Living in Georgia for a few years has granted us the opportunity to really explore the Southeastern region, and we have had a great time seeing a portion of the country. One of our favorite experiences has been road tripping to Florida a couple times and exploring the state parks there. Each park has been really unique, and we have loved the diversity in the ecosystems. Our first Florida state park experience was perhaps one of our absolute favorites – Paynes Prairie State Park. This week will highlight a few Florida state parks.
Day 1-Paynes Prairie State Park
Paynes Prairie State Park is located in Micanopy, FL, which is only a short distance from the Georgia border, making it a great stopping point for those traveling farther south. The park offers camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, biking, and horse back riding. We arrived in the evening time, and so all we could see were fan palms around us. Our campsite was tucked away, making it feel like we truly were all on our own (with the luxury of a clean bathroom just a short walk away), and we were surrounded by a little jungle. We couldn’t see very much because the trees blocked most of the light, but it felt very peaceful. Someone had left some old wood in our fire pit, but it had rained so our evening consisted of trying to get a fire start, which eventually worked! It was also a special night because it was actually New Year’s Eve, so we brought in the New Year with a new adventure in a new place.
The next day we woke up and hiked along the boardwalk and explored the swamps and wild life. As the name suggests, there is a a rather expansive prairie, and visitors can walk to the prairie and experience a variety of ecosystems along the trail. There were only a few other people at the state park when we visited, so we were able to spot various birds and really enjoy some peace and quiet. Paynes Prairie State Park truly allowed us to feel like we explored a new ecosystem and understand more about Florida’s ecology. The park was one of our favorite explorations.