houses being developed in the Haile Plantation area!

Wake up early Saturday morning and head over to Haile Plantation to check out streets lined with vendors! Try some homemade salsa, or buy some freshly made pastries! Y’all won’t be disappointed!Haile Farmers Market



Spread out a blanket under Florida’s largest oak tree!Cellon Oak

Rent out a canoe and paddle down miles of pristine Florida waters.679889_550576204956315_1535055049_o

Gaze out into the stars just outside of Gainesville.Stargazing

Drive on out to the overlook and rise up with the sun, or watch as the final bits of sunlight dip below the horizon!775871_584730968207505_706211302_o

Escape from the busyness of campus night with a trip to O’Leno State Park! With sights that don’t seem to fit in a normal thought of Florida, you and your date might be pleasantly surprised.

Warm up by a campfire while sharing stories over some warm S’mores.Paynes Camping

Share some quality time walking through miles of trails snaking through the Prairie.

Main Trails

Cones Dike Trail

Bolen Bluff Trail

Bolen Bluff Trail

Explore winding trails along Hogtown creek, stepping over stones and walking over fallen trees!Loblolly

Make some historic moments with one another finding shark teeth in Rattlesnake Creek!Rattlesnake Creek

Take a walk through the pines of the Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve!Longleaf

Miles of trails await exploration by you and your trusty partner!

San Felasco

Just north of 16th avenue, explore additional trails in search of more shark teeth.Alfred A Ring Park

In the upper region of Hogtown Creek, walk through half a mile of nature trails in the urban jungle that is Gainesville.Cofrin Park

A newer set of trails shaped in the head of a Gator, check out the Sweetwater Trails for birds, and various wildlife! Sweetwater Preserve

Take some time out of your day and climb some trees over at Bivens Arm Park.Bivens Arm

Just off of 20th by Cabana Beach/The Grove Apartments, check out the Split Rock Trail, where Hogtown Creek runs through building crevices and opportunities for memorable moments.Split Rock Trail

With climates changing at the base of this massive Floridian sinkhole, take some time to explore this bit of Gainesville history.Devils Millhopper

Spanning over 50 miles of road, take a bike ride (or walk) through breath taking scenery.La Chua Trail

Walk through the trails of Morningside Nature Center in East Gainesville.Morningside

Bait a few hooks and catch a few fish over at Newnan’s Lake with your catch of a date.Newnan

  • Magnolia Park

Simplicity is wonderful. Lie back and watch the clouds pass by at Magnolia Park.Magnolia Clouds

Toss a disc or ball around at Kanapaha Park while paying regards to the heroes and veterans that have spent their time and lives defending our country.Kanapaha Park

Stroll through the new park while creating new memories!Depot Park

For a small admission fee, walk through thousands of acres ranging from rose gardens, to bamboo forests!Kanapaha

Open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Weekends, Cedar Lakes showcases hundreds of plants and animals in its pristine gardens.


Dive off the dock into pristine blue waters for an exhilarating experience.

Dip your feet into this lesser known second magnitude Spring connected to the Waccasassa River! Just about 40 minutes outside Gainesville, this cheap yet beautiful Spring is perfect for the summer! NOTE: It’s only open April 1st to October 1st (according to the Levy County Website. To be safe, according to the titled link, it is open between Memorial Day and Labor Day)

Get your snorkel gear ready for a swim in clear waters diving down just more than 20 feet!Fanning Springs

Rise early and take your date over to Ginnie Springs for a full day of adventure! Swim in the multiple springs at the park and float for hours down the river for a relaxing afternoon.Ginnie Springs

Don’t get pushed away by the currents at Manatee Springs, but stop by for a cooling break from the Floridian heat.Manatee Springs

More like a swimming hole, grab a snack and dip your feet in at Rum Island for a peaceful afternoon.Rum Island

In addition to the clear waters, Poe Springs is fitted with multiple grills, clean restrooms, and boardwalk trails, bring some barbecue supplies for a great time outdoors!Poe Springs

A once in a lifetime experience, snorkel or dive down into the sunlit cave! You’ve seen it on Pintrest. You’ve seen it all over Facebook. Suit up and dive in!Devils Den

Basically a two-for-one kind of spring! Cool off at Ichetucknee Springs and then take a small hike down the boardwalk path and dive 40 feet down into Blue Hole!

