The best camping near Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Discover the most magical spots to pitch your tent or park your rig on your next Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park adventure.

100% (7 reviews)
100% (7 reviews)

This preserve has a whopping 800 types of plants and 420 varieties of vertebrate animal species.  

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Top-rated campgrounds reviewed by the Hipcamp community.

Top-rated campgrounds near Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

92%
(125)

Camp Seminole Springs

103 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents38 acres · Fort Mc Coy, FL
Bring your mountain bikes, canoes, kayaks and fishing gear. We have it all here at Seminole Springs. We are open for tent camping. Limited number of campsites with Tents on them in a variety of sizes available. First come, First serve. These sites will have a slight upcharge. When you book, if you want to upgrade and reserve one of these sites, let us know and we will accommodate you. We also have 3 units inside the lodge for the people who need just a step up from glamping, but not quite the whole hotel experience. These are beautiful comfortable rooms with half baths in the rooms. The showers are located in the lodge bathhouse. WE have the Jungle themed room, the Equestrian themed room and the Honeymoon Suite. Each unit comes equipped with its own hot tub. (To book any of these units, just send us a message and we will reserve it for you. The prices for these units are different than that campsite and glamping site prices.) The Grist Mill is also available for rent too! This is a very romantic, yet rustic getaway equipped with a half bath as well. Very secluded and private overlooking the spring on one side and the water fall on the other. Sit outside on the deck and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature and at night the sound of the waterfall will lull you to sleep. The shower is located in the Lodge bathhouse. (To book this unit you must send a message to us and we will reserve it for you. The price is different than the campsites but we will go over that with you) WE ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FOR YOUR EVENT: TAKING BOOKINGS FOR WEDDINGS, CAR SHOWS, MUSIC EVENTS, ETC. LET US KNOW! NOTE: TURN AT CAMP SEMINOLE SPRINGS SIGN ON HIGHWAY 21. Your GPS may tell you to turn at the wrong St. Make sure that you are turning at 244th...Your GPS may tell you to turn at 243rd Street (where the Orange Market it) which is a dead end street. Just go a little bit further until you see the sign for Camp Seminole Spring. Bring bug spray and sun screen. If you need something, don't worry! There is a Dollar General, a gas station and a small cafe within walking distance. We have 38 acres of camping sites nature trails for hiking and mountain biking. Guests can park right on their site, or they have the option of parking and hiking into the woods to set up their site a bit more remote and off the beaten path. This is rustic camping. We have a bathhouse located at the campsites with showers. The bathhouse at the Great Lodge will be ready by Fall 2022. Whereas we do have garbage cans, we prefer that anything you bring into the property, you bring out with you. We allow campfires. Don't be surprised if you see a monkey or two in the trees... The fishing is amazing in these parts, so if you are an angler, come and visit. We have .75 miles of frontage on the Orange Creek. The creek flows into Lake Ocklawaha which just so happens to be one of the best bass fishing lakes in the USA. In fact, ten-pound bass are not uncommon from the Lake Ocklawaha River in the winter. Recently (2020), a 17.2-pound bass was caught there. The combined Ocklawaha and St. Johns drainage basin is possibly the most significant river-estuary waterway of Florida. This water system is of legendary reputation among anglers of largemouth bass who seek 10 pound plus trophy fish. Conveniently located between Ocala and Gainesville in the heart of Orange Springs, Florida, Camp Seminole Spring is perfectly located for the traveler who wants to really connect with nature. It appears to be ‘off the beaten path’, yet it is close enough to civilization so that even the most seasoned camper can make a quick run to store should he or she need something not found in nature. Camp Seminole Spring is mid-way (approx.. 22 miles) between Ocala and Gainesville, Florida, which are two thriving cities in this area of Florida. Ocala, the ‘horse capital of the world’ showcases a brand new multi-billion-dollar equestrian center which draws people from all over the world. This scenic property has an artesian spring which pushes out 1.6 million gallons of water per day rated among the top three percent of water in the world with an 8.4 natural pH. This water fills the pond and then continues on to flow into Orange Creek. Camp Seminole Springs was established in the 1940’s as a honeymoon resort and campground. The founders built a heart-shaped ‘pond-spring’ which is filled with the crystal-clear water pushed out from the spring where guests can lounge by the beach or gaze down into the bottom through the glass-like water or take a refreshing swim. At the top of the hill overlooking the heart-shaped spring, one will find the rustic Great Lodge where guests can come and mingle with each other, enjoy a relaxing conversation and a drink on the veranda or just sit and watch the activity in and around the spring.
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$39
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100%
(318)

