Loving the Locale- Paynes Prairie

Home Builder with Emmer Development Corp.

Originally Posted on  on

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park in Gainesville, Florida

For more information about the Preservation, please visit their website by clicking the photo above! Photo courtesy of

Though we’ve got properties in the panhandle, and on the coast of Ormond Beach, our main Emmer HQ is firmly stationed in the heart of Gator Country, Gainesville, and right now the weather has morphed into a beautiful 80-something degrees with a cool breeze and warm sun. With that being said, it’s hard for us to focus on anything but getting outside and enjoying the rich outdoor experiences our fair city has to offer. So, we’re going to start giving you the occasional blog post about local events, locations and anything else from our town that tickles our fancy. If you live here, visit Gainesville regularly or are simply curious to know what treasures are hiding about, these will be some rich posts about the area.

So how are we starting off this trend? Why not with one of the best natural treasures we’ve got in town: Paynes Prairie.

On the 22,000 acres of land in the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, you can hike, bike, run, rest and see animals you forgot existed in the wild. And you can do all that on just one of the trails! The preserve is suited perfectly for family outings, accommodating picnics, hikes and even camping, with options for those who prefer it primitive, to those of us who bring our RV equipped with satellite television. There’s fishing on Lake Wauberg, though you may obviously need a license. If you’re more about being mobile, there are 8 different trails to choose from, ranging from the quarter mile round-trip Wacahoota with its 50 foot observation tower, to the 16 mile Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail that is open to bikes, horses and runners alike. Some of the trails don’t accommodate for pets, but that’s mainly for their (and your!) protection; you can see alligators, bison, bobcats, bald eagles and even wild horses along the trails.

Wild Horses in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Wild horses seen on the prairie. Photo courtesy of

While you would expect the area to be relatively natural, being a preserve, it’s rare to find a park that is so untouched and left to the wild. The La Chua Trail, a 3 mile-round-trip walk through the prairie to a wildlife observation tower has only half a mile of walking pier before it lets off onto a cleanly mowed grass trail. No pavement on this trail! Aside from the tower at the end and the occasional viewing bench, walking this path immerses you 100% in an untouched environment with all its original inhabitants. When getting back to nature, isn’t this exactly what we want?

Though it isn’t free to take the trails, the donations are reasonable for upkeep and maintenance and you can tell from the trails that the money isn’t being wasted on anything that would detract from the habitat. If you’re really a nature lover, they’re always looking for volunteers, to do everything from photography to clean-up. Seems only right for us Gainesvillians to pitch in when such an amazing area is opened up for us to enjoy!

So, when the fall season starts giving you the itch to get outside and do something in the warm Gainesville air, why not try Paynes Prairie?

Is there are particularly Gainesville spot that you love to visit on weekends? We’re making a list of places we love and may do an article on your favorite! Share with us below or email us at

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Over 50 Years of Quality Construction! l  Emmer Development Corp.

Emmer Development Corporation2801 SW Archer Road, Gainesville, Florida 32608   

Phone: 352-376-2444 | Fax: 352-376-2260

Since its beginnings in the 50s and 60s, The Emmer Group has been responsible for more than 8,000 homes and apartments in more than 100 communities all over the state of Florida. Owned and operated by the father-daughter team of Phil Emmer and Lori Emmer McGriff, Emmer Group continues to be a success today with brand new single-family homes for sale in Gainesville, Florida and luxury condos available in beautiful Ormond-By-The-Sea, Florida. 

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