Visitor Center Closed for Construction: the Visitor Center will be closed from August 3, 2015 until completion of construction (estimated January 2016).
Alachua Sink at Paynes Prairie
Wild horses graze at Paynes Prairie
Views from La Chua Trail at Paynes Prairie
Clouds over the 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
panoramic view of paynes prairie with ducks flying overhead
cumulus clouds over Paynes Prairie
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

Some content on this website is saved in an alternative format. To view these files, download the following free software or you can skip to the main content if you already have the appropriate readers.

  • Use Adobe Acrobat to read Portable Document Format (PDF) files: Download Adobe® Reader®
  • Microsoft Word file viewer and converter programs to enable those who do not have MS- Word or have another version of MS-Word to open and view MS-Word files: Download Word file Viewer
  • Microsoft offers Microsoft Excel file viewer and converter programs to enable those who do not have MS-Excel or have another version of MS-Excel to view MS-Excel files:Download Excel file viewer

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.

Directions to this Park



Open Larger Map for Paynes Prairie State Park

Additional Info