There are so many great things about Gainesville, FL, that you’ll want to experience during your stay at Sweetwater Branch Inn. When visitors ask us what to do in the area, we always suggest to explore the outdoors. The landscapes here will make you feel as if you are one with nature. One of the best places to see is Paynes Prairie State Preserve!
Our area is filled with countless other wonderful attractions like Paynes Prairie State Preserve. For a complete list of handpicked, local recommendations, take a look at our complimentary Vacation Guide. This valuable resource has helped so many travelers plan unforgettable trips to Gainesville, so get a copy today!
About Paynes Prairie State Preserve
There is no other place in Gainesville like Paynes Prairie State Preserve. Designated as a National Natural Landmark, there are more than 20 biological communities that serve as habitats for the wildlife found here. In this park, alligators, bison, horses, birds, and more all live in harmony. Whether you are looking for the perfect place to hike, breathtaking scenery, information on Florida wildlife, or a combination of all three, you will love this preserve!
Visiting Paynes Prairie State Preserve
The Visitor Center
If you are planning on visiting Paynes Prairie State Preserve, you should start out at the Visitor Center. Here, you will find exhibits and an audio-visual program that will enlighten you about the area’s history. There is also a 50-foot-tall observation tower located next to the center. Experience some of the best views of the preserve from the top!
Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail
There are multiple trails that run through Paynes Prairie State Preserve, but one of the best and most well-known is the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail. This 16-mile paved trail is perfect for walking, hiking, or biking on as you travel beneath lush forests that provide shade from the Florida sun. On this path, you’ll find plenty of scenic overlooks. Take a break from your travels to gaze out onto the prairie. You’ll most likely see wildlife in their natural habitat. You never know what you’ll encounter!
Another great way to experience Paynes Prairie State Preserve is on Lake Wauberg. Many come here to enjoy the sparkling, clear waters and to take advantage of the fishing. There is a fishing pier and a boat ramp; you can take canoes, kayaks, or boats with electric motors to use the ramp. However, keep in mind that gasoline-powered boats are not allowed.
Relax at Sweetwater Branch Inn
After your adventures through Paynes Prairie State Preserve, come back and relax at Sweetwater Branch Inn. On a hot day, you’ll love jumping in our saltwater pool after hours in the sun! Stroll through our gorgeous gardens to keep up your nature retreat, or take some time to rejuvenate in your room or private cottage. All of our accommodations offer the perfect balance of elegance and Southern hospitality. From our decor to amenities, we aim to give you the stay of a lifetime. Come explore all that Gainesville has to offer!