Glenn Farm

6 sites · RVs, Tents125 acres · Fort White, FL
The farm you’re camping on is one of the last family farms remaining in Columbia County and is named Glenn Farm after DV Glenn who married Hettie Lou Niblack in the 1930’s. Over the last 150 years it has been farmed by some of the county’s oldest families such as the Niblack and Ellis families. When DV Glenn came to Florida from his farm in Cairo, GA he took over the portion of the Niblack farm that was inherited by his wife Hettie Lou. At that time he was running native Florida cattle on over 6000 acres. Unfortunately, In 1951 he was killed in a hunting accident leaving his wife with the farm and 4 children (ages 4-11). In order to survive, Hettie Lou Niblack Glenn was forced to sell 5000 acres at $25 an acre. Holding a bachelors degree from Florida State College for Women, she was able to secure a job at the University of Florida as a secretary and with the money from the land sale she was able to raise her four children. Of the original farm, 600 acres remain intact and the Glenn family is trying to keep the farm as an agricultural operation. Your campsite is 1 of three spots (Arrowhead Sink, Dunagan’s Meadow or Magnolia Sink). Dunagan’s meadow is a pasture behind the old farmhouse (built in 1844), Magnolia sink is also on the main farm while Arrowhead Sink is on the edge of a hayfield about a mile down a dirt road. Glenn Farm is a place to come relax and experience a world that is rapidly disappearing. It is not a commercial campground.
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$27
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98%
(277)

4A River Camp

1 site · RV, Tent1 acre · Fort White, FL
This area was inhabited by indians many years ago and the remnants of their civilization are scattered about in the rivers and land. The Ichetucknee River was named by a tribe of Creek Indians who came down from north Georgia and Alabama, and means "place of the beavers". This area is rich in history and beautiful nature.With over 1/3 acre of dedicated riverfront property on the Santa Fe River, you’ll have all the peace and quiet you can handle in this single spot campsite. The campsite was purpose-built for friends and family who come to visit this slice of paradise we call home. Ideally located in the heart of spring country in North Central Florida, we have over 18 major springs within a 50-mile radius of this location, which allows for all the outdoor exploration and watersports you desire. With tubing, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, swimming, boating, and fishing available within feet of the campsite, you can stay nearby or venture out to some of the best springs in the world. Boaters – Private boat ramp is 200 yards up the road on the Santa Fe, public boat ramps within 10 miles on the Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers. Tubers – Tube the private section of the crystal-clear Ichetucknee river accessible only by the homeowners via our 3 waterfront parks. Both get-out parks are within walking distance to the campsite for your convenience. Paddlers – Paddle the Santa Fe or Ichetucknee rivers from within the neighborhood, or if the time of year is right, venture up to the Ichetucknee State Park to paddle the head waters and north entrance. This is limited in season and numbers to keep the impact on the river to a minimum. Swimmers – Swim the Santa Fe or Ichetucknee rivers from within the neighborhood via our 9 waterfront parks (6 Santa Fe, 3 Ichetucknee) or venture to either entrance of the Ichetucknee River State Park just a few miles away. Nature lovers – Explore the unspoiled conservation areas within the neighborhood that can be hiked and explored. Setup a hammock and sit by the river and watch all your worries wash away, you may get to see the occasional manatee. Whatever your passion, this campsite accommodates it with electric (50/30/15), water, picnic table, concrete firepit, clothesline and plenty of room to spread out. The neighborhood is golf-cart and UTV friendly and has lots of dirt roads to explore.  The deer can be found quite easily every morning and evening while riding around and rarely run away from the vehicles. Area Springs and Recreation attractions include the following springs and state parks. Google search Florida Springs for more information on each.
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$50
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97%
(221)

