Traveling across the country in an RV isn't just for retirees. People of all ages are discovering RV camping at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is great fun, especially watching herds of bison and wild horses roam through the preserve. The park is located in Micanopy, Florida and is under 30 minutes from Gainesville. Search for an RV in Alachua County and plan to stay awhile visiting all the exciting hangouts in northern Florida.
Bustling Ocala is only a 45-minute drive south of the park, where you'll find excellent shopping and a variety of restaurants, including fresh seafood, Mexican, Italian, and American cuisine. Stop into Reddick to stock up on supplies for your motorhome camping trip.
When camping at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, you'll be able to enjoy hiking through the park’s eight trails. One visitor favorite is the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail, a 16-mile paved trail that winds through the park. A boardwalk on the La Chua Trail allows visitors to walk over the open prairie and view the wild horses. The short Wacahoota Trail leads to a 50-foot observation tower where hikers can enjoy panoramic views and glimpses of the wildlife that calls the park home.
Speaking of wild horses, many people come to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park to see one of the few wild herds to be found in the east. Motorhome camping allows visitors to stay in the park and observe these horses throughout the entire day from early morning until dusk. Visitors can also expect to see deer, bison, alligators, and over 300 different bird species, including the anhinga.
Many visitors enjoy fishing, both from the shore and from a boat on Lake Wauburg. Bring your tackle and fishing pole and try your luck catching perch, crappie, bass, and even catfish. You'll find many shaded places along the banks of Lake Wauburg where you can set up a chair and just enjoy nature while waiting for the fish to take the bait.
Camping at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Planning to camp in an RV at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park? Thirty sites here accommodate tent and RV campers traveling in rigs up to 58 feet long. Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park's campground offers flush toilets, hot showers, and drinking water. Many of the RV campsites are back-in and come with 30-amp hookups, though a handful of sites provide 50-amp service. A dump station is also located near the campground.
If state park RV camping isn't exactly what you had in mind, check out the Ocala North RV Resort in Reddick. This is a luxury RV park that features a heated pool, concrete pads, and modern bathhouses. Full hookups with electric, water, and sewer are available, and guests can also enjoy Wi-Fi and cable TV.
Avid golfers can camp near Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park at the Grand Lake RV and Golf Resort in Citra. Be sure to pack your clubs in your rental RV before heading over to the resort. Full hookups with electric, water, and sewer are available for campers. Guests can use the golf course for a fee, or make use of the tennis and pickleball courts, the billiards room, and the swimming pool. Citra is under 20 minutes from Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.
Exploring the Area
When camping at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, take some time to travel into Gainesville and explore the city's most popular attractions, including Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park. This state park is just northwest of the University of Florida and offers excellent hiking trails and breathtaking picnic spots.
Drop in to see the Florida Museum of Natural History, also in Gainesville. The main public areas are the Powell Hall and McGuire Center, where visitors can wander through the exhibits and learn about Florida’s wetlands, flora, and fauna. Many exhibits center on fossils found within the state, including the Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life and Land exhibit. Other exhibits include Butterfly Rainforest and indoor butterfly exhibits, Our Energy Future, and South Florida People & Environments.
Visit the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo where students in the zookeeper program learn how to manage and maintain a zoo and work with the animals. This ten-acre zoo is part of the Santa Fe College and houses a variety of sea life as well as land animals, such as alligators, bears, big cats, and primates. Even though this is a teaching zoo, it's open to the public and a great place to visit and watch future zookeepers in action.