Ocala Florida: Things to do
The best places to visit in Ocala FL
Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology
You’re a history buff or not? Then you’ll be in the zone with the incredible exhibits at the Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology. The museum is a combination research and teaching institution that displays 13,000 years worth of human history from Marion County, Florida.
You can take your time and browse through the diverse collection of exhibits that range from Civil War artifacts to centuries old Spanish glass.
Paleo-Indian civilizations inhabited the area for over 14,000 years, making it an excellent location for archaeological exploration. Present focus: The remains of Santa Lucia de Acuera’s mission, which was established in 1627 by the Spanish.
You want to dig up history and get dirty? You are invited to join the museum’s experts.
Ocala National Forest
Are you feeling the need to go off the beaten track? Make Ocala National Forest your destination. Ocala National Forest, which covers more than 80 square miles of stunning recreational waterways and springs in Florida, is the second-largest state forest.
Outdoor enthusiasts love Ocala National Forest. It’s not surprising, as the beautiful sand pine scrub forest provides miles of hiking and biking trails.
This site is full of aquatic beauty. Enjoy the beautiful walking trails that lead to Salt Spring, Silver Glen Spring and Alexander Springs. You can jump in whenever you feel the need to cool down. Do you feel like going to the lake? This natural paradise has over 600 to choose from.
Do you want to get out of your seat? You can either take a guided ride or get on an ATV. Make sure you have your binoculars with you: Ocala National forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife and birds, including black bears and alligators as well as deer and boars.
You don’t want your trip to be over? Stay the night at a campsite!
Sholom Park, Ocala’s quietest park, is a great place to visit if you are looking for a peaceful haven. “Sholom”, the Hebrew word meaning peace, is what it all says. The park is privately owned and open to the public. It was designed to provide a tranquil escape from Ocala‘s hustle and bustle.
This beautiful botanical garden, covering 44 acres, was created to enhance the natural woodland landscape. It contains more than 100 native species. As you walk the paved path through Sholom Park, take your time and admire them. Admire the magnificent mature oaks and enjoy the sweet scent of longleaf pins. The koi pond is where you can see the fish jumping out of the water to eat.
You can relax on any of the benches in the park. Relax, reflect, then leave feeling refreshed.
Gypsy Gold Horse Farm
It makes perfect sense that the “Horse Capital of the World”, is home to one of the most fascinating equine brands worldwide. Legend has it that Gypsy Vanner horses were brought to Britain by British gypsies generations ago.
Dennis and Cindy Thompson have made them a part of North America’s Gypsy Gold Horse Farm, regardless of their history.
These beautiful horses are a magnet for visitors to Ocala. They are well-known for their black-and-white coloring, flowing hair, feathered hooves, and friendly nature.
Visit the Gypsy Gold Horse Farm and meet the horses in person. You can also learn more about their fascinating history from the owners.
Enjoy a guided tour of the farm and meet the residents. You can also give them carrot treats. Take a unique selfie with these beautiful ladies!
Silver River Museum
Are you looking for a family-friendly place that is both educational and entertaining? The Silver River Museum is sure to entertain you regardless of your age.
The museum is located in Ocala’s Silver Springs State Park. It works closely with Florida Park Service to offer programming that highlights the natural and cultural history of the area.
The museum is open to all, while weekends are reserved for school groups. The museum’s exhibits offer fascinating insight into the local fauna and flora, as well as the rich history of the area’s indigenous people.
For a glimpse into the past, you can step into the pioneer village. The pioneer village is a collection of historical and replica structures that depict life as it was in the early 1800s.
You can see the settlement cabins: a one-room schoolhouse and sugarcane mill, blacksmith shop and wood-fired pottery. There is also a replica Seminole Indian camp. It’s the story of history brought to life.
Withlacoochee State Forest
Do you have a passion for the outdoors? You must visit Withlacoochee State Forest. Although it is not as well-known than some of the Sunshine State’s other treed preserves and forests, it is Florida’s third largest state forest. It is a paradise for nature lovers, with a lot of it being dedicated to wildlife preservation and environmental protection.