Happy Campers Rescue Ranch

11 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents10 acres · Dunnellon, FL
Welcome! 🌿 We're thrilled to have you join us for an unforgettable experience surrounded by nature and animals. 🐾 At our ranch, we're dedicated to providing a sanctuary for rescued animals and offering our guests a unique opportunity to connect with nature and support our mission of animal welfare and conservation – it's a haven where you can relax, unwind, and make memories that will last a lifetime. 🌟 During your stay, you'll have the chance to meet our furry friends, including rescued farm animals and adorable companions who call Happy Campers Rescue Ranch home. Whether you're feeding the goats, cuddling with the kittens, or exploring the beautiful surroundings, there's something for everyone to enjoy. 🐷🐱🌳 But that's not all – we also offer a range of exciting extras to enhance your experience. Rent a Kayak or Paddle Boat to explore the area and crystal-clear waters of Rainbow Springs, or choose our cooler with built-in air conditioning ❄️ to stay comfortable during hot summer days inside your tent. As a guest, you'll not only have the opportunity to relax and unwind, but you'll also be supporting our mission of animal rescue and rehabilitation. A portion of your stay goes directly towards caring for our rescued animals and maintaining our sanctuary, allowing us to continue our important work. 🤲 We can't wait to welcome you to out ranch and share our love for animals and nature with you. Whether you're looking for a weekend getaway, a family vacation, or a unique retreat, we're here to make your stay unforgettable. 🌈 ***We kindly request bookings for a maximum duration of up to 7 days. This allows us to maintain the integrity of our sanctuary and ensures that our animals receive consistent care and attention while also offering our guests the opportunity to enjoy a refreshing and rejuvenating getaway. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter. Thank you for choosing our ranch – we look forward to hosting you soon! 🎉
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$30
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99%
(280)

Wildflower Pond

6 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents4 acres · Alachua, FL
Welcome to a sweet and soulful little piece of the woodlands. Tucked in on 4.5 acres, this spot is a secluded, enchanting piece of old Florida. Pitch a tent in one of our four designated camping sites, tie a hammock, gaze at the koi and other fish, or relax on the embankment. Check out what's growing in the seasonal garden and if you’d like to to visit our horses, KuneKune pigs, dairy goats, birds and local mascot, Nacho the Donkey, please book a private tour with us. Florida's gem-colored, healing spring waters are just a 20 minutes up the way and local retreat centers and yoga studios dot the area. Gator fans? Head into Gainesville for a game and to visit the University of Florida. Mostly, enjoy. We look forward to hosting you! To note for all guests: We suggest arriving before dark so as to make set up easy and comfortable. We do not require a formal check-in and encourage being self-reliable in set up of primitive campsites. (For something with more structure and a space already set up, check out our Aframe cabin.) We do have water, a composting toilet, sink, and groundtemp shower for your use and ease.
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$35
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98%
(213)

Serene Forested Blueberry Farm

12 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents5 acres · Ft. Mc Coy, FL
Located on 5 acres in the Ocala National Forest, Hookie's Hideaway is the perfect place to stay for easy access to all of nature's bounty and activities. This property is easily accessible, serene and peaceful. Campsites are in a beautiful grove of pine and sycamore trees. We are surrounded by forested camping areas and close enough to drive into town to pick up groceries or get a meal. We have a "you pick them" blueberry farm when in season. We are pet friendly! If you have a pet please add the pet Extra at checkout so you will be charged a $20 pet fee ($10 for the trailers). We are close to hiking, horse trails, lakes and springs. Bocce Ball and Croquet is available to play here anytime! We are only a short distance away from amazing horse riding trails and Florida's most popular natural springs. We live on the property and are available during normal business hours. We are free to ask questions and give suggestions for surrounding activities and dining options. We will interact as little or as much as you need. Birds singing in the morning and crickets at night ensure a restful getaway here. Our property is the perfect place to escape the noise and high paced city life.
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$35
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94%
(8)

