You’ll always find something to do in Gainesville, Florida, whether you are looking to relax or have an adventure. You can leisurely stroll through the historic downtown area for some shopping and tasty local cuisine or hike around the forests and parks in the area. If you’re looking for a fun excursion, a favorite is the Devil’s Millhopper State Geological Site. The bowl-shaped crater is unique amongst Florida’s usual pine forests and brings curious locals and visitors in to explore. The world completely changes as you travel down the wooden staircase. As you go deeper, an oasis of lush vegetation and beautiful blue water emerges. You absolutely have to come see this breathtaking sight!
If you’re planning a trip to Gainesville, take advantage of our free Vacation Guide. Planning a vacation can be hard, so we at Sweetwater Branch Inn have chosen our favorite things to do in the area to save you from hours of research! Skip the tedious part of preparation and use our free guide to find:
- Outdoor activities for all skill levels like exploring the Devil’s Millhopper State Geological Site
- Cultural events, museums, and entertainment
- The best restaurants in the area
- Festivals and attractions you won’t want to miss
Devil’s Millhopper History
As you travel around the park, you will come across different placards that tell a little bit about the amazing history of the site. It is unknown exactly when the sinkhole at the center of Devil’s Millhopper State Geological Site formed, but it is estimated that it is over 10 thousand years old! It is estimated that acid rain weakened the limestone base over time until the ceiling of the cavern could no longer support the earth on top, creating the sinkhole. At the bottom, many fossils such as shark teeth and extinct animals have been found. These have helped researchers significantly learn more about Florida’s history!
What to Expect at Devil’s Millhopper State Geological Site
The best way to describe the Devil’s Millhopper State Geological Site is a sinkhole with a tiny rainforest living in the bottom. 12 streams run down the limestone walls creating the beautiful blue pond in the center. The vegetation is lush at all times of the year, even during the dry summer. The water cascading down the walls makes the perfect environment for moss, ferns, and fungi to grow, covering everywhere possible in shades of green. As you travel down the wooden stairs, the air will begin to feel a bit cooler as you are shaded from the sun. Look out for the wildlife that timidly shows itself at times like squirrels, rabbits, birds, reptiles, and amphibians! Most importantly, take the time to revel at the sight of this incredible geological formation.
Tips for Exploring Devil’s Millhopper State Geological Site
While the most important thing to bring to explore Devil’s Millhopper State Geological Site is your sense of adventure, there are other things that are useful! You should definitely come prepared with plenty of water, especially in the hotter months. There are stairs leading into the 120-foot deep cavern as well as a short trail that runs along the edge of the crater, so you will definitely need it! That being said, proper footwear is highly advised for walking and stair climbing.
If you’re planning on staying for a while, The Sweet Tea can pack you a lunch to-go, and you can eat it at the picnic tables on-site! Make sure to check the park hours before you go to make sure it’s open. If you’re looking for a tour or more information, feel free to go to the visitors center. You can also get to the park at 10 AM on any Saturday for a tour by a Park Ranger!
Stay at Sweetwater Branch Inn
After you’ve explored the beauty of Devil’s Millhopper State Geological Site, retreat back to Sweetwater Branch Inn for some much-needed relaxation. Get back just in time for our complimentary wine and cheese hour. Enjoy a glass of wine as you reminisce about the beautiful sights you saw during the day. Then, retreat to your comfortable accommodations. Choose from luxurious suites and cottages to find the lodging perfect for you! Book your Gainesville adventure today.