Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park

Florida has many nice state parks with good campgrounds. Payne’s Prairie is one we have been curious about for a very long time. Every trip north or south on I-75 crosses Payne’s Prairie near Gainesville. The campground is accessed from the south side near Micanopy. There are 50 campsites which offer electric and water hookups as well as very nice restrooms and showers. There is a dump station too. For tenters there are fine campsites off the main loop. Our smaller 25 foot RV fit in very nicely.

We visited in December and the weather was very mild – warm days and cool nights. The prairie is 27,000 acres of mostly wetlands with an amazing abundance of wildlife. It is home to a small herd of bison which once roamed Florida. Many wild horses and cattle descended from those brought by the early Spanish explorers find home here. Birdlife is abundant as well for migratory and resident birds. The park has a fine visitor center and museum interpreting the nature and history. Staff are friendly and knowledgeable. While we were there we saw bison, horses, alligators, eagles, deer, owls, egrets, ibis, herons, bitterns, gallinules and anhinga as well as others we could not identify.

27000 acre Payne’s Prairie Preserve
State park trail
American bison (butt)
American alligator – one of the largest we’ve ever seen
American bittern
Anhinga “Snakebird”
Wild horse standing in flooded prairie

We enjoyed the campground, wildlife and many trails. Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park is one we would highly recommend.

This entry was posted in Florida, RV Travel, State Parks and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park

  1. Carol says:

    Great photos. Thanks for taking us along.


  2. Carol H says:

    Love how you two are continuing your exploring nature adventures. Great photos, especially the one where you are eye-to-eye with the biggest alligator ever.


  3. Tony says:

    Randy and Diane,
    Loved seeing photos from Payne’s Prairie! You got to see an amazing array of wildlife! We saw birds and gators but not the others you saw! Your big gator looks familiar to one we saw at Alachua trail though! Look forward to seeing you this week at DeSoto!
    Tony and Belinda


  4. Ken O'Brien says:

    Randy and Diane – Payne’s Prairie is now on the list. Thanks for keeping up the travel guide.


  5. Chris says:

    The adventures continue, love it! Enjoy!


Comments are closed.