Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park — a favorite stop along the way!

About ten miles below Gainesville in Micanopy, Florida, you can find signs directing you to take Exit 374 off I-75 for Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.  It was one of those serendipitous turn-of-the-steering-wheel things when husband Bert asked if I wanted to go there.  Why not? was my reply.  And the respite was good for the soul.

Paynes Prairie Preserve

With over 22,000 acres of prairies, marshes, lush greenery, Paynes Praire Preserve is home to 800 species of plants and 400 varieties of vertebrates (alligators among them, as we found out unexpectedly!) Once the largest Spanish cattle ranch in Florida, remnants of ranching stand as a reminder of what the preserve once was — even while hosting today’s activities: biking, camping, hiking, and (our favorite) wildlife viewing.

Driving in to Paynes Prairie Preserve

Driving in to Paynes Prairie Preserve

Quiet walks along the boardwalks leading visitors toward moss-draped trees and open waters can be the peaceful place you need.  But reading the history of the area and seeing the beauty of Alachua Sink gave us pause. We read.  We stopped.  We marveled.  This really was a favorite “stop along the way” of our longer journey.

Paynes Prairie became Florida’s first preserve in 1971 and is now designated a National Natural Landmark.  For more information, click here.

But even better, go see it.

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

100 Savannah Blvd.

Micanopy, FL 32667


About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
This entry was posted in Destination, Florida, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park — a favorite stop along the way!

  1. FreeRangeCow says:

    Oooo! A “ranch” in Florida. Never thought of it, but OF COURSE (duh). And that spanish moss is sooooo lovely. It is BEGGING for a walk.

  2. cmmoxley says:

    No, of course not! Who would be scared of an alligator?

  3. cmmoxley says:

    Wow, beautiful photos, Rusha! It does look so peaceful and inviting. Except for that alligator reference!

    • Rusha Sams says:

      Thanks for reading! Bert spotted the alligators, but since I didn’t have my telephoto lens, I found no reason to go closer. Not scared, of course. Just didn’t have the right lens. 🙂

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