If you’re thinking of a getaway to Florida, there are so many great places to choose from. If you’ve never visited the beautiful city of Ocala, FL, you will love its rustic landscape and historic charm.
Located in Marion County, Ocala is Florida’s 45th most populous city. Ocala is known for its natural beauty and undeveloped forests.
It’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Whether you want to explore the outdoors, shop the day away, or taste some delicious local cuisine, there’s something for everyone in Ocala.
A relaxing, fun-filled adventure may be just what you need. Take a look at some of the fun things to do in Ocala.
Ocala National Forest
Ocala National Forest is one of Florida’s most popular destinations. Visitors can enjoy year-round activities, including camping, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing and photography.
Although it gets hot in the summer and chilly in the winter, you can enjoy the forest year-round. To get a good feel for all there is to offer, you’ll need more than one day to experience the beauty of the forest.
There are gorgeous hiking trails throughout the park. And don’t miss a chance to take a relaxing soak in Alexander Springs or Jupiter Springs.
Before heading out to explore, go by the Visitor’s Center for seasonal information and trail maps.
Appleton Museum of Art
Appleton Museum of Art is on the campus of the College of Central Florida. The museum contains a vast collection of traditional and contemporary art from all over the world.
Visitors can see the permanent European collection as well as rotating exhibits of medieval and modern art.
The museum offers instructional classes, lectures, and workshops throughout the year visitors and locals. Be sure to take a tour and see the full picture of what the museum has to offer.
On weekends, the public can visit the museum for $2.00. Children under six have free admission.
Canyons Zip Lines and Canopy Tours
This family attraction has become a popular spot in recent years. If you want to get your adrenaline pumping, try a zip line tour of the canyons.
You get to soar above the beautiful lakes, majestic trees, and incredible canyons. If you’re into adventure, the zip lines are a fun way to see the natural beauty and history of Ocala.
There are zip lines of varying heights. So, whether you want to fly high or stay closer to the ground, there’s a zip line for everyone in the family.
Every participant receives an orientation and a safety gear check before heading out to play.
Glass-Bottom Boat Ride
The glass-bottom boat rides at Silver Springs State Park are one of the oldest and most popular attractions in Ocala. Take a ride on a glass-bottom boat and get a glimpse of the aquatic life beneath the surface.
The glass-bottom boat rides are perfect for couples and families with children. Be sure to stop by the Silver River Museum too.
Glass Bottom Boat tickets are $11 for adults, $10 for children ages 6 to 12. Children 5 and under ride free.
You can make reservations, but it’s not required. Boat rides run throughout the day.
If you’re looking for the perfect spot to relax and take in the beauty of nature, Shalom Park has it all. The 44-acre park combines native plants with exotic flora for a breathtaking display.
Explore the eleven landscaped areas, including a formal garden, ginger garden, azalea trail, and labyrinth. Paved walkways guide guests throughout the park.
This gorgeous retreat is perfect for family gatherings, long walks, and taking pictures. Admission to the park is free.
Gypsy Gold Horse Farm
In 1995, Dennis and Cindy Thompson took a trip to an English farm and marveled at the black and white Gypsy Vanner horses they saw. They loved them so much they exported sixteen of these horses back to Florida.
Today, Dennis breeds and sells Gypsy Vanner horses on his farm in Ocala, FL. You can visit the farm, take a tour, and get an up-close experience with these amazing horses.
Group tours are available, but you must make a reservation.
Shop and Eat in Downtown Square
Downtown Ocala has a wide variety of shops and restaurants. As you wander through Downtown Square, you’ll enjoy the farmer’s markets, antique shops, and the small-town feel of the area.
Whether you enjoy fine local dining or casual family fare, you’re sure to find something for everyone. The holiday lights and decor draw a big crowd in November and December.
Arts and Craft vendors and food trucks line the streets of Downtown Square the first Friday night of every month. Visitors can buy one-of-a-kind creations and sample the local food and treats.
Horseback Riding Tours
When you visit Ocala, you’ll notice horse statues around the downtown area. Horseback riding is a popular pastime here, and riding tours are available for all ages.
Take a tour of the canyons, cliffs, and the beautiful lakes. See some amazing wildlife and blooming wildflowers along the way.
There are a variety of horseback riding tours in Ocala, including Cactus Jack’s Trail Rides and Wild West Horse Tours.
Whether you want a scenic tour of the woods or prefer to stay close to the stables, there’s a horse tour for you.
Ocala Historic District
Visit the Historic District and see one of the first residential neighborhoods in Ocala. Established in 1880, this is one of the most prominent neighborhoods in the area.
The Queen Anne Revival homes on Fort King Street were all constructed before 1910. These historic homes are amazing, and the streets are lined with Oak trees and local flora.
The neighborhood is welcoming to visitors, so take a walk and transport yourself back in time to historic Ocala.
As visitors discover fun things to do in Ocala, many realize it’s a wonderful place to call home. The climate and schools are amazing, and it’s the perfect place to raise a family or retire.
Never Wonder Again What to Do in Ocala
Ocala is such a great place to visit. Whether you want to escape into nature, zip line over the canyons, or take in the local culture, Ocala has something for everyone.
Why wait? Plan your getaway now and experience all the fun things to do in Ocala.
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