Florida Guide > State Parks
Paynes Prairie Preservation State Park covers an impressive 21000 acres and is situated in Miconopy about 10 miles south of Gainseville.
It was the first State Preserve in Florida (having been so designated in 1971) and is geologically unique and houses an abundance of wildlife.
They can trace human habitation here to an astonishing 12000 years ago. During the mid seventeeth century the largest spanish style ranch was here and later in 1774 William Bartram besowed the bowl with the name of The Great Aluchua Savannah.
In the 70s the area was occupied by the Seminoles (Native Americans) who named the area after King Payne (one of the Seminole chiefs)
However, in 1871, the basin began to fill with flood water and the resulting lake was used by steam boats to ferry both goods and peeople.
Some 20 years later the sink was un blocked and the lake slowly returned to marsh which made it a lush environment for cattle once more.
Now you can enjoy this natural park through its 8 trails and view bison, wild horses and of course, alligators.
As I write a boardwalk is under construction which will make the viewing easier in the wetter months. This will run 1000 feet from the prairie to the aluchua sink.
The best times to go to this particular park is on a weekend when the rangers run walks and talks. Also there are guided canoe and kayak trips. Special events happen quite often and you need to contact the center to see when these happen. These walks are well woth attending for the wealth of knowledge the rangers have and are graded from easy to more challenging hikes that may take up most of half a day
The entry cost is a modest $4 per vehicle with up to 8 passengers with an even lower fee for small groups.
As always with this sort of state park take all you need with you. This should include sun screen, a shady hat, insect repellant, sun glasses, camera and binoculars. Also vital is lots to drink and snacks.
There are several other State Parks in the Gainseville area and a park ranger will advise you on a good choice for your group. There are many hotels in Gainseville to stay overnight if you do not want the drive back to the Attractions area
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
100 Savannah Blvd.
Micanopy, Florida 32667
Phone: 352-466-3397Citizen Support Organization
Friends of Paynes Prairie, Inc.
100 Savannah Boulevard
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