Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Spring Trip 2021, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Located just south of Gainesville, FL this unique state park is highly diverse with an abundant variety of landscapes and wildlife. The best way to start your visit is by stopping by the visitors center with it's many displays and views of the prairie from the 50 foot high observation tower.
Wild horses roaming the prairie
Exhibits on display at the visitors center
Trail to the Observation Tower from the visitors center
The campground is located in a forested highland hammock with lots of shade and good separation from the other sites.
Lake Wauberg is a short hike away. There is a boat ramp to launch your watercraft and picnic shelters for day visitors. There are trails to hike or ride your bike making for a full range of activities to enjoy.
Ranger interpretive center for visitors
Sail boat on Lake Wauberg
Picnic shelter near Lake Wauberg
Fishing pier on Lake Wauberg
The Prairie was formed by a large sink hole that during wet periods floods the low lying areas creating a large lake. These cycles occur as the Florida aquifer fluctuates during extreme weather events. When the area is dry large herds of wild horses and buffalo can be seen wandering the prairie.
View of the prairie from the observation tower
The prairie is 50 miles in circumference
Buffalo exhibit at the visitors center
A variety of plant life and animal life can be seen on the parks several hiking trails
Long tailed exotic lizard
Hiking trail loop near the visitors center
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a great place for a day visit or to camp out. We were pleasantly surprised and plan to go back during our travels in the future.