Now Reading
The Ultimate UF Bucket List

The Ultimate UF Bucket List

The Ultimate UF Bucket List

Once you’re a Gator, you’re a Gator for life, and you’re always proud of it. We carry our memories (or lack thereof) with us forever, so it’s important to make the most of your years here at the University of Florida. Your time in the Swamp is ticking away and there are a number of cliché things you must do before you graduate. Here is the Ultimate UF Bucket List; you need to complete these before walking the stage and receiving your long-awaited diploma!

1. Take on the world’s largest outdoors cocktail party!

…I mean, the Florida-Georgia game.

Cheering on the Gators in the Swamp is just a natural part of what we do, but piling into buses and taking a trip to Jacksonville, Florida for the heated Florida-Georgia rivalry is a whole new kind of adventure. Georgia Bulldog fans will bark at you, Florida Gator fans will chomp at you, and literally everyone will tailgate with you. It’s frequently referred to as the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party – making it a small road trip for a big experience.

2. Dodge bats at the batting cages.

Although mildly terrifying, slightly smelly, and rather unusual, everyone has to go down to the Bat House at least once. You get to watch the thousands of bats fly out all at the same time. UF has one the largest freestanding bat houses in North America; what other college can say something like that? It may not be Gotham City, but dodging bats is surely an experience not many people can say they’ve had.



3. Graffiti on 34th Street.

Best thing? It’s totally legal!

One of the many unique things about UF is that we actually encourage your graffiti, at least on 34th Street. 45 panels long and an estimated 250+ layers of paint, “the wall on 34th” is known to students as our unofficial announcement board. From birthdays to congratulations to protests, the wall has seen it all. Grab a few friends, some paint supplies, and a creative idea…and live out your dreams of being a rebel (without actually doing anything illegal).

4. Sweat, scream, and stomp for your Florida Gators.

You’re not even really a Gator until you spend your Saturdays with 90,000 of your closest friends in the Swamp cheering on the beloved Gators. Even if you have a minimal understanding of sports (which is totally fine) the sea of orange and blue, the infinite chanting, and the classic sway to the tune of “We Are the Boys” is all you’ve ever needed. Gator fans in the Swamp could put Roman gladiators in the Colosseum to shame, and, boy, do we try.


5. Tailgate as a TailGator.

Attending a Gator football game is a definite necessity for UF students and all Gator fans; however, equally as important is the tailgating beforehand (and let’s be real, after, too). It is simply part of the UF lifestyle. Everywhere you look around campus there are hundreds of corn-hole games, DJs, bounce houses, snow cone machines, barbecues, and drinking. Every single one of those activities or food items will be dripping in orange and blue. There really is nothing like waking up at 7:30AM to tailgate for a noon kickoff…all for the Gator good, right?


6. Figure out what FTK really stands for at Dance Marathon.

And participate in Dance Marathon yourself!

Dance Marathon is one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the world; at this event, we raise money for UFHealth Shands Children’s Hospital, our local Children’s Miracle Network hospital. Students at UF spend the entire year raising money and then stand for 26.2 hours for those who can’t. Each hour has different themes, dances, and activities to keep the students awake and lively throughout this marathon. “Miracle families” go on stage and tell their story, reminding everyone why this event is so important. During the latest Dance Marathon, UF students raised $2,434,315.18! All “for the kids” #FTK. Join a club and join in the fun. Dance Marathon is an experience you don’t want to miss!



7. Play in Lake Wauberg.

The oasis in the swamp.

Gainesville doesn’t have the nickname of the “swamp” for no reason. It’s hot. And not your average Florida heat. It’s a special kind of burning, sticky, overpowering heat. This is why most of our outdoor activities include water (yes, that does mean there are real gators everywhere in this city). Lake Wauberg is a favorite among UF students, as you can go canoeing, sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, water skiing, wake-boarding, and wall climbing. There are even areas for rope courses, beach volleyball, Frisbee, and barbecues. It’s the perfect place to escape the heat, avoid studying, and hang out with friends.

8. Count gators at Lake Alice.

(No, not the students this time).

