Paynes Prairie Campground Closure: The campground at Paynes Prairie is currently closed for renovations.  We anticipate opening by 2019, if not sooner.  Reservations are not currently available online, but will become...
Partial Trail Closures: Partial Trail Closures: La Chua Trail is open from the parking lot to the end of the boardwalk; the portion of the trail past the boardwalk is closed due to high water levels.  Bolen Bluff Trail...
Alachua Sink at Paynes Prairie
Wild horses graze at Paynes Prairie
Clouds over the prairie
Views from La Chua Trail at Paynes Prairie
Alligator catches bowfin at Paynes Prairie
Whooping and sandhill cranes at Paynes Prairie
Fishing boat on Lake Wauberg
Wading birds at sunset at Paynes Prairie
Alachua Sink with Flowers
wild horses grazing at paynes prairie
cumulus clouds over Paynes Prairie
panoramic view of paynes prairie with ducks flying overhead
gator catching bowfin in the water
whooping cranes and sandhill cranes wading
view of lake wauberg with small fishing boat in center
assorted wading birds wading in water at sunset

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Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Welcome to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Paynes Prairie is biologically, geologically and historically unique. This park became Florida´s first state preserve in 1971 and is now designated as a National Natural Landmark. Noted artist and naturalist William Bartram called it the great Alachua Savannah when he wrote about his visit to the prairie in 1774.

More than 20 distinct biological communities provide a rich array of habitats for wildlife and livestock, including alligators, bison, horses and nearly 300 species of birds. Exhibits and an audio-visual program at the visitor center explain the area´s natural and cultural history. A 50-foot-high observation tower near the visitor center provides a panoramic view of the preserve.

Eight trails provide opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and bicycling, including the 16 mile long, paved Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail. There is a fishing pier on Lake Wauberg, and a boat ramp provides access for canoes and boats with electric motors in Lake Wauberg.  Gasoline powered boats are not allowed. Full-facility campsites are available for overnight visitors.

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is featured on the Firsthand Florida Fun Blog. Experience this park with Erika Z.’s YouTube video and check out past blog posts from other Florida State Parks.

Directions to this Park


Open Larger Map for Paynes Prairie State Park

Additional Info