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Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park was rated 8 out of 10 based on 31 user reviews. Phone: (352) 466-3397
CGID738

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Camp Information
Sites
48
Date of Stay
April 2014
Latest Rate
$20



Hookups
Electric
yes
50amp
yes
Water
yes
Sewer
no
Wireless Internet
no
Cable TV
no
Accommodations
Pull-Thru Sites
no
Big Rig Access
no
Waterfront Access
no
Shade Trees
yes
Pool Access
no
Pets Allowed
yes
Tents Allowed
yes
Family Friendly
yes
Latest Review Information
Ratings (Last 10 Newest/Oldest)
8   8   8   6   9   8   7   8   8   9   
Clean Restrooms (Last 5 Newest/Oldest)
yes  question  question  yes  yes  
Clean Showers (Last 5 Newest/Oldest)
yes  question  question  yes  question  
Review Rating
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[ 8 / 10 ]
April 2014
$20
Shady sites with native vegetation screening between neighbors. Ours was one of the sites upgraded to 50 amp service, a nice plus. Lots of hiking & biking trails. Close to I-75 but no traffic noise. Not far from Gainesville so good Verizon & OTA TV signals. Bargain price for what you get. We camped here in a Motorhome.

Adertisement:
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[ 8 / 10 ]
April 2014
$20
Nice quiet park. Good size sites for a state park. The staff is functional and not much help. The help center volunteers try real hard, but do not know much. The good bicycle trail is 10 miles away at the other end of the preserve. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
January 2014
$18
This park was selected due to the National Geographic State Parks books. We arrived at night after a storm had knocked out the electricity. The camping sites are very close together. The road signs into the campground are hard to see after dark. Very small and almost hidden. The ranger was very helpful. This is an older campground that is not as updated as some of the other Florida State Parks. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 6 / 10 ]
August 2013
$10
We stayed here to visit family in Gainesville. Speaking only to the issues of the campground, not one of the better Florida State Park campgrounds. Entry roads, turns, sites and trees are not especially big rig friendly and might be more suited to pop-up trailers or tents. The trees and bushes around the campground roads need trimming. The road is paved but needs repaving. The sites are sand and rock. Hookups were OK and restrooms were dated but clean. Our rate was Senior Florida Resident. We would stay again if in the area, but only because it is the only place in that area. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
May 2012
$19
This is a very nice State Park. There are many trees which can make it a challenge to back into a site. Lots of good trails for biking and hiking.It is very convenient to Gainesville for shopping, dining and sightseeing. There is a lake in the park for fishing, kayaking and rowing. We stayed here twice and would stay again. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
January 2012
$26
Off I-75 about 5 miles. Closely spaced dirt sites with brush clutter between. Bathhouse O.K. Paved road to nature center giving history and geology of prairie, with observation tower overlooking Paynes prairie. There is a boat put in. Several nature trails. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 7 / 10 ]
November 2011
$20
This park is more like a camping park than a RV Park. It has excellent sites and is completely shaded. The hiking/biking trails are great as is the nearby town of Micanopy. The Nature Center was unexpectedly closed when we visited it. The observation tower gives a great view of a huge prairie but we saw no wildlife from it. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
July 2011
$10
Just want to reaffirm previous reviews and stress that this park has the cleanest and best maintained bath houses for a state park that I have used. Nice mornings, "Hot" PM's. We will be back to stay for a few days in the fall. Rates reflect senior Florida resident. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
May 2011
$10
The rate we paid reflects Florida resident senior, which is 1/2 price. Sites are well shaded and separated by vegetation. Lots of squirrels, but they are not aggressive. On our walk we saw deer and other wildlife. There are plenty of trails for hikers and a boat ramp for kayaks or canoes. Pleasant for Florida summer. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
May 2011
$18
Great State Park. Easy to get into spots with plenty of shade and trees/shrubs for privacy. We stayed in #14 and it was great. We biked on all the trails and really enjoyed them. The dike trail was long and not much shade but we left early. We had bison that crossed right in front of us and headed away from us (thankfully). We did not visit the Visitor Center as we had been there before. Saw lots of deer on day 2 on our bike ride. We were surprised the park was not full especially since we'd tried to get reservations several different times. Close to home so we will probably come again. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
March 2011
$20
We stayed in site #17. We chose this site because we have visited the park before on a rainy weekend and noted what sites drained off quickly and which ones did not. I mention this because all the sites are hard limestone and if you have one of our FL showers and do not pick your site well you could have a pond for several days in your site. It did not rain on us this visit, so all was good. Sites are very shady, most are wide. About 1/2 have tent pads in them so if your RV is long do not choose one of these sites. There was no ranger talk even though it showed on the website. Luckily we were with a group so did not miss it. Baths were clean but old. Nice shower area with plenty of room so your things would not get wet. We toured the nearby Museum of Natural History in GNV as well as the zoo on the campus of Santa Fe CC. Both were well worth the visits. We only went up the observation tower once and were able to see the wild horses nearby, but no bison. This is a great park, just book early during football weekends for home games as U of F is so close by. Town of Micanopy is very quaint and reminds us of Old Florida. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 10 / 10 ]