Many people believe that we’re home of the Gators simply because of Albert and Alberta, but how wrong that is… If there is just a puddle of water on the ground, then you can be confident that there is an alligator in it. Lake Alice is the perfect place to stroll along the paths, relax on some benches, explore a few docks, and count the families of alligators that call it home. Stay alert though; the “gator chomp” is a whole lot more than a cute pose we do in pictures.



9. Find out what a real rowdy reptile is in Midtown.

For those of you looking to enjoy the stereotypical “college party experience”, all your hopes and dreams have culminated in Midtown…it’s dirty, smelly, chaotic, and the epitome of a college party. But more importantly, it’s home and we love it. If you’ve ever wanted to see everyone you’ve ever known in one place, go to Swamp for some food and drinks. Maybe you’d like to be (or pretend to be) an international traveler for a low price? Hit the Salty Dog for the Around the World challenge. Cantina, however, is the true meaning of Sunday Funday and all Gators know it. There is also the Rowdy Reptile, Fat Daddy’s, Grog, the list goes on. Don’t worry, there are restaurants you can visit to try and cure the questionable decisions of the night and avoid any MIPs, like Jimmy Johns, Tijuana Flats, Relish, and Pita Pit. Midtown on any given night, especially after a football game, is where we prove what a real “Rowdy Reptile” is, if you know what I mean.



10. Discover the wild secrets of Payne’s Prairie.

Gainesville has many hidden gems to explore, but this 21,000 acre area isn’t quite a small secret. Payne’s Prairie is one of the most biologically unique ecosystems in the southern United States. At any given moment, you can see alligators, hundreds of different species of birds, and even wild horses roaming around. It’s a beautiful place to hike, bike, picnic, or even grab a tent and spend the night under the stars. Take advantage of the magnificent state park we have right here in our backyard!

11. Enjoy an adventurous getaway at Ginnie Springs.

Ginnie Springs is another favorite outdoor water spot where you can rent a float or bring your own to go river tubing, swimming, canoeing, snorkeling, or diving. There are even various campsites for an overnight adventure. There are 7 natural springs in the area with millions of gallons of fresh water, grottos, and wildlife. It is just the thing you need for a mini getaway on a sunny afternoon!

See Also


12. Experience a cultural meal with Krishna Lunch.

It’s almost a rule that all college students must be broke, so when we can find a large quantity of food for a low price, we’re all in. Krishna lunch is a $5 cultural UF tradition served Monday through Friday in the Plaza of the Americas. There are always people in hammocks, dancing, eating, singing, playing music, and enjoying the vegetarian buffet of food. Considering the amount of times you’ll walk by it, you have to stop at least once and try it.



13. Keep that freshman 15 alive with Midnight cookies.

There are many things that make a Gator, but none quite like the experience of ordering Midnight Cookies. It’s simply a rite of passage as a UF student. If you’re up late studying, having a movie night with your girls, or trying to manage the munchies of the crazy night you had, these oversized delights are just what you need. Warm, fresh baked cookies and milk sent straight to your door? Miracles do exist.


14. Stroll around Downtown Gainesville.

Just off campus is downtown Gainesville, filled with shops, restaurants, parks, and fun activities throughout the year. During the day it’s great to walk around and spend all that money you’re pretending you have on new game day dresses and treats, like Hyppo Popsicle (a must in Gainesville). There is even a farmer’s market perfect for that foodie culture; local growers sell all kinds of products you didn’t know you needed. Once the sun goes down, downtown is filled with people all dressed up for celebratory dinners and nights in the various clubs.


15. Explore the heavenly magic of Devil’s Den.

As if there weren’t enough natural adventures to be had in the Gainesville area, Devil’s Den is one of the most beautiful and sought after. The main attraction is an underground spring inside a dry cave where you can explore, swim, and scuba dive. The water is a cool 72 degrees year round, making it the perfect escape from that 100 degree weather we endure. The mesmerizing natural beauty isn’t too bad either.

Which of these ideas are you going to add to your UF bucket list? Comment below and share this article with friends!
Featured image:,