When you think of prairies, visions of the Wild West might come to mind. With buffalo and horses running wild in the land, the preserves of the west are home to a diverse bounty of animals and plant life. In Florida, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park near Gainesville is it's only little Wild West, and you can wander through miles of trails there.

For only $6, you can visit the first-ever preserve of its kind in Florida, where animals usually found roaming the western frontier are at home in the tropical lands of The Sunshine State.

The preserve is also home to over 300 species of birds, which can be found flying in the skies overlooking the park.

Paynes Prairie is also a popular spot if you want to go hiking to see this unique bounty of wildlife. With eight different trails, there's plenty to explore.

Included among the eight trails is the Gainsville-Hawthorne State Trail, a 16-mile paved route that was made from a rail-bed and will take you through beautiful vistas and the past the park's wildlife.

For sky-high views of the land and animals, the state park has a 50-foot-tall observation tower that provides 360-degree views of the preserve.

The centerpiece of the state park lies within its collection of roaming wildlife not typically seen in Florida

Herds of wild bison and horses are usually seen in western preserves, so it's a treat to see them roaming through this Florida state park.

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park feels like something straight out of a Western film, and you can get a totally unique experience when you visit.

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Price: $6 per vehicle

Address: 100 Savannah Blvd., Micanopy, FL 

Why You Need To Go: This wild west-style preserve filed with wild bison and horses offers miles of great hiking trails. 


Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your trip.

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