Cristal camping 🏕️

1 site · RV, Tent1 acre · Crystal River, FL
You just came across a very unique piece of land very close to all the springs that there is to enjoy and a beautiful small town of Inglis located in Crystal River Florida. Please come and enjoy this cold water from this beautiful springs. And don’t forget to bring the floaty’s, snorkels and goggles because you’re going to need it in order to see all the beautiful underwater scenes on this Cristal water, rivers. Come enjoy our beautiful tent space nestled in a wooded lot located at the beautiful Rainbow River, one of the largest spring fed rivers in the world , you will have a parking area. Kayak rentals available. It is a short walk to the 40-mile Withlacoochee biking/walking trail which has a large variety of birds and wildlife for your viewing pleasure. Rainbow River State park and head springs is located 4.6 miles away, a great place for swimming and snorkeling with an admission fee of $2. There is a laundromat, grocery stores, and a large selection of restaurants nearby for your dining pleasure. See you soon! PEACE
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$29
 / night
99%
(38)

Camp Gilchrist

1 site · Tent10 acres · Spring Ridge, FL
Camp Gilchrist is located in heart of Springs Country in North Florida. Ginnie Springs and several other local springs are just minutes away. Come visit and explore nature with us! Pitch your tent and relax. You can enjoy beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and star gazing in an open field. Enjoy wildflowers throughout the Florida blooming seasons. Find blackberries, mushrooms, and other edible foraged goods. For optimum peace and privacy, there is currently 1 campsite on our 10 acres. There are several recreational activities in the area including hiking, swimming in natural springs, fishing, kayaking, wildlife watching, and more!
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$10
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100%
(48)

Rainbow River "Peek" Vans & Tents

1 site · RV, Tent1 acre · Dunnellon, FL
An elevated camp site next to a pole barn that overlooks a Florida hammock and a peek at the Rainbow River. This is not a commercial campground.Sorry, no dogs due to wildlife.No RVs (Tents, Truck Tents and Vans Only)Located in the heart of Dunnellon near the Rainbow River Site: 25ft long by 14ft Wide. Water, Sewer, 30amp; Electric. Not on the water but walking distance. This property is shared with the owner. campsite is separated from owner's house with a pole barn. This is not a waterfront site. You are not camping on the water, however, Rainbow River Peek is named because you can get a peek of the river from the site. You can bike to the river in about two minutes. This is a small, narrow (14ft wide) but quiet area, a few hundred feet from The Rainbow River. Located on a dead-end street. It is partially surrounded by Florida foliage next to a pole barn. 30 amp plug, Sewer, Water and 110 electric outlet and outdoor sink is on the site. The Rainbow River is a gorgeous river that is walking distance from the site. There is a beach, free boat launch, free kayak launch, tiki bars with live entertainment, antique shops, restaurants and a Publix/Aldi/Discount Grocery all within biking and walking distance. EXTRAS: Just like most campgrounds, check-in is after 3 and checkout, before 1 for cleanup between reservations. However, those times are negotiable if no arrival or departures those days. I am not a campground with multiple sites. When you cancel last minute you're hurting my biz as well as those that could've booked. No last minute cancellations! LOCAL STUFF TO LOOK UP Suggested Restaurants: (Hipcamp doesn't allow websites on here) Gruff's Grill and Bar, River Run, Swampy's (water front), Blue Gator (waterfront), Go For Donuts, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin' Donuts, Sonic, Burger King, Mc Donald's, Taco Bell and more. Shops: Antique shops nearby and Grumble House is a must visit! Grocery: Publix, Save A Lot, Winn Dixie, Aldi Laundromat: A few blocks from campsite Tours: Singing River Tours. $20 per person for a 1.5 hour ride on the river in a large, covered pontoon barge. Walking distance to board boat. Captain Bob's Airboat Tours, $50 per person. Walking distance to board boat. Boat Rentals - Rent a jon boat with a motor up to a pontoon boat at Blue Gator Tiki Bar & Grill. Walking distance from the RV site. Biking: This little town offers many sidewalks to bicycle on as well as a beautiful park along the Rainbow River called Blue Run Park Beach: Dunnellon City Beach (Chaplain A. Dinkins, III Memorial Park) is less than half a mile from the RV site. It offers picnic tables, restroom, a pier and beach for swimming on the Rainbow River. Pets are not allowed.
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$39
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100%
(125)