Withlacoochee State Forest
Nearly 50 miles of trails are available in Withlacoochee State Forest, many of which are paved. Even if you have a stroller, it’s very easy to navigate.
You can choose your mode of transportation: Explore the natural beauty of Withlacoochee State Forest by hiking, biking or riding on horseback. You can also pick up a paddle to explore the waterways on a canoe.
The state’s endangered and rarest animal and plant species are found in this unique sandhill ecosystem. Take your binoculars with you to see everything, from Cooley’s Waterwillows and Red-cockaded Woodpeckers.
Canyons Zip Line and Canopy Tours
Are you ready to get your adrenaline pumping Canyons Zip Line and Canyons Canopy Tours will take you to new heights. This park has the longest, fastest, and most impressive zip line in Florida.
The 100-acre park is surrounded by stunning cliffs, lakes with crystal clear water, majestic old-growth oak trees, and canyons. You can take a thrilling flight through limestone canyons to get a bird’s-eye view of this amazing natural setting.
You want to be closer to the ground? Try balancing on a rope bridge or rappelling down a cliffside to test your balance. Do you want to share some horse companionship? It’s the horse capital of the globe! This unique site can be explored by horseback riding. You will enjoy the panoramic views as you weave along winding trails.
Ocala Civic Theatre
Do you want to experience the local culture? The Ocala Civic Theater is a great place to experience local culture. This is the largest theatre in the Sunshine State, and it’s located in the Appleton Cultural Center.
This often overlooked gem, also known as the Appleton Civic Theater is one of the best-rated theaters in America. Each season, it hosts a variety of professional-quality live productions that tour the U.S. It also hosts many touring companies. The theater offers live music, comedy, dramas, musicals and other entertainment.
Do you feel the need to work behind the scenes or on the boards? The theater offers courses and programs that will help you improve your abilities in everything from improvisation to performing musically.
Ocala Historic District
You want to see a little bit of Ocala’s history? Make sure you make time to visit Ocala’s Historic District. The Gothic Victorian architecture and oak trees moss-draped with moss give it a distinct Old South flavor that will leave you feeling like you have stepped back in time.
The Historic District Downtown Square will take you back to the present. This lively square is the heart of downtown and is a great place to gather for concerts and other events such as First Friday Art Walks featuring live music and family art activities.
You can find great shopping, dining and nightlife options at the Ocala Downtown Market.
What better way to end your day than in a horse-drawn carriage? Take a carriage ride on a horse and enjoy a tour of the historic downtown.
Get a close-up view of Central Florida’s beautiful wilderness. The Belleview-Santos Trail is a great way to see all of Florida’s natural wonders. This outdoor destination is located just outside Ocala and offers an amazing cross-sectional view of the landscapes.
It winds through five miles of ecosystems, from rare scrub pine forests and cypress tree swamps. You can either walk or ride horses on the trail. You will need to bring your bike: There are many trails that offer everything you could want, from packed sand trails to steep climbs to smooth paved roads.
Have you gained a hunger pang? You can refuel at one of the picnic tables on site. You can also reserve a campsite at Santos for an extended stay and call it a night.
Rainbow Springs State Park
You want to relax in a peaceful, family-friendly environment that dates back thousands of years. You can make a unique experience of Rainbow Springs State Park by entering its GPS number.
This park is located just west of Ocala and boasts a 1,000-acre natural spring. The spring’s 72-degree temperature year-round means that it is “Chill”. The crystal-clear waters are a great place to swim, tube or snorkel.
You want to be dry? You can explore the parks’ gardens and playgrounds as well as interpretive exhibits. Relax on the Headsprings’ beach. Take a stroll through the woods to take in the park’s rolling hills and mossy hammocks.
Have you gained an appetite? You’re ready to go? Visit one of the concession stands in the park for a snack, an ice cream or a soft drink.