Last Updated: 06/20/2018
Number of Sinkholes 63
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Alachua County Overview
Alachua County is located in north central Florida, with its county seat Gainesville about 150 miles southeast of the Sunshine State’s capital Tallahassee. This county has proven itself as an ideal place to settle in, with its population during the 2010‒2017 period rising 7.8 percent to 266,944. Migration accounted for a significant portion of this increase.
Alachua’s population is broken down to 61.7 percent white, 19.7 percent black, and 9.4 percent Hispanic. U.S. citizens constitute 94.6 percent of the county’s residents, while 13.9 percent of the Alachua population speak a non-English language.
Landmarks and Natural Wonders
Many families have chosen to move to this county, leaning particularly toward its small and quiet towns like High Springs, Newberry, and the county’s namesake town Alachua. The charms of living in Alachua County include various natural attractions which are among the most interesting in Florida.
One of these local wonders is the Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, a national landmark featuring a 120-foot bowl-shaped cavity amidst pine forests and sandy terrain. This geological feature, which tells much of Florida’s natural history, is indicative too of Alachua’s name derived from Timucuan Indian word for “sink.”
Steeped in history, Alachua County was established in 1824 after Spain ceded Florida to the U.S. in 1821. The towns which the county’s early settlers established which remains up to today include Gainesville and Micanopy which is reputed as the country’s first settled town.
Academe Drives County Growth
Over the years, Alachua carved a lofty reputation from its diverse culture, homegrown artisans and local music. Such bragging rights have a sound platform in the county’s A-rated schools starting from elementary to college.
One of these learning institutions is the Santa Fe College, which has multiple campuses throughout the county. It offers unique learning facilities a planetarium and a teaching zoo.
Gainesville-based University of Florida, a nationally renowned public university, is another magnet for students in Alachua. This university also contributes substantially to Alachua’s economy, driven mainly by this school’s enrollees which total over 50,000 as of the 2017‒2018 school year.
Besides educational services, Alachua’s economy is driven by healthcare and social assistance, the growth of which help keep the county’s unemployment rate below the national and state levels. The county’s lower cost of living, estimated at 98.4 points which is below the 100 points national average, is another come-on for would-be residents of Alachua.
There is an abundance of life and leisure venues at Alachua County for its residents to enjoy. These spots include the Alachua County Fairgrounds, which besides its annual fair, also hosts special events and exhibits. Small Alachua towns like Newberry and High Springs are popular destinations for restaurants with a rich menu of Southern dishes prepared with fresh, local ingredients.
In addition to the wondrous natural delights at Devil’s Millhopper Park, Alachua also offers numerous outdoor recreational activities like fishing, kayaking, and canoeing at the 75-mile long Santa Fe River. Another point of interest, especially for families with kids, is Poe Springs and the picnic areas it offers.