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Prairie Creek

Prairie Creek Kayak and Canoe Tour  Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 2.5 – 3 hours Skill level: Intermediate – Expert Cost: $50 per person ($39 for “wanna go” members). If you bring your own boat it’s $40 per person. ($29 for “wanna go” members)   Description  Located about 20 minutes east of Gainesville, Prairie Creek connects two of North Central Florida’s most popular havens for wildlife watching, Newnans Lake and Paynes Prairie. So, it’s no surprise that a paddle down this winding, dark-water, creek offers a variety of plants and animals. We usually see a number of water birds, and if you watch closely, you’ll probably spot a few turtles sunning on logs and branches debris on the riverbank. We begin this journey on Newnans Lake. The dense marsh thickets that sprouted during droughts a few years ago are still thriving, as is the abundant wildlife that loves such places. Around the edges of these marshes, American lotus plants are at the tail end of their bloom. While many are still displaying their showy yellow flowers, most are sporting the odd looking seed heads that are commonly seen in flower arrangements.   As your boat glides into the mouth of Prairie Creek, you’ll realize you’ve discovered one of Gainesville’s least-known natural treasures. For most of it’s run, Prairie Creek courses through a mature forest of mixed hardwoods and cypress which form a dense, closed canopy overhead. Most years, seasonal rains cause the creek to brim and spill over the low, sandy banks into the forest. This keeps the understory relatively free of vegetation and allows good viewing into the forest. As our journey carries us closer to...