13 Fun Things To Do In Ocala FL Florida

Nestled in the heart of the Sunshine State, Ocala, Florida, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Known for its equestrian roots, lush landscapes, and vibrant community, Ocala offers a diverse range of activities for visitors of all interests. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or an art lover, Ocala has something special for everyone. In this guide, we’ll unveil the best things to do in Ocala, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this charming city.

Horse Country Tours: Start your Ocala adventure by exploring its renowned horse country. As the “Horse Capital of the World,” Ocala boasts numerous horse farms and training centers. Take a guided tour to witness the majestic beauty of thoroughbred horses, learn about the breeding process, and get an insider’s look into the world of horse racing. Some popular stops include the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

Silver Springs State Park: For a dose of natural beauty, head to Silver Springs State Park, one of Florida’s oldest tourist attractions. Enjoy a glass-bottom boat tour along the crystal-clear Silver Springs, where you can witness the diverse aquatic life, including manatees, turtles, and various fish species. The park also offers hiking trails, wildlife viewing, and kayak rentals, providing a perfect escape into Florida’s pristine nature.

Historic Downtown Ocala: Immerse yourself in Ocala’s rich history by exploring its charming downtown area. Stroll along brick-lined streets adorned with historic architecture, boutique shops, and cozy cafes. Make sure to visit the Ocala Historic District, where you’ll find iconic landmarks like the Marion Theatre and the Ocala Downtown Square. The area often hosts events and festivals, creating a lively atmosphere for both locals and visitors.

Appleton Museum of Art: Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Appleton Museum of Art, located on the College of Central Florida campus. This museum houses an impressive collection of European, American, Asian, and contemporary art. Wander through the galleries showcasing paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, and gain insights into different artistic movements throughout history.

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing: For those with a passion for speed and automotive history, the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing is a must-visit. Explore the extensive collection of drag racing memorabilia, vintage cars, and iconic vehicles that trace the evolution of this exhilarating sport. Don Garlits, known as the “Father of Drag Racing,” has created an immersive experience for fans and curious visitors alike.

Ocala National Forest: Escape into the great outdoors at the Ocala National Forest, a vast expanse of wilderness featuring springs, lakes, and diverse ecosystems. Hike along the Florida Trail, go camping, or take a refreshing swim in one of the many natural springs. With over 600 lakes, rivers, and springs, the Ocala National Forest provides endless opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploration.

Zip Lining at The Canyons Zip Line and Canopy Tours: For an adrenaline-packed adventure, head to The Canyons Zip Line and Canopy Tours. Soar through the treetops on one of Florida’s longest zip lines, enjoying breathtaking views of limestone canyons and lush landscapes. With multiple zip lines and challenging rope bridges, this eco-adventure park is perfect for thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Juniper Springs Recreation Area: Experience the beauty of Juniper Springs, a natural oasis within the Ocala National Forest. Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle along the pristine Juniper Run, surrounded by towering palms and ancient cypress trees. The clear spring water offers a refreshing escape, and you might even spot wildlife such as turtles, birds, and fish along the way.

Sholom Park: If you’re in the mood for a peaceful retreat, visit Sholom Park, a hidden gem featuring beautifully landscaped gardens, walking trails, and serene ponds. This botanical paradise offers a tranquil setting for picnics, meditation, or simply unwinding amidst nature’s beauty. Keep an eye out for the diverse plant life and sculptures scattered throughout the park.

Horseback Riding Adventures: Immerse yourself in Ocala’s equestrian culture by going on a horseback riding adventure. Numerous stables and ranches in the area offer guided trail rides suitable for riders of all skill levels. Traverse scenic trails, meander through oak-lined pathways, and experience the beauty of Ocala’s countryside on horseback.

Riley Arts Center: For a dose of culture, check out the Riley Arts Center, a hub for performing arts and cultural events in Ocala. The center hosts a variety of performances, including theater productions, concerts, and dance performances. Check the event schedule during your visit to catch a live show and support the local arts community.

Cactus Jack’s Trail Rides: For a unique and immersive outdoor experience, consider taking a trail ride with Cactus Jack’s Trail Rides. Explore the scenic landscapes of Florida on horseback, guided by experienced wranglers who will share their knowledge of the area’s flora and fauna. It’s a great way to connect with nature and enjoy the beauty of Ocala’s countryside.

Ocala Culinary Tours: Indulge your taste buds with a guided culinary tour of Ocala. Discover the city’s vibrant food scene by sampling dishes from local restaurants, cafes, and eateries. Not only will you get to savor delicious flavors, but you’ll also learn about Ocala’s culinary history and the stories behind each dish.

Conclusion: Ocala, Florida, offers a delightful blend of equestrian culture, natural beauty, and cultural experiences. Whether you’re exploring the horse country, enjoying the tranquility of Silver Springs, or immersing yourself in the city’s history, Ocala has something for every traveler. So, pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey to discover the best things to do in Ocala, where the charm of Florida truly comes to life.

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