Ichetucknee Springs

Ichetucknee Spring

Blue Hole

Blue Hole

For Florida natives, we all know and love the lazy rivers at Wet & Wild… put that in true Floridian waters, and you’ve got a solid few hours with your date floating down the river!Ichetucknee Tubing

Boasting an impressive 70 feet deep, delve into the depths of Troy springs!


Troy Springs is commonly known for its Diving accommodations!

Sit back and relax in your inner tube while gazing up through river trees in the heart of Florida! Make a day of Rainbow Springs! Picnic, hammock, share stories, and take a break from the busyness of ‘Life!’


Get your dive gear together for a time in the deep blue.

Pack your cars and prepare yourselves for an exciting adventure at the sketchiest, redneck waterpark in Florida!Bob's

  • Silver Springs Canoeing (Tandem Kayak – $18/1-hr, $9 additional hr., $45/day. Single Kayak – $14/1-hr, $7 additional hr., $35/day)

Kayak down at Silver Springs and look out for assorted wildlife… including monkeys. Yes. Monkeys!


Surrounding Areas // Alachua, Archer, Hawthorne, High Springs, Melrose, Micanopy, Newberry, Ocala, Waldo, Williston:

All locations about an hour or less away


Grab some dinner in Downtown Alachua followed by a stroll through the downtown portion! Additional points if you go during the holiday season!858876_744849348862332_1062137230_o

With an ‘admission fee’ of 2 carrots (I’m serious, check it out HERE), stop by Mill Creek Horse Farm on Saturdays from 11am to 3 pm and care for the retired horses at the Horse Farm! Show your partner your altruistic side!DSC_0142

Have a need for speed? Watch a race at the Speedway and get pumped for some exhilarating competition!

With classic blues and historic Floridian meals, go back in time for some dining in Hawthorne! Considered one of the best restaurants in Florida by Florida Trend Magazine, this is a place you don’t want to miss!Yearling

Check out the small stores over at High Springs while grabbing some pictures by the railroad tracks!High Springs

Lions, tigers, leopards, panthers, bobcats, bears, and other species of exotic animals are all awaiting your meeting!

With a plethora of antique shops in Micanopy, meander down the sidewalks and share a pie at the scrumptious Blue Highway Pizza!Micanopy Antiques

  • Cautious Visit to the Rock Quarry (Newberry)

Ask around for more information…

If you can make your way to the Newberry Sports Complex on a night of a meteor shower, head out behind the baseball fields to the Astronomy Club’s area for some star struck moments with your best friend!Newberry Stargazing

Get some blankets and cushions and head over to the Ocala Drive In Theater to see some of the newest premiers on a screen in the same fashion your parent’s did! Note the Florida humidity and mosquitoes so the best time will probably be when winter comes around!Ocala Drive In

There’s nothing quite as charming as a friendly battle of laser tag in a renovated flea market right?M2 Battlesports

Gather close to some gentle giants at the Two Tails Elephant Ranch in Williston Florida!


Seasonal Events

Attention ye college folk! Ride on down to the Medieval Fair and watch as metals clash, and horses gallop through the fairgrounds! Immerse yourselves in a Knight’s Tale!Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 9.10.18 AM

Run through campus with hundreds of your closest friends ending in a plume of orange and blue powder!

Get in touch with your artistic side by taking a gander at some fine art at the Town of Tioga!Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 7.10.34 PM.png

Check out these strawberry fields with your forever!

  • Orange and Blue Spring Practice Game (April)

Orange! Blue! Games for you two!

Laugh, crack jokes, at the Historic Thomas Center for the annual Jest Fest!