Paradise Park and River Retreat

2 sites · RVs1 acre · Old Town, FL
My father bought the property next door to the RV sites over 30 yrs ago. After his passing,  my husband and I acquired the property. We initially were going to be snowbirds and make this our winter vacation home. After much thought and many winters in PA, we decided to sell our home and make the move south. It was a difficult decision to leave our family,  friends and what was comfortable to us. About 3 years after our move, our neighbor asked if we were interested in his property. My husband Jeff and I discussed it and thought it would be a great idea to have a little more land. To make a long story short, that land somehow became Paradise Park River Retreat. My husband and I love this area and wanted to share it with other people who love being outdoors. We hope you'll come and visit Old Pine Landing and see the beauty and uniqueness that our little piece of paradise has to offer.  
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$35
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96%
(14)

Skyacres aka the tin cottage

18 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents1 acre · Chiefland, FL
Some open spaces for self contained rvs. Trails to open spaces for pitching a tent. Off the beaten path,, private and secluded. Full of wildlife away from the hustle and bustle of the city,, a true country retreat. Nearby fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking. Travel to the town of cedar key about 18 miles away it's a very quiet area. With shops , restaurants and a pier to fish at. It's a very laid back way of life at this charming gulf coast town.. Chiefland also is close by for the more convenient places to shop.
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$8.50
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94%
(31)

Higher Ground "The Barn"

5 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents5 acres · Lecanto, FL
Come get back to nature with camping at your comfort level and YES, we have A/C AND MINI HEATERS and a mini-fridge in all of our cabins. PLEASE note that there IS A PET FEE and AND WOOD FEE and it must be added when you complete booking (as Extras). Kayaks available for rent too! Whether you'd like a tent site (tents available) or a rustic cabin with lofts, we have what you're looking for. Get out of the city and get into nature. Just over an hour drive from Tampa or Orlando and you'll be laying in a hammock or making s'mores by the campfire. BUT REMEMBER, you are IN THE WOODS.. Bugs live in the woods and eliminating them all is never possible. Bring spray :) We spray weekly but there are all kinds of bugs around because you're camping! We even have Kayaks available for rent to head to Crystal River or Lake Henderson!
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$25
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The best camping near Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park guide

Overview

About

There's a reason why U of F's football stadium is called The Swamp. Just south of Gainesville, this park contains a rich array of habitats for wildlife. A notable swamp is one of them.

This preserve is unique in Florida because you can see animals you don't normally see. If you're lucky, you might spot wild bison or horses roaming free. You might spot alligators among the cypress trees in the swamp. Birdwatchers love the 300-plus bird species (including bald eagles diving for fish) here.

A total of eight park trails covering 30 miles put you close to nature. The Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail is particularly easy to navigate. If you'd rather see animals from afar, there's a 50-foot observation tower. Lake Wauberg offers great options for water-lovers at any time of year. BYOB (bring your own boat) for fishing and canoeing.

The lake also has a fantastic shaded, secluded campground. Choose from 30 RV or 14 tent-only campsites.

When to go

The ideal time to visit Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is during the cooler months from October to April, when the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities. Summer months can be hot and humid, with a higher chance of afternoon thunderstorms, making some trails less accessible.

Know before you go

  • Check the park's official website for any trail closures or safety alerts before your visit.
  • Wear appropriate footwear and clothing for hiking and be prepared for changing weather conditions.
  • Accessibility options are available; contact the park in advance for specific needs.
  • While there are no camping facilities, day-use areas provide restrooms and picnic spots.
  • Remember to bring water, sunscreen, and insect repellent to enhance your comfort amid the park's natural setting.

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