It can be easy to find yourself holed up in a 3rd Marston booth all of finals week, but it is so important to spend meaningful time away from the canvas homepage and textbooks. Thankfully, Gainesville has so many hidden gems where you can spend time outside and appreciate the beauty that mother nature has to offer. This semester, my Pi Beta Phi sisters and I have spent time discovering the best places to unwind and spend quality time together during midterms and finals.
The Holy Grail that is Paynes Prairie: Paynes is the perfect place for a quick visit if you’re in a time crunch. What is a quick 10 minute drive away from Pi Beta Phi feels like a whole other world. There’s nothing quite like a sunset drive to paynes with the windows down blasting music with your sisters after dinner.
Sweetwater Wetland Park, land of the gators: I first discovered this spot years ago when I visited my brother for the first time in Gainesville, and 4 years later it has become my favorite place for a nature walk or hot girl run. After a day in the library, there is no better feeling than spending time in nature with your sisters. I can't count the number of times my Pi Beta Phi sisters and I have come here, and everytime it feels just as special as the first time.
Lake Alice, our secret spot: Just a 5 minute walk from Pi Beta Phi is our secret spot that is Lake Alice. If you have not been yet I cannot recommend it enough. Whether it be hammocking, a picnic, or a walk, Lake Alice is such a great place to spend time with your sisters. A bonus is if you go around sunset you may even catch the bats leaving the bat houses, a sight that you have to witness at least once during your time at UF.
Overall, this semester especially has made me appreciate all that Gainesville has to offer and the importance of spending time outside. I can't wait to come back next fall and explore nature even more with my sisters, and I hope you do the same. Xoxo.
Gabriela Mantilla & all of Pi Beta Phi