Taste over a hundred craft brews throughout the day at the Hogtown Craft Beer Festival!

Witness as one of the best wakeboarding teams in the nation competes against other collegiate teams at Lake Wauburg!

Run through campus as the clock strikes midnight! The fun begins after dark!

Dash through campus with a purpose! Donate clothes while getting a brisk run in at night.

Take part in one of the largest Hammock Parties in the nation with the UF Hammock Club! #HammockUFHammock Party

  • Blueberry Picking at Straughn Farms (Mid Summer)

When the weather starts heating up, stop by Straughn Farms to walk through acres of Blueberry Fields! If you are able to find out which weekend they are open for free picking, get all the buckets ready for hours of fun!Straughn Farms

Set up some lawn chairs and lay out some blankets for UF’s annual Fireworks show! Hear the Gainesville Community Band and get your America on!10475976_910615532285712_4686066789352868977_o

Park on a side street and watch a local town parades through the streets.

Small town. Small parade. Big memories.

Known as the largest small town fireworks show in America, get your America on!Fireworks

Swing by Haile Plantation for an evening for merriment, celebrating Halloween, custom brews and community dances.Oktoberfest

Pay a visit to one of the many pumpkin patches around Gainesville for a lovely Fall photo shoot, while picking out which pumpkin you want to carve! Some local patches include the Littlewood Elementary Patch, at Trinity UMC, Wesley UMC, the Alachua Pumpkin Patch (photos below), and Church of God Pumpkin Patch)

Dive, duck, and run through the cornfields as masked men chase you with chainsaws knives and other ghoulish weapons! Take a trip on the hayride, or try your hand at some fun carnival games.Rogers Farm Corn Maze

Head out to the ‘middle of nowhere’ under a cloudy October sky for a dash through the cornfield, or hold fast to your date as y’all traverse the haunted house!Newberry Corn

One weekend in the year, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens opens its doors to host its Orchid Festival! Wander through the gardens while taking a gander a hundreds of orchids offered for sale!Kanapaha Orchid Fest

Come learn about the winged creatures of the night at the Bat Festival! While Detective Gordon might not be there, y’all will still have an enjoyable experience! (No jokes here)

Do Si Do, and promenade your partner all around the square at one of the largest Annual Barn Dances in Northern Florida!Barn Dance

Cotton candy, carnival games, classic fair rides for fair fares!

Get ready to listen in on hundreds of punk bands all over downtown Gainesville on the weekend of the UF UGA game! After The Fall, MeWithoutYou, Billy The Kid, and so much more!

Stand with pride and walk through the streets of Gainesville with the parade and festival!

Slow down your day wandering through the town of Micanopy with streets lined with homemade crafts and products, while peering into the antique shops!Micanopy Fall Fest

  • Gator Growl ($15 UF Students, $25 Non-UF – Early November)

With big name artists visiting the University of Florida each year, hear from famous performers on their acts.

  • UF Homecoming/Pageant/Soulfest/Gator Gallop/Alumni BBQ (Early November)

Come take part in the crowd of 80,000+ at the UF Homecoming game and parade! Free food, festivals, and seas of orange and blue are just elements of an event you can’t miss!UF Homecoming

Visit the FL Museum of Natural History for their annual Starry Night event! Think of it like the UF Observatory on steroids. Learn about the great beyond here!Starry Night Photo

Browse the countless art pieces from paintings to glass sculptures and hammocks at the Art Festival in Downtown Gainesville!Downtown Fall Festival

Throughout the year, there are many concerts held on campus by Student Government. Some artists include Andy Grammar, Magic!, One Republic and more!