September 2010
$18
Excellent Roads, very shady sites, unable to get satellite, but received local network channel, both AT&T and Verizon service. The park was a beautiful state preserve with a herd of bison, wild horses and cows, lots of wildlife. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
July 2010
$14
Our third visit here. In 3 nights and 2 days, without trying, we saw 9 deer plus 2 spotted fawns that hang out near the visitor center, 2 turkeys and many types of birds. Every site here is good, restrooms and showers are clean, and woods are beautiful. We stayed in the Magnolia area on site 40. Some of the sites 38 to 46 could be a problem in a heavy rain as they slope a bit downhill from the road. Do visit the visitor center and take the short walk to the 50' observation tower. We did not see the wild Spanish horses or the wild bison but did not hike or ride any of the prairie trails. There are several long and short trails in the park. We did see many deer and on a previous visit, had to wait while a 4' gator crossed the road (To get to the other side?). While there, we took short side trips to Micanopy (Antique heaven and where they filmed part of the movie "Doc Hollywood") , to the Museums of Art and of Natural History in Gainesville. Micanopy is about 5 minutes and the museums are about 20 minutes from the park. Take US 441 North, not I-75 for the most scenic and shortest route to Gainesville. A great place, not over-crowded, friendly personnel, clean and very shady, good hiking. What more could your want? We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
April 2010
$20
This is a very nice park. It has nice paved and unpaved roads for bike riding and hiking. Majority of the sites are large with privacy foliage between each. The bathhouse was clean with large shower and enclosed changing areas. The changing area had a bench, a shelf, and several hooks (love that!). The rangers were very friendly and helpful. There is a nice visitor center and observation tower. If you are lucky you can see wild horses and bison from the tower. We saw one horse and one bison in four days time. There is a small boardwalk overlooking the lake where we saw alligators (adults and babies), Water Moccasins, small and large turtles, and several species of water birds. We also saw many deer throughout the park, some of them were still spotted fawns. The only downside was the numerous biting yellow deer flies and ticks. We will return to the park, but at a different time of year to avoid the fly and tick season. The nearby Florida Museum of Natural History and the Butterfly Rainforest, located on the UF campus, are well worth drive, especially the Butterfly Rainforest. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
March 2010
$20
If you have a big rig be careful, the roads are very narrow. Most sites are on the small size. All sites have lots of shade. The park is great for hiking, biking, canoeing, and kayaking. We saw lots of wildlife, including alligators, bison, wild horses, deer and wild turkeys. A 50-foot-high observation tower near the visitor center provides a panoramic view of the preserve. The wild horses were at the tower on our visit. To see the bison we hiked on one of the prairie trails. Well worth the easy hike. It got warm on our last day and the bugs came out, on the other days there were very few bugs. We will camp here again. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
March 2010
$20
Camping in a forest is the best way we can describe this. If you like hiking, biking, trekking and don't care about the usual camp ground facilities, this is the place for you. There is a big lake right next to the camp ground (electric engines only allowed). Has clean toilet/bath facilities. Beware if you travel in a 40-foot coach or similar. Roads are very narrow and reversing into your site can be a challenge. Make sure to disconnect your toad before getting to the actual camp ground area. We didn't and that was a mistake. We would camp here again. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
November 2009
$18
If you want to visit "old Florida", to see the rustic beauty of the landscape, and the wildlife (birds, 'gators, deer, etc) and privacy of being in the woods, then this campground is a must! As is all of Florida State campgrounds, the access roads are long, taken you off the beaten paths of civilization. This is truly an asset! Enjoy the walking/biking trails and by all means the visit the visitors center and look over the prairie which used to be a lake (with steamboats on it!). We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 10 / 10 ]
January 2009
$16
A great find--water and electric for less than $20, clean bathrooms in good shape and with hot showers, quiet, shaded sites. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
December 2008
$16
This is truly a wonderfully located campground. It is a state park and doesn’t have the frills of a commercial operation, but the sites are large and the facilities are very nice. We found the bathrooms to be clean. There is a lot of day use activity and no wonder why as this is a very interesting place for an unusual geological place. The video in the visitor’s center records the area from beginning to end and is very informative. You can walk right out onto the prairie. Bison, Spanish horses, original cracker cattle roam on the prairie, but we did not see any. We did see three deer during our stay. We ended up staying a third day to go see a wonderful Museum of Natural History at the U of F (free by the way). We will definitely be back at this wonderful park. You can reserve through ReserveAmerica. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 7 / 10 ]
