16 Things to do in Ocala

Victor

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What to Know Before Visiting

Did you know that Ocala, Florida, is not just a city but a gateway to a hidden world where horses outnumber people, and the springs are as clear as glass? Welcome to the unexpected treasure of the Sunshine State.

16 things to do in Ocala

Nestled in the heart of Florida, Ocala stands out as a beacon of natural beauty and cultural richness, making it an irresistible destination for travelers seeking an authentic taste of the Sunshine State. Known as the Horse Capital of the World, Ocala offers an unparalleled glimpse into equestrian life, with sprawling horse farms and live equine events that captivate both horse enthusiasts and novices alike. Beyond its equestrian fame, the city is surrounded by enchanting natural springs, such as Silver Springs State Park, where glass-bottom boat tours reveal an underwater world of breathtaking clarity. The historic downtown is a treasure trove of art, cuisine, and boutique shopping, perfectly blending the charm of old Florida with contemporary flair. Whether you’re drawn to the allure of outdoor adventures, the arts, or the serene beauty of nature, Ocala promises an unforgettable experience. Ready to explore the hidden gems of this vibrant city? Dive into our guide to discover 16 things to do in Ocala, Florida, and embark on a journey that will leave you longing to return.

Top Attractions in

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  • 1750 NW 80th Ave
  • 4.8 of 5
  • (144 total reviews)

Farm Tours of Ocala offers a unique and engaging experience for anyone looking to delve into the heart of Florida’s thoroughbred industry, nestled in the picturesque landscape of Ocala, Florida, known as the Horse Capital of the World. This one-of-a-kind tour provides visitors with an exclusive glimpse into the operations of working horse farms, showcasing the beauty and grace of these magnificent animals in their natural environment. It’s not just about observing; it’s an educational journey where guests learn about the breeding, training, and care of racehorses, making it an enriching experience for animal lovers, equestrian enthusiasts, and anyone curious about rural Floridian culture. Beyond the equine allure, the tours meander through lush pastures and stunning properties, offering breathtaking views that epitomize the serene beauty of central Florida’s landscape. Whether you’re a seasoned equestrian or simply looking for a unique way to spend a day, Farm Tours of Ocala provides an unforgettable adventure that highlights the importance of the equine industry to the region’s heritage and economy.

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  • 829 NE Sanchez Ave
  • 4.6 of 5
  • (2772 total reviews)

Tuscawilla Park, nestled in the heart of Ocala, Florida, offers a serene and picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, making it a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists alike. This beautifully maintained park is a haven for nature lovers, featuring sprawling green spaces, majestic oak trees, and a variety of walking trails that invite visitors to explore the natural beauty of the area. Beyond its natural allure, Tuscawilla Park is also home to the Ocala Discovery Center, providing educational opportunities and interactive exhibits that engage visitors of all ages. With its combination of natural beauty, recreational facilities, including a playground and sports courts, and cultural attractions, Tuscawilla Park offers a diverse range of activities that cater to every interest, making it an ideal spot for families, nature enthusiasts, and anyone looking to enjoy a peaceful day in a stunning setting.

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  • 11150 FL-40
  • 4.2 of 5
  • (800 total reviews)

Nestled in the heart of Ocala, Florida, the Petting Zoo Ocala offers a unique and heartwarming experience that is perfect for families, animal lovers, and anyone looking to connect with nature. This charming attraction stands out for its friendly atmosphere, where visitors have the opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of gentle animals. From feeding adorable goats to petting soft, fluffy rabbits, the interactive experiences at Petting Zoo Ocala are designed to foster a deeper appreciation for animals and the natural world. The zoo’s commitment to animal care and education also means that every visit is not only enjoyable but also informative, providing insights into the lives of the animals and the importance of conservation. Whether you’re looking for a fun day out with the kids, a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle, or a chance to learn more about farm animals and wildlife, Petting Zoo Ocala is a must-visit destination that promises memorable moments and smiles for all ages.