Phillips Center

Catch a show at the Phillips Center

Wind the clocks back ages and experience life on the farm! Grind some sugar cane and learn how to make syrup in a time before industrial eras.Cane Day

Be a part of the annual celebration that brings in the Christmas season at the Town of Tioga! Gaze upon Christmas trees and decorated wreaths available for purchase through the silent auction.Tioga Holidays.png

Join for an evening of lights, treats, Disney princesses, and carriage rides through the town!12322829_10207851688397495_6502346703640110389_o

A Gainesville tradition, take your date on an evening stroll through the luminous pathways bringing on the Christmas spirit!North Fl Lights

Watch as the mayor of Gainesville helps light up a massive tree at the Historic Thomas Center!

Ring in the New Year downtown with the city of Gainesville!




… And if all else fails, head to Midtown.

How To Start A Hammock Club

#EnoTrunkTuesdays, College, Events, Hammock Town, Hammocking, Leadership, Life, Outdoors, Photography, Sports, Trashcan, UF Hammock Club, University of Florida

With the rise of hammocks coming into popularity as of late, many people are wondering how to start a Hammock Club of their own. And while the UF Hammock Club have really hit it off in their inaugural year, some hammock clubs across the nation have run into some push back, concerning safety and sustainability.

But in the midst of the craziness, students and hammock fanatics have still gotten outside to put up their hammocks between trees, in apartments and anywhere conceivable.


Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.05.10 PM

Students on a weekend camping trip.


So how do you start a Hammock Club? What are some key factors to getting one going? Allow me to shed a little light on how we started here at UF!


To begin, let me tell you a little bit about how we originally started (before we were even official)…

After my first introduction to hammocks on a camping trip to Payne’s Prairie with some friends in Cru (the largest campus ministry at UF), I quickly jumped on the hammock train and got myself my own double parachute nylon hammock. With my new hammock and friends who owned hammocks, we set out to gather weekly on campus between classes to relax and spend some quality time with one another in the most comfortable way possible.




And with such a goal in mind, the group ‘#EnoTrunkTuesdays’ was born, named after the main two hammock brands that we owned: Enos and Grand Trunk hammocks. Of course the Tuesdays part was just due to the open afternoon schedule that seemed to align with our small hammock group of 8-10 each week. Over time, as we pushed our social media presence with the hash tag #EnoTrunkTuesdays, and spread word of our group in person, hammocks were gaining more attention at the University of Florida.


Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 5.54.38 PM

Students outside classrooms hammocking.


So that brings me to step 1.


1) Start small, spread word, and start hanging out (literally) with your immediate friend group.


Once you’ve established a small following (no, not a cult), work on making a few events gathering like-minded people. Friends will invite friends, who will invite other friends, and on and on it goes. You get the idea!


Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.12.16 PM.png


And this is where proper event planning comes into play via social media management.


2) Build a social media presence.


Without a doubt, make Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter your best friend. Come on, if you’re aiming to gather people and stay on top of public relations, enjoy being able to say that being on Facebook is your job. Because it is! (Yay!)


But seriously, the UF Hammock Club didn’t come to be without a constant social media presence. Through social media, you can showcase what you all are up to while making connections with (hammock) companies and other bloggers.


Once you create a media presence and events (we use Facebook), invite anyone and everyone. Have no shame in inviting them. We’re a community after all. Don’t let anyone miss out! And that being said, interact with your audience. Start following others, like their own hammock photos. Comment on pictures you find interesting. Share tips, tricks, and advice with one another.


Make it an online community. One thing I always believed in was having a proper relationship with your audience (within reasonable boundaries of course). Don’t let your group/company/whatever just be a large group that seems too large to care for the ‘lesser people.’ (Not to say anyone is ‘lesser’ than anyone else) But be intentional with your audience. Interact with them and answer questions and concerns in a genuine and respectful manner.


Once an event has been created, don’t hesitate to spam the event page with updates and information. People forget things so easily nowadays. A little notification or reminder never hurt anyone! Hype up the event and encourage more participation from the event goers!


Once your event happens, be sure to share with the world how it went! What I’ve found working best with Facebook brings me to my third point.


3) Photos, photos, photos.


Take lots of photos with a good camera. Don’t own a camera yourself? Invest in one, or find a friend to help out with event coverage!


