San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park

With the arrival of fall what better time to get outdoors and explore all that North Central Florida has to offer.  Today we delve into San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park.  This park offers one of the largest mature hardwood forests in Florida. With over 7000 acres there is so much to see and do that you probably cannot accomplish it all in one day.

The park offers a variety of activities for outdoor enthusiasts such as hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature viewing. There are over 30 miles of single track trails for your enjoyment.  The southern 2/3 of the preserve is designated just for hiking so that you can enjoy the serenity of the forest as well as listen to the sounds of nature, while the northern 1/3 is set aside for more vigorous activities such as biking, horseback riding as well as hiking.  The park offers some of the area’s best off-road biking courses and many love to take advantage of this fun activity.

If you are in to wildlife viewing then this preserve has you covered.  Some of the wildlife you are liable to see here are wild pigs, bobcats, white-tailed deer, gray foxes, wild turkey as well as a multitude of songbirds.  Right now is migratory season for many song birds, which means you may encounter even more species of birds as they take respite in the sanctuary of the forest.

The park is open every day of the week from 8:00 am until Sunset.  You are encouraged to take water as there isn’t a natural source for drinkable water, as well as bug spray and sunscreen.  The trailhead for the northern edge of the park for hiking is located four miles northwest of Gainesville on State Road 232 at 11101 Millhopper Road, Gainesville FL 32653.  The northern trails can be found at 13201 Progress Park in Alachua Fl 32615.  The cost is $4 per vehicle or $2 per pedestrian.

Getting Outdoors: Paynes Prairie

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With the weather getting nice outdoors we thought we would give you an idea of something spectacular to get out and see in our area.  Paynes Prairie is a treasure right here in our backyard, which is also Florida’s first state preserve.

Paynes Prairie is teeming with wildlife and visitors will see some type of wildlife while they are there.  There are wild bison and horses throughout the park, as well as hundreds of species of native and migrating birds, alligators (lots of alligators), deer, bobcats, rabbits, and other animals.

The park’s eight trails, including the 16-mile paved Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail, allows one to explore the park’s interior and observe wildlife, while a 50-foot high observation tower provides for panoramic views.

The Seminole Indians once occupied a village along this vast savannah due to the diversity of land.  And, the prairie has some beautiful vistas. You and your family will really enjoy getting out there and exploring.  Due to the abundance of wildlife at the park, pets are not permitted in many locations.

https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/paynes-prairie-preserve-state-park

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