Sweetwater Wetlands Park doesn’t offer great hiking. What it does offer is a three and a half of wheelchair accessible strolling with some of the best wetlands birding opportunities you will find in Gainesville or all of central Florida. Those couple of miles can take you hours if you stop to absorb the sites and take each of the visually absorbing and peaceful boardwalks.
Birding at Sweetwater Wetlands Park
No fishing, biking, horseback riding are permitted here. The wetlands and ponds of this 125-acre territory are designed for water preservations and ecological purposes by the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs division of the City of Gainesville. I arrived on a weekend in January during the height of migratory bird season in Florida. Even then, with the parking lot nearly full, I could find myself meeting fellow nature lovers one moment but quite alone amid the wetlands and ponds the next.
This is purely an ecological park, seemingly open to the public at the discretion of the city. Walk, enjoy, take pictures, but do not attempt to otherwise interact with your surroundings or go exploring off designated areas. There are eyes on you.