Photos are the most interactive form of media that has done wonders for the UF Hammock Club.


Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.10.25 PM

Pics or it didn’t happen right?


Through photos shared on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, we have made connections with various companies including Grand Trunk, Eno, and bloggers such as Hammock Town and others just like them!


So how do you build an event? What kinds of events do we do? That comes down to one thing.


4) Planning for days


I say planning for days both in a metaphorical sense, and also in the literal sense. A great event is nothing without proper planning. When planning your event, take time to bounce ideas back and forth with a close friend in leadership. Consider all that could go wrong. Consider weather, sponsors, companies, legalities, and back up plans. Work on garnering attention and creating simple incentives to get people more involved. It’s a family. It’s a community!


Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.16.07 PM.png

#UFHang15: Core Leadership


Some of our events have been combined with sporting events! Whether we’re tailgating before a football game, or playing a game of ultimate or trashcan (see the American Trashcan Association), combining your hammock event with a sporting activity can open the doors to a whole spectrum of people. The sporting activity brings out the athletic students, and for those that are more reserved, hanging out in hammocks become the perfect way to enjoy the company of one another while watching the game take place.



Once you’ve had a solid foundation of students to take part in the club, work on getting all the paperwork filed with your school or university (club constitutions, faculty advisors etc) to become official! As you all get closer to your goal of becoming a club, start designating leadership roles and spreading the workload. Managing any kind of club or organization is difficult and should not be tackled alone!


So for my fifth point,


5) Clearly define roles and spread the responsibility


With proper wisdom on how to spread responsibilities, and with good communication (Yes, that life skill that’s always stressed to you), the club can start to see growth in its events and in its membership.


Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 5.59.55 PM


Some positions to consider include…



Vice President



Social Media Content Coordinator

Student Ambassador (to spread word of the club to students and companies)

Event Managers



Blog Writer

Graphic Designer


Of course, getting enough people to commit their time to the club in various positions may be challenging, but the more positions filled by A-Type students, the better. Truth be told, the UF Hammock Club has many positions that have yet to be filled! But don’t lose heart, press forward and own your hammock club!


And lastly,


6) Get out and meet people! Help them join in on the hammock craze!


Spread the word, spread the love, and engage others in the hammock community.

Don’t be shy! Go and meet some new hammockers! You never know who you’ll meet! Maybe you’ll make connections with a journalist for the local or school paper! Making those key connections can greatly increase your amount of exposure locally!


So gather your friends, pack your hammock and camera and get outside to explore new paths!


Happy Hammocking my friends!



Yours truly,

Douglas Tam

UF Hammock Club President 2015-2016

Meet the President (of the Hammock Club)

#EnoTrunkTuesdays, College, Events, Hammocking, Leadership, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, UF Hammock Club, University of Florida

So with the whole rise of the Hammock Club at the University of Florida, it has been a whirlwind of excitement over the past few years seeing the wave of popularity sweep across the Gator Nation.

But where do I fit in all of this? Let me tell y’all a lil bit about myself!

General Info

Academic Year: 1st Year Pharmacy Student at the University of Florida, Gainesville Campus. (Yes, that’s Grad School)

Age: 21

Residence: Gainesville, FL

Hobbies: Trying out new instruments, Photography, Playing Piano, Playing Ultimate, Playing Trashcan, Netflix, Playing with Puppies (most definitely).


When did you first get involved in hammocking and why do you love it?

When I first got introduced to portable hammocks at a camping trip at Paynes Prairie about 2 years ago, I was immediately hooked! By Winter Break that year, I put my order in for a hammock and in a week or so, I was the proud owner of a Grand Trunk Double Hammock!

Breaking out the new Hammock with Chris

Breaking out the new Hammock with Chris

Going back to campus with my newfound love for hammocking and as a new owner, I noticed the lack of hammocks at UF. Walking through the Plaza of the Americas (a main plaza outside one of the main libraries), I would remember seeing 1, maybe 2 hammocks strung up between trees. Now, it’s easy to find 5 or 6 hammocks spread all over the Plaza.