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  • 5415 NE 7th St
  • 4.6 of 5
  • (104 total reviews)

Nestled just a stone’s throw away from Ocala, Florida, Silver Springs Conservation Area is a natural gem that beckons outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. This sprawling sanctuary offers a serene escape into Florida’s lush landscapes, featuring crystal-clear springs, meandering trails, and an abundance of wildlife. Visitors are drawn to its tranquil beauty and the opportunity to explore one of the state’s most pristine environments. Whether you’re kayaking through the shimmering waters, hiking along the scenic paths, or simply soaking in the peaceful ambiance, Silver Springs Conservation Area provides a unique chance to connect with nature. Its rich biodiversity and picturesque vistas make it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the unspoiled charm of Florida’s natural world.

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  • 2825 SW 24th Ave
  • 4.6 of 5
  • (626 total reviews)

Scott Springs Park, nestled in the heart of Ocala, Florida, offers a serene and picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. This hidden gem is renowned for its crystal-clear spring, surrounded by lush greenery and a variety of walking trails that invite visitors to explore the natural beauty of the area. One of the park’s standout features is its unique wildlife; it’s not uncommon to spot turtles, birds, and even deer during a leisurely stroll. Additionally, the park provides amenities such as picnic areas, making it an ideal spot for a family outing or a peaceful afternoon. The combination of its natural spring, abundant wildlife, and tranquil atmosphere makes Scott Springs Park a must-visit destination for anyone looking to reconnect with nature and experience the beauty of Ocala’s outdoor offerings. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature photographer, or simply seeking a quiet place to relax, Scott Springs Park promises a refreshing and memorable experience.

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  • 1 Downtown SQ
  • 4.7 of 5
  • (329 total reviews)

Ocala Downtown Square, nestled in the heart of Ocala, Florida, offers a charming and vibrant glimpse into the city’s rich culture and community spirit. This picturesque square is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the essence of Ocala, with its beautifully manicured green spaces, inviting benches, and stunning historic architecture that tells the story of the city’s past. The square is alive with activity, hosting a variety of events throughout the year, from art walks and farmers’ markets to concerts and festivals, making it a hub of entertainment and social interaction. The surrounding streets are lined with an eclectic mix of shops, galleries, restaurants, and cafes, offering something for every taste and interest. Whether you’re in search of a leisurely day exploring local boutiques, enjoying fine dining, or simply relaxing in a picturesque setting, Ocala Downtown Square is a destination that promises memorable experiences and a warm welcome to all who visit.

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  • 7110 SW 80th Ave
  • 4.9 of 5
  • (2183 total reviews)

Sholom Park, located in the heart of Ocala, Florida, is a hidden gem that offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This beautifully landscaped park spans over 44 acres, featuring winding pathways, lush gardens, and serene water features that create an atmosphere of peace and serenity. Visitors to Sholom Park can immerse themselves in the beauty of nature, enjoy a leisurely stroll through the diverse plant life, or find a quiet spot to meditate and reconnect with themselves. The park is designed to promote peace and harmony, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a moment of relaxation or a picturesque setting for photography. With its unique blend of natural beauty and purposeful design for contemplation and rejuvenation, Sholom Park is a must-visit location for anyone traveling to Ocala, Florida. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply someone in search of a peaceful retreat, Sholom Park offers an unforgettable experience that captures the essence of Florida’s natural splendor.

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  • 701 NE Sanchez Ave
  • 4.5 of 5
  • (285 total reviews)

The Discovery Center in Ocala, Florida, is a gem for anyone interested in engaging, hands-on learning experiences that span a wide range of topics, from science and technology to history and natural discovery. Nestled in the heart of this vibrant community, the Discovery Center stands out as a must-visit destination for families, educators, and curious minds alike. Its ever-changing exhibits ensure that every visit offers something new and exciting, making it a place where imagination and education converge in the most delightful way. Whether you’re a local resident or a traveler seeking enriching experiences, the Discovery Center promises an unforgettable journey through interactive exhibits and programs designed to spark curiosity and inspire learning in visitors of all ages. This unique blend of fun and education makes the Discovery Center an essential stop for anyone exploring the cultural and educational landscape of Ocala, Florida.

