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“Paynes Prairie is big and beautiful, but don't count on seeing much wildlife.”

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Ranked #1 of 16 things to do in Micanopy
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Nature area with woods and swamp as well as an information center describing the wildlife in the area.
Reviewed July 29, 2011

My girlfriend and I visited Paynes Prairie in hopes of seeing some of the wild bison, scrub cattle, and horses that had been reintroduced into the park. So we spent a whole day walking the various trails through the forest and around the prairie. While we saw a couple armadillos and some birds, we didn't see any of the animals we came for. But it's a beautiful park, and I appreciate that it's big enough for the wildlife inside to roam free without constantly being spectacles for tourists.

Thank mightymonkey98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (219)
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207 - 211 of 219 reviews

Reviewed February 7, 2011

As a teenager growing up in Ocala, Florida who happened to be an outdoors enthusiast, Payne's Prairie was a great place to explore. A short road trip offered great camping, even better fishing, and superb wildlife viewing. My husband and I visited my old hangout in 2010 (his first time to Florida), and we were tickled to have a midnight visitor at our tent: a very curious- and vocal!- raccoon. The bathhouse is well-maintained and has plenty of hot water, a feature I took for granted before moving to and traveling around Alaska! Payne's Prairie is a great sample of Florida's diverse geography, with a classic example of the Old South- Micanopy- just a few minutes down the road.

1  Thank mcriggon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2010

Very nice, no frills state park. There's a visitor center and a lot of shady hiking trails. It has a great observation deck to look out over the prairie. There is also a campground (for RVs - with hookups).

The best thing is the bird watching. In the lake area near the campground, I saw hawks, a bald eagle, sandhill cranes, herons, and a lot of little birds. It was a beautiful day and nice to walk around. The admittance fee was very cheap (either $2 or $4 to get in).

PLENTY of picnic tables all over the park. I highly recommend it.

Thank tczig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2010

We drove all over looking for alligators. Nothing panned out until we got here to Paynes Prairie Preserve. Enter the preserve at the La Chua trail on the north end. It's tricky to find, so get directions from the ranger at the south entrance.

Alligators galore! Come in the afternoon when the sun is warm and the beasts have come out onto the banks of the stream. You walk along a boardwalk for awhile and then onto a wide grassy path. Nothing between you and the gators! They are HUGE. I hear there is an observation deck after a mile and a half, but we didn't have the time to go all the way there and back. But we saw plenty!

16  Thank LiveSmall,TravelBig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2010

We stayed two nights at the campground in our popup camper. All of the campsites each have there own secluded area, which is nice BUT BEWARE OF TICKS! We never even went into the woods and between the three of us, we brought home 7 ticks. I'm sure glad we didn't take our dog. There's no telling how many he would have attracted. This is a nice park, but the infestation of ticks is just awful. I realize ticks are part of nature, but this was a bit much for me!

3  Thank campingfamily3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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