Thank you for visiting our website. Summer is a great time of the year to explore Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. The Preserve encompasses over 22,000 acres of recreational opportunities to enjoy this time of year, such as cycling, walking, equestrian trails, camping, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and boat ramp access to Lake Wauberg. We have a 50 Foot observation tower, and a staffed,...
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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 more than 270 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. Fishing on Lake Wauburg is allowed and a boat ramp provides access for canoes and boats with electric motors. Gasoline powered boats are not allowed. Full-facility campsites are available for overnight visitors. Annual special events include Stargazing Party, Paynes Prairie 5K, and Fire Fest. Other events and ranger programs are available on weekends, November through April.