Students enjoying the afternoon in Hammocks in the Plaza of the Americas.

Students enjoying the afternoon in Hammocks in the Plaza of the Americas.

As I started to hammock with some close friends on campus each week, I absolutely loved seeing the attention that the hammocks brought. I loved showing others about the comfort and portability of the relaxing commodities! Overall, what was most surprising to me was the hammock community itself.

A bit of fun between classes before the Club came to be.

A bit of fun between classes before the Club came to be.

The culmination of organizing some sports and hammocks with friends.

The culmination of organizing some sports and hammocks with friends.

Just by hanging out (in the most literal sense) with my friends, I’ve had multiple opportunities to meet other wonderful people, whether they were students passing by, hikers on trails in the mountains, to slackliners or reporters from the local press!

Slacklining at the Plaza Takeover Event

Slacklining at the Plaza Takeover Event



What do you have to say about the recent tensions involving banning hammocks on College campuses?

With such an easy going and close-knit hammock community, it’s a shame to anyone who isn’t able to join in on the fun! In the midst of the recent backlash from various colleges about banning hammocks on campus, it is truly upsetting to see that the opportunities for communities and outdoor encouragement are being suppressed.

Friendships. Hammocks. Community.

Friendships. Hammocks. Community.

Sure, people can meet up and still go outside and hike and all, but for others, the allure of convenient relaxation might be the encouragement that many millennials of today need to get out! In this time and age of ‘fast paced’ lifestyles, we all need time to step back and relax. One of the best ways to recharge is to unplug and disconnect for a little.

I hope you all can hop on this train with me! Hammock away, my friends!

UF Hammock Club: First Official Plaza Takeover

#EnoTrunkTuesdays, College, Events, Hammocking, Nature, Outdoors, UF Hammock Club

Cool weather. Pumpkin spice lattes. Busy campus pathways.


As October drew to a close, students at the University of Florida slowly migrated out of the library and dorms to the Plaza of the Americas to enjoy cooler weather while momentarily escaping from the demands of academic life. To the collegiate student, there was no better opportunity to get outside than with the Hammock Club’s first Plaza takeover.

A UF Student hangs out while playing on his Uke.

A UF Student hangs out while playing on his Uke.

Members setting up Hammock Straps.

Members setting up Hammock Straps.

With the rise in the popularity of Hammocks, students were eager to get out on campus and hammock. On October 26, 2015, hammocks lined the sidewalks and trees were adorned with colorful patterns. The First Official Plaza Takeover was in full swing.

Beautiful weather called for great hangouts.

Beautiful weather called for great hangouts.

Brightly colored hammocks lit up the Plaza.

Brightly colored hammocks lighting up the Plaza.

Students arrived early to stake out their hammock spots.

Students arrived early to stake out their hammock spots.

While small groups of students found two reliable trees all over the plaza, one group of ambitious students took to a large tree along the main road at the entrance to the plaza. Referred to as ‘The Party Tree’ by various club members, hammocks embellished the branches from top to bottom and from side to side.

The Party Tree caused quite a stir throughout the day

The Party Tree

The Party Tree (backside)

The Party Tree (backside)

Throughout the 4-hour event, thousands of students passed through the plaza, making their way to classes, grabbing some Krishna Lunch, and meeting the various organizations tabling in the plaza. Although there was a large magnitude of students passing through, the hammocks still turned heads, made their way into selfies, and campus snap stories.

Students engaging in conservation with various international students.

Students engaging in conservation with various international students.

Coffee, Friends, Hammocks. Need we say more?

Near the end of the event, a small damper to the excitement reared its head… Rain. But in true Floridian fashion, the rain came and went in a blink of an eye. While the downpour was heavy enough to flush out most students from their hammocks, others stuck it through.

A Hammock Club member sits in his hammock amidst a Floridian shower.

