Paynes Prairie State Preserve and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park

Travelers can learn about early Florida history at the Paynes Prairie State Preserve Visitors center. South of Gainesville, along US 441 across Paynes Prairie, an “Ecopassage” was completed in 2002 to accommodate wildlife crossings under the road. This involves a 2 mile long wall that is approximately 3 feet high combined with a 4 foot fence that keeps the amphibian and reptile wildlife from crossing over the highway and it’s design provides culvert passages under the roadway. A bike lane is included on US 441 with a rumble strip. (The Gainesville- Hawthorne State Trail provides an off road trail that traverses the Preserve and the northern edge of the Old Florida Heritage Highway Corridor. The trail is set upon the historic railroad bed.) Travelers can head to the historic Cross Creek community, which is home to one of the most important sites in Florida’s literary history, the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park. Rawlings wrote about colorful local characters in her novels, including her Pulitzer Prize winning “The Yearling.” The park provides the visitor with a look at the region’s lifestyle in the early 20th century. The annual summer “Writing the Region” literary workshop and conference is a testament to the literary legacy of Cross Creek.