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  • 8045 NW Gainesville Rd
  • 4.9 of 5
  • (4558 total reviews)

The Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park, nestled in the heart of Ocala, Florida, offers an exhilarating escape into nature that’s unlike any other experience in the United States. This adventure park is a must-visit destination for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike, boasting some of the longest, fastest, and highest zip lines in the state. What sets this park apart is its unique landscape; it’s not every day you get to soar over cliffs, lakes, and canyons, all within the lush, green expanses of Florida. Beyond zip-lining, the park offers a variety of activities such as horseback riding, kayaking, and gem mining, ensuring that there’s something for everyone. The blend of adrenaline-pumping adventures with the breathtaking beauty of the natural surroundings makes The Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park a standout attraction, offering visitors a memorable way to experience the great outdoors of Ocala, Florida. Whether you’re looking for an action-packed day or a peaceful retreat into nature, this park delivers an unforgettable experience that draws visitors back time and time again.

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  • 1600 SE 30th Ave
  • 4.5 of 5
  • (155 total reviews)

Nestled in the heart of Florida, Ocala Nature Park is a verdant oasis that beckons nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. This picturesque park, located in Ocala, offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, showcasing the natural beauty of the Sunshine State. Visitors to Ocala Nature Park can immerse themselves in a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking along well-maintained trails that meander through lush forests, bird watching for a glimpse of the diverse avian population, and picnicking in scenic spots that offer breathtaking views. The park’s tranquil ponds and streams provide a perfect backdrop for reflection and relaxation. With its rich biodiversity, including a plethora of flora and fauna native to the region, Ocala Nature Park serves as a living classroom for nature enthusiasts of all ages. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat in nature, an educational outing, or a chance to explore the great outdoors, Ocala Nature Park in Ocala, Florida, delivers an unforgettable experience that highlights the unique beauty and ecological importance of the area.

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  • 1211 SE 22nd Rd
  • 4.5 of 5
  • (523 total reviews)

Brick City Adventure Park in Ocala, Florida, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and thrilling activities that make it a must-visit destination for travelers of all ages. Nestled in the heart of Florida, this adventure park is a treasure trove of outdoor excitement, featuring a wide range of activities from zip-lining and rock climbing to serene nature trails and picnicking areas. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking your next thrill or a nature lover looking to explore the lush landscapes of Ocala, Brick City Adventure Park provides the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable day out. Its well-maintained facilities, friendly staff, and the diverse array of activities ensure that every visitor leaves with memorable experiences. The park’s commitment to providing a safe and enjoyable environment makes it an ideal spot for family outings, group excursions, or solo adventures. So, if you’re in Ocala or planning a trip to Florida, don’t miss the opportunity to discover the adventure and beauty that Brick City Adventure Park has to offer.

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  • 1445 NE 58th Ave
  • 4.7 of 5
  • (574 total reviews)

The Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center, nestled in the heart of Ocala, Florida, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and educational opportunities, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. This hidden gem, located within the Silver Springs State Park, provides visitors with a chance to delve into Florida’s rich history through its comprehensive exhibits ranging from prehistoric fossils to early 20th-century artifacts. The center is not just a museum; it’s an immersive experience where guests can explore the lush, surrounding ecosystems via guided nature trails, offering a firsthand look at the diverse flora and fauna that call this area home. Whether you’re a student of history, a science aficionado, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat into nature, the Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center promises an enriching and enlightening visit that showcases the best of Ocala’s natural and cultural heritage.

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  • 3925 E Fort King St
  • 4.5 of 5
  • (641 total reviews)

Fort King National Historic Landmark in Ocala, Florida, stands as a testament to the rich and tumultuous history of the early 19th century in the United States. This site, originally built in 1827 as a fortification during the Seminole Wars, offers visitors a unique glimpse into the past, showcasing the complex interactions between Native American tribes, particularly the Seminole, and European settlers. What makes Fort King a must-visit destination is not only its historical significance but also its dedication to preserving and educating the public about this pivotal era. The landmark features reconstructed buildings, including the fort itself, interpretive trails, and a visitor center filled with exhibits. These elements together provide an immersive experience, allowing visitors to step back in time and understand the struggles and stories of those who lived through this defining period of American history. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply curious, Fort King National Historic Landmark offers a compelling blend of education, reflection, and natural beauty, making it a worthwhile addition to any Ocala itinerary.

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  • 213 NE 5th St