A Hammock Club member sits in his hammock amidst a Floridian shower.

Like the ol’ Gator saying goes… ‘In all kinds of weather, we’ll all [hang] together!’ (okay there was a slight edit, but you get the point)

The UF Hammock Club hopes to host more hammock events in the near future on campus and off campus. Like the Facebook page and stay on top of future events!


Club member Emily shares a laugh with friends at the Party Tree.

Club member Emily shares a laugh with friends at the Party Tree.

End of Year Hammock Party : Event Recap

#EnoTrunkTuesdays, Events, Friendship, Hammocking, Life, Nature, Outdoors, Sports

Part 1 can be found here:

The Inaugural End of Year Hammock Party has finally come and gone.

Hosted by the future Hammock Club at UF, between 700 and 1,000 attendees came on out to Westside Park in Gainesville FL, ready to set up hammocks all over the park.

On a final Facebook rsvp, there were about 2,081 who said they were going/went. The day of, the number dropped from over 2.1K due to upcoming exams.

So how did the event actually play out?

Earlier in the week, Jeff and I decided to purchase 2,000 ice pops namely the Fla-Vor-Ice pops. Yes, they are the same pops that you ate as a kid growing up. The largest challenge that we faced was finding freezer space to fit it all in. After spreading the pops across Gainesville in 7 houses, the pops would make their way to the event just in time for it to starts.

On the day of, a group of guys and some girls came out to help set up the domes at 8 am. While the domes took quite a while to set up, they proved to be a very interesting sight and central location for many hammocks.


In addition to the shirts being distributed, Hyppo pops were being sold (which were a huge hit with the crowd), and sponsors such as Brasington’s and STEM’d were present relaxing and answering any questions that people had.

Throughout the day, I was pulled aside by multiple Journalism students where I repeated the story of the Hammock Party inception over and over again. The excitement was strong and alive throughout the whole 5-hour event. Even though there weren’t any specific food trucks at the event, hunger did not faze Jefferson or me. Between running around answering questions, setting up hammocks, and meeting people, there was very little time to think about hunger. The energy from the event was more than enough to keep us going.

So what happened with the potential world records?

In most cases, people have constantly asked me if we successfully broke world records.

Frankly, we might have broken a few unofficial world records. During the official count off, we had over 158 people sitting in hammocks although by that time, there could have been 50-100 other hammocks that could have been set up prior. Each time I am asked about the records I respond with something along these lines:

“Unofficially, I think we broke some records, but I don’t focus on the world records. I mean, I think it’s super cool if we officially broke them but I don’t want any discouragements in the case that we didn’t break a record, because I’m sure there are crazy amounts of hammocks at music fests such as Electric Forest… although that’s also for a music fest, while this event was purely for hammocking. So did we break records? I dunno. What I focus on and what I’m happy for is the fact that everyone enjoyed themselves and had a great time relaxing before exams.”

But in the spirit of the hammock records, here’s all we’ve found online so far:

Worlds Largest Hammock Hangout: 125 on recordsetter. BEAT with 158.

Worlds Tallest Hammock Stack: 14. BEAT with 15.


So recapitulating what happened after the Party, I was left with over 350 shirts. Most of the pre-orders were bought but the leftover shirts took up lots of space. Now the question is what I’d do with the shirts. So far our decisions were to hold onto the shirts and sell at a lower price come Fall.

We believe that there were less sales than expected mainly as a result of exams keeping people back from actually showing up to the event.

So in the end, what have we learned?

Don’t set unrealistic expectations.

Enjoy events.

There is great satisfaction in seeing positive responses from event hosting.

The Hammock Club has huge potential.

Create a very low estimate on shirt orders.

Sponsors are lifesavers.

Community efforts are some of the best efforts.

Keep on hangin out and get outside!

Hammocks, Hangouts, and Trashcan Tourneys

Events, Hammocking, Life, Nature, Outdoors, Sports, Trashcan

I expected 80 to 100 hammocks to be a part of the event.

Monday, March 2, 2015.

It was a seemingly normal day. Spring Break 2015 was in session. My plans for the day and week? Relax at home in the city of Melbourne and make multiple trips to the beach with good friends.

Add a little social media management in there for a End of Year Hammock Party and little did I know: I started up one of the largest hammock events that I’ve ever known.


About 3 weeks prior to Spring Break, my friend Jefferson and I were part of a large hammock and Trashcan event. With many of my friends from Cru at UF, we were able to bring out nearly 180 people to play Trashcan and set up nearly 40 hammocks along a row of 7 palm trees!

Just from that event, were got featured on ENO‘s Facebook and Instagram and got some love from Grand Trunk Goods for the Road!

After seeing the results of the “Trunks and Trashcans” event, Grand Trunk reached out. With a simple comment on my profile picture about their upcoming Trunk Straps, I quickly responded with a Facebook message asking for more information about their new Trunk Straps.

To my utter surprise (one of many to come), Grand Trunk was enthusiastic to send us some of their new straps to try out before they even go out in stores! The only simple stipulation: create a simple fun video showcasing the use of the hammocks and straps!


With the success of that event in mind, I knew I wanted to gather as many as I could to top it.


Initially, I invited about 200-300 friends to the event, envisioning a simple hangout in an iconic setting in front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium… possibly breaking a UF record for most hammocks gathered on campus.

I expected 80 to 100 hammocks to be a part of the event, but boy did I misjudge.

4 hours from the creation of the event, over 100 participants said they were “going.”

2 days. 280 participants.

6 days. 734 participants, and over the course of 3.5 hours, the number jumped from 695.

8 days. We reach over 1,000 participants going, and 1,000 more still invited.

I’m currently sitting outside at a coffee shop 2 weeks from the creation of the event and there are over 1,350 people going and over 1,330 still invited. Numbers are expected to rise.


The event wasn’t just a hang out with friends anymore. It was a full on event that needed meticulous planning and considerable thought into the process of locations and various factors.

People were spreading word of the event like wildfire. Friends would tell friends, and people that I have no direct connection with started confirming that they were going to the event.

Now, we were considering making T-Shirts for the event, find some catering from local restaurants and even considered breaking a World Record.

Once we surpassed the 1K mark, Jeff decided to look into records for Hammock Parties. The only record we could find was on record setter here. In 2013, 125 hammocks were set up at Santa Monica Pier. Even if we had 40% of the “going” show up, we’d topple the old record by a significant margin. Unfortunately there wasn’t any official record or category in the Guiness World Records for largest Hammock Party. That being said, Jeff sent in an application to start up the petition process to have a new category added. As the weeks draw closer to the event date, we’ll be expectantly waiting for the response from Guiness.


This explosion of media activity was picked up by both ENO and Grand Trunk… who both proceeded to create discount codes for their hammocks specifically for the event!

Our biggest push was for the shirts, opening up design submissions to those who wanted to help out, but with competing companies, Jeff and I needed to tread lightly. Designs would be featured on the front and the back would be a space mostly for sponsors. Jeff and I both asked Grand Trunk and Eno.

To our relief, after explaining our situation and being honest about the contact with the competing companies, both were willing to help out with sponsoring the shirt. Now, our task would be to find other local sponsors and find a shirt company to print well over 500 shirts.


On Sunday, March 15, 2015, I was able to organize a group to help plan out the events.

Much headway was made over the course of the 2 hour meeting. We were able to discuss locations, shirts, legal issues, sponsorships, and designs.

There are 5 weeks and 4 days left until the event (that’s just 39 days). We’re excited to see where it goes.

This is the power of social media. The is what happens when you combine passions, social media, and collegiate interests together.

By the time the event comes around, the full event would have been organized in just 53 days in the midst of classes, jobs, and exams.

This might be the worlds largest hammock hangout to come. Who would’ve though flat Florida would be the one?

I sure didn’t.