Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Micanopy

4.6
#63 of 185 in Nature in Florida
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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Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park Reviews
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219 reviews
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4.7
TripAdvisor
  • August 28, 2017
    We were actually the first visitors on an early Sunday morning (gates open at 8am!) ..... and we saw 5 or 6 deer,a wild turkey and from the observation tower behind the visitors center the resident he...  more »
  • July 19, 2017
    I have always wanted to see the wild bison and horses I had heard and read about, and finally I went, and I got very, very lucky and saw both (and even had a horse come right up to me). The bison were...  more »
  • July 6, 2017
    My wife and I biked the Dike Trail recently. It is one of the longer trails, and not all that shady. But it is worth the effort and time. This is the trail that ventures out along the edge of the prai...  more »
Google
  • June 28, 2017
    Friendly staff. I also ran into a few friendly hikers at the north entrance. I saw tons of alligators and a wild horse very close by (maybe 10 feet off of the trail). Like the rest of Florida, it's very flat, so it doesn't make for that exciting of a hike but that's to be expected. If you want to see wild alligators, look no further; they're everywhere here
  • June 28, 2017
    I love this park. It's large with lots of trails of varying lengths, and the scenery is beautiful. There's also opportunities to encounter bison and wild horses. Since the park is so large there multiple entrances depending on what trails and activities you'd like to experience.
  • April 21, 2017
    Great trails for all skill levels. Awesome views from the observation tower. Educational visitors center with air conditioned bathrooms. Indoor viewing area of the preserve when you need to take a break.
  • June 17, 2017
    Great site. Shaded but hot. Many bike trails, picnic areas, and history. Loved the observation tower and the north entrance to the prairie. We also recommend visiting the Marjorie Rawlings home in Cross Creek. Ric & Diana Houle
  • July 6, 2017
    Loved it. Beautiful trails and views. Exceptional camping area with electricity. Kids were very happy.

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