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Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Micanopy

(4.6/5 based on 180+ reviews on the web)
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a Florida State Park, encompassing a 21000acre savanna in Micanopy, Florida, south of Gainesville. It is also a U.S. National Natural Landmark. It is crossed by both I-75 and U.S. 441 (which has a scenic outlook ramp).HistoryThe prairie became the stronghold of the Alachua band of the Seminole tribe under chief Ahaya the Cowkeeper in the 18th century. It is named for the Cowkeeper's eldest surviving son, Payne.In 1776 the area, then known as Alachua Savannah, was visited by William Bartram who noted in his book, "Bartram's Travels", that it was used as grazing ground by the local Seminole.There have been times when the prairie's drainage became so blocked that it flooded, causing the formation of a lake. The most recent such occurrence was in 1871, and lasted until 1886. During this period, steamboats were a frequent sight on what was called Alachua Lake.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We did the LA Chua trail, which was 3 miles total (out and back). We saw a lot of gators, a few wild horses, many cranes and bison at the end from the observation deck. It was very busy, but a fun out...  more »
  • The place was taken by hordes of alligators and cranes! I hadn't seen as many as at the time of my visit. We also saw herons, ibises and horses. The sunset was astonishing. So much worth the time spen...  more »
  • Huge park to observe thousands of migratory birds that winter in the North to flee to come to Florida. Many swans of different types. Great for light hikes and extended pillows watching the animals. Multiple entries and different tracks.
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  • A hidden treasure in Florida! This state park does not deserve to be so clandestine. I joked I was in Africa's Serengeti when I was on the observation tower because it looks just like all those videos and documentaries I spent my childhood watching on National Geographic and Animal Planet. The trails are long and abundant with wildlife. It is very clean and was very quiet when I visited because it was just after a few storms had passed that afternoon. Saw a lot of deer, a snake, herons and majestic wild horses - unfortunately only from the observation tower and not up close like the others.
  • We had a great visit to this park, one of our favorites in Northern Florida. Hiked the trails and found them to be in good condition. Did not visit the Visitor Center, but in the past it has been worth taking time to visit.
  • Lovely State Park! It has 21,000-acres with 8 different uniue trails. There's a 50-foot-high observation tower near the visitor center that provides a panoramic view of the preserve.I'll definitive recommend you to check out trail #8 at the North entrance, this is the alligator trail, go all the way to the very end to find a breathtaking view. The preserve does have a $4 fee per vehicle or $2 for pedestrians.
  • Home to wild horses, bison, and alligators. Very informative visitor's center with observation tower and a map of recent animal sightings.
  • BIG and beautiful and so close to civilization complete with a lovely observation tower. Sit and stare a while at the top. It's both stunning and serene!!