Ocala Things to Do
You won’t find the big Florida theme parks or sandy ocean beaches in Ocala, but what you’ll find is different way to explore Florida. With plenty of public parks, forests, bodies of water, museums, and more, there’s plenty of things to do.
Connect With Nature
Want to relax and connect with nature? In the Ocala area there are a number of places to go.
Ocala National Forest – The second biggest in the state and the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River, the park has 383,000 acres and over 600 natural lakes and ponds (including the 3,000-acre Marshall Swamp). Visit Silver Glen Springs while you’re here, there’s a swimming area and some other things to do.
Silver Springs State Park – Recreational activities include camping and horseback riding. Other things you can do is take the “Lost River Voyage”, a boat ride through dense jungle. See what it’s like to ride a glass bottom boat. If you want to stick to land, take a Jeep safari, a very bumpy ride through 35 acres of African and Asian animals. You’ll see a ton of other wildlife while visiting this park – clearly this is their territory!
Florida Trail – This is a 1,400-mile walking trail from Pensacola to the big cypress swamp in southwest Florida. Fashioned after the Appalachian Trail, on the Ocala section of the trail, you hike through saw palmetto scrub, pine islands, live oak hammocks and past a number of small lakes and ponds.
Most of the area parks offer walking and biking trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, canoeing, boating and fishing. Also plenty of birding and other wildlife spotting opportunities. You’ll even run across some historic sites.
See the Horse Farms
Ocala is in the heart of Florida horse country, and you’ll find horse farms down every secondary road; many offer tours. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride to view the beautiful countryside and see the horses run free in the field. Learn about the history of the horse industry in Ocala.
Explore the Museums
The Ocala area also has many museums. While in the park, visit the Silver River Museum. To see a diverse collection of art visit the Appleton Museum. If it’s classic cars you love, 10 miles south of Ocala, just off I-75, you will find the Garlits Museum that houses historic drag racing cars. Explore the nearby Antique Car Museum with its collection of historic cars (also discover some other neat surprises here you wouldn’t normally expect to see in a car museum).
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