September 2008
$8
Road in to park are very small, winding, and have low trees over the road in some places. Most trees we have every found in a state park. At times sites are dark. Deer walk around in mid day on roads. Sites are on the small side from other S/P in FL. A 40 foot motorhome will fit with little room for tow. Sites are gravel/shell mix and could use more gravel or shell. We had 50 amp with water, table, and fire ring. I could not find more sites that had 50 amps. DTV will pick up small number of channels over the air. Sat. TV will be hard to do but couple of sites did have a little less tree cover. Hard to see other sites due to heavy tree and ground cover from site to site. You have a visitor center and lots of trails to walk on. Lake Wauberg for fishing and boats with no gas engines. Playground equipment for kids near campground. 21 sites for RV units and 27 sites for tents. In mid Sep. on weekend, park only had a very small number of people. Visit small town of Micanopy close by (Historic). About 10 miles to Gainesville for food and supply's. Very small store close by may have some items you need. Gates are locked at night and no lights in park, very dark. Eight dollar rate was off due to age 65 and we live in FL. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 10 / 10 ]
June 2008
$15
We camped here while taking a summer class at University of FL. It was a wonderful, quiet, clean place to stay. The campground is in a forest and has lots of shade - good for summer in Florida. The restrooms and showers were very nice and were cleaned daily. The only thing that would have made it better was if there was wifi. We drove to the Gainesville Public Library downtown where they have free wifi. The dump station was easy to use, and in the campground. We actually paid $7.50 a night because one of us is 65 or older and a FL resident. The park is only 10 miles south of Gainesville and it is a 4-lane road and short drive. We would definitely stay here again. The pizza place in Micanopy was terrific! We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 7 / 10 ]
February 2008
$17
Another standard Florida Park system park. Clean and well managed. This is one of the few parks in the system where I'd have to say the operators/rangers are unpleasant and officious. The attitude problem has to come from the top down. They are known to issue traffic tickets to bicyclists in the park. I had one give me a lecture on not having a reservation for 5 minutes when it turned out that the campground was more than half empty. Other than hiking, canoing and birding there are no other major activities that can be done at this park. If you hike, be alert for ticks, for some reason this park is infested with them. There are a lot of birds in this park and other critters. It has the only Buffalo herd in Florida that I know of but they keep them in remote parts of the park and I have never set eyes on them in many visits. Lots of gators here too. There are occasional Ranger led night hikes and canoe trips. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 7 / 10 ]
February 2008
$15
We had site # 17. Near to bathhouse and sidewalk to playground/picnic area. Sites are hard limestone that takes awhile to drain after it rains. It rained all night after we arrived and some sites seemed like small ponds the next morning. Most had drained off by the afternoon but not sites #1 and #40. They still had water under the rvs that were parked there. Most sites were a little muddy after the rain. The mosquitos were thick because of the rain. Winter is normally our dry season in FL but I won't complain about them because we need the rain so badly. We were going to sit outside in our screen shelter to avoid them but couldn't because the rain had broken it. Bathrooms were mostly clean. I did walk in once and found tp on the floor and toilets that weren't flushed (how gross!)I don't blame the hosts for that, just dumb campers. The showers were clean though we didn't use them, so I don't know about water pressure or temperature. Each site gets a large picnic table, fire ring and stand up grill. We attended a ranger talk on FL snakes. Was informative and had very good slides to go with it. When booking a site be careful to avoid sites 41, 44, 45 as these sites had a tent pad directly behind campsite so unless your rv is short like 25 feet you won't be able to get all the way in. Most others have the pad on the side on the site so they are ok. We saw bison on the dike trail, though we had to bike ride about 1.5 miles to see them. Normally you won't see them from the observation tower near the visitors center but you can see cattle and horses. Time your exit carefully because if more than 1 rig is waiting to dump the exit road from the campground is blocked until they move forward. We would camp here again. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
January 2008
$27
Very nice park. Some of the sites were not very level and may be difficult for bigger units to get into, but we are small, so it wasn't a problem for us. Most Florida State Parks have laundry facilities, but this one did not. Good location south of Gainesville. Micanopy has several interesting antique shops, which are fun to pick through. We'll be back. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
December 2007
$16
We only stayed here for one night as we were on the way to South Florida and the park is within a few miles of I-75. When we come back we'll stay several days. This park is very nice & quiet with excellent facilities for a state park. Nice lakes & trails (though the trails have lots of sand so biking on them can be difficult). We even saw Bison at the park. Most RV sites have plenty of foilage for privacy. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.

