Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Micanopy

4.6
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State Park · Nature / Park
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Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a Florida State Park, encompassing a 21,000-acre (85 km2) savanna in Alachua County, Florida lying between Micanopy and 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). It is in the center of the Paynes Prairie Basin. The basin's primary source of drainage is Alachua Sink. During occasional wet periods, the basin will become full. A notable period occurred from 1871 to 1891 when the Alachua Sink was temporarily blocked. During this period, shallow draft steamboats were a frequent sight on Alachua Lake in the center of the prairie. The region was also historically known as the Alachua Savannah. Its drainage has been modified by several canals. Since 1927, Camps Canal has linked the basin to the River Styx which leads to Orange Lake and eventually the Atlantic Ocean through the St. Johns River. That reduced the basins water intake by half. Additional changes to the prairie's environment have been detrimental to its hydrology. In 1970, the state of Florida acquired the land and has been in the process of restoring the environment to a more natural condition ever since.
Heavy rains have temporarily restored Alachua Lake on several occasions, most recently in September 2017, when Hurricane Irma dropped several inches of rain and damaged a levee, flooding much of the basin for months.
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Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
291 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • This is such a beautiful location. We saw tons of wildlife, including wild horses. There is not a lot of shade, and be sure to bring water. 
    This is such a beautiful location. We saw tons of wildlife, including wild horses. There is not a lot of shade, and be sure to bring water.  more »
  • This is a medium sized Campground - 50 sites with spots for RVs, and tents. The large RV sites are mostly level with convenient hookups that functioned properly. The fairly private sites are what... 
    This is a medium sized Campground - 50 sites with spots for RVs, and tents. The large RV sites are mostly level with convenient hookups that functioned properly. The fairly private sites are what...  more »
Google
  • We enjoyed our Sabbath here! We saw Wild Horses, a baby gator who caught a snake, deer, lots of birds, armadillo, but no bison. They have lots of trails here. Visiting Center with a small museum. That was nice. Picnic area by the water. The bathrooms were okay. On hot days remember to bring lots of water and wear a hat. They have a tower which was awesome. Remember to bring binoculars so you can see out in the prairie. Highly recommend checking them out. Staff were friendly as well.
  • Great camp ground a cool place. You have to drive a ways to see the wild horses and bison. Only water and electric hookups. good dump station. can be very tight getting in but sires are roomy and private and quiet. Can be a lot of biting insect towards sunset and in camping area. Great for birding and fishing and many nice trails.

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