Gainesville’s Green Acres Nature Park: The Place to Be

About three weeks ago I was driving around looking for Clear Lake Nature Park when I noticed a dead end that didn’t look so dead.  Moving in for a closer look, I realized that I had come across a nature park, which, to me, translates to: running trails.

The park I had accidentally stumbled upon was Green Acres Nature Park, located at SW 38th Street and 6th Place.  If exact addresses aren’t your thing, the park is tucked behind residential neighborhoods a few blocks south of where University Avenue turns into West Newberry Road.

Now, my first visit was brief, and I left pretty much unimpressed.  Shame on me.  By now I should know not to judge a Gainesville park by its cover.

Revisiting the park yesterday, I was blown away by how beautiful and pristine GANP really is.  I knew this place was special when I came across this magnificent path:

A Beautiful Trail in Green Acres Nature Park

It’s amazing how far away from the busyness of daily life you can feel only five minutes from campus.

Here’s a slideshow of a few pictures I took of the park:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At its center is an open field with a communal garden at one end.  Past the open field is a trail about the width of a normal road, which leads to the magnificent path shown above.

Here’s a two-minute video I shot in the middle of that spectacular path:

Follow the path to its end, and you will emerge at the neighborhoods surrounding Clear Lake.

At the park’s entrance, on SW 38th Street, are some pretty well-shaded trails.  One in particular, on your left as you enter the park, traverses at least a mile of some of the undeveloped land behind Calico Jack’s.

I think this park is a gem for students living along 34th Street.  If you live in the area of the Publix on 34th Street and University Avenue, a short warm-up jog (half mile) will get you to the park entrance.

Moreover, Green Acres Nature Park is a great place to take your dog, and it’s obvious from the trails that mountain bikers, too, frequent the park.  However, you’ll want to bring your own water because the park’s water fountain was not working as of September 1.

I’ll end by noting that I, once again, did not see a single other runner in the park in the hour or so that I spent wandering around.  I can’t complain, but I also think many runners are missing out on all that Gainesville has to offer.

Green Acres Nature Park – da da da da da – da da!


About Benjamin Markus

I am a 32-year-old runner living in Gainesville, FL.
This entry was posted in Best of Gainesville and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Gainesville’s Green Acres Nature Park: The Place to Be

  1. Isaac Sia says:

    Looks absolutely super!

  2. Isaac Sia says:

    ps. can you map it for us?

  3. russ says:

    It isnt that close to Uni and newberry, more like south of where newberry and 8th avenue meet

    • markusben says:

      I’m not sure the entrance you’re talking about, but if you take a look at the map you’ll see that the entrance at 38th St. and SW 6th Place is, in fact, directly south of where University becomes Newberry, also where University connects with 2nd Avenue.

  4. aflaten says:

    Summer sends all the runners in Florida into hiding. They’ll timidly be waiting till around October, then they’ll chance stepping outside. But watch out! If they see their shadows, it’s six more weeks of summer!

    Looking good, my friend. I wish this blog had been around when I was still up there!

  5. Joseph says:

    Went here today on your suggestion, quite disappointing. Not a lot of trails, maybe a quarter mile from one side to the other. I didn’t see a single other person out at the park. Maybe I just zigged when I should have zagged, but only having a couple trails was a let down.

    The actual entrance is on SW 40th St, there are about 4 parking spots on dirt. Here is a map, Google Streetview of the spot:,-82.385021&spn=0.000009,0.005284&t=h&z=18&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=29.645823,-82.385023&panoid=4_kliGoG2cCgWYFGsfPhaw&cbp=12,169.13,,0,15.08

    • markusben says:

      Hey Joseph,
      I’m sorry you were disappointed by the place. Did you take a right out the parking lot to that neat elevated trail through a preserve area? On the other side of the park, a left (err east) from that dirt parking lot are a couple more trails, at least one of which I found to be long (was walking though) and beautiful. They may or may not connect to a trail that begins behind Calico Jack’s restaurant.


      • Joseph says:

        Not quite sure where I ended up. From the entrance you mentioned, an asphalt road led straight into someone’s property (no trespassing signs) and right of the park sign was a single trail that ended up in a large open field with swing sets and fenced garden. South-east corner was a very short trail behind a wooden house that ended in a yellow-barrier and another no trespassing sign. Both north-east and north-west corners had trails that ended into SW 40th St., one running in front of a GRU electrical facility. I tried following a very small trail to the south of the open field but it quickly became overgrown and, as dusk was approaching, a bit too dangerous to navigate.

      • markusben says:


        From the entrance I mentioned, there is a trail off the left of that first main road (which leads to that private property and also to the open-field park) that is pretty lengthy. Looking at a Google Map, it seems as though that trail must lead to the back of Calico Jack’s restaurant (I took it until I got to SW 38th St) – and I was recently talking to someone who has run trails from Calico Jack’s all the way over by Oaks Mall. I am still not sure the exact route and/or if it’s 100% trail running.

        I, too, briefly explored some possible trail beginnings off of the open-field, but they were also pretty overgrown, and I didn’t explore further. Past the electrical facility (heading west) you get to that nice elevated trail through the forest (really a preserve area). While it’s not too long, that trail does lead to a nicely shaded neighborhood over by Clear Lake. If you can run far enough, I believe that you can run from Green Acres over to Clear Lake Nature Park, which was #1 on my top-shaded trails list. (


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s