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[ 5 / 10 ]
December 2007
$15
This is an older Florida State Park campground. I reserved a site for two nights. I called ahead to make sure my 38' triple-slide Class A would fit into the sites. I was told by the park office "Yes". I just happened to be in the area before this weekend and stopped by the park to check out the sites. No way could my motorhome fit into the site I reserved through Reserve America. As a matter of fact, there were probably only 3 to 4 sites that would accommodate anything over 35'. The dump station would also be a problem for a large Class A. This is a nicely wooded campground and the park itself is great. I caution anyone with a large motorhome to ask many questions at the park office before reserving a site. Also, ask where the tent pad is located if your potential site has one. Most of the tent pads are part of the back in driveway. They told me the site I reserved was 53 x 16 feet. With the tall trees on each side of the site, I would not have been able to use the picnic table or the fire ring. All I would have had room for was the RV and that's it. Tents, Class C's and small Class A's will work just fine in this campground. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
April 2007
$15
This is a beautiful state campground next to Lake Wauberg where the University of Florida sailing team practices. There are numerous opportunities for hiking and biking here and its probably the closest campground to the University of Florida that accommodates motorhomes. It's a little tricky getting into some sites due to the winding and tree-lined drive inside the campground itself, but not too bad if taken slowly. We booked through ReserveAmerica and were told on the site that there is 50 amp service, but there's not - only 30 amp, so be warned. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 9 / 10 ]
April 2007
$15
This park was great for families that like to fish, bike, and hike. Miles and miles of trails throughout the park, most were level and accessible to bikes. We saw lots of wildlife everywhere we went -- wild horses, alligators, bison, armadillos, fish, and lots of birds. The observation tower is great and the small visitor's center is worthy of some time browsing the history of the park. Sites are shaded with plenty of privacy between. It was quiet for our trip, but I'm sure it gets a little louder in the Fall on football weekends -- University of FL is 20 mins north. We highly recommend this campground and will be back again. We camped here in a Tent Trailer.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
February 2006
$15
This is a very nice state park campground. The roads into the campground are somewhat narrow and lined with trees. The sites are hard ground and not as level as we would have liked. There is a lot of room between sites, and the area is wooded, so it is very attractive. But no open space for satellite reception and no cable, so bring some books! The park has 9 miles of trails for hiking and biking. A key spot is the 4-story observation tower by the visitor center at the edge of the prairie, where you can see deer, alligators, and many species of birds. We are Floridians who enjoy the state parks in the winter when there are no mosquitoes. We stayed 3 nights and wished we had planned to stay for 5. Micanopy is a delightful small town with antique shops and nice places for lunch. Gainesville is north of the park. We camped here in a Motorhome.

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[ 8 / 10 ]
November 2004
$15
Most sites are ok to good. Some have a raised tent pad in the way. 2 bathhouses resonably clean. Playground behind camping area. Each site has a fire ring/grill and picnic table. Several ranger led programs, unfortunately for us the weather cancelled them all. Park has an observation tower that you can see bison, wild horses, deer and birds. They have loaner binoculars at the visitor center to use. There is also a movie showing the life of the prairie. Several bike/walking trails. Pets are not permitted in camping area. No gasoline powered boats allowed on lake. We will be back again. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.
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[ 9 / 10 ]
2004
$15
This is a great place. We loved this campground. We camped here in a Motorhome.
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