Florida’s 3rd Congressional District spans six counties in North Central Florida: Alachua, Clay, Putnam, Bradford, Union, and northern Marion, including the city of Ocala. As of the 2020 Census, approximately 766,000 people called this district home. Florida’s 3rd abounds as well with natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities for its residents. The district boasts some of the most beautiful parks in Florida, including Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, the Ocala National Forest, and Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. Outdoor activities are plentiful and consist of mountain biking, hiking, birding, and kayaking. In the northeast portion of the district, the suburbs and exurbs of Jacksonville extend into Clay County. The town of Orange Park, which rests on the St. Johns River, occupies land directly south of Jacksonville while Green Cover Springs is farther down river. In Bradford County, the historic city of Starke serves as the county seat while the nearby Santa Fe Swamp Conservation Area provides a glimpse of historic Florida.
While Union County, at just 250 square miles, is Florida’s smallest county it is nevertheless a charming, natural treasure in North Central Florida. The University of Florida (Go Gators!) and Santa Fe College, both of which are located in Gainesville, meanwhile constitute essential elements of the cultural landscape of Alachua County. UF employs thousands of people in the district, shapes the demographics of Gainesville and the surrounding communities, and provides vital economic opportunities. UF's nationally-ranked health system, which serves the entire state, is based in Gainesville, alongside North Florida Regional Medical Center, an HCA hospital. Gainesville is a unique, bustling college town that provides many interesting locations to visit such as the Florida Museum of Natural History, the world-class Swamp Head Brewery, and 8 amazing state parks. Putnam County, which is located directly east of Alachua, is situated on the banks of the St. Johns River, and is home to multiple preservation areas, such as the Etoniah Creek State Forest and the Rice Creek Conservation Area. In addition, Putnam County includes the communities of Interlachen, Palatka, and Crescent City. Marion County contains the beautiful Ocala National Forest which stretches across the eastern portion of the county. The people of Florida’s 3rd District work most commonly in the education, healthcare, and social service sectors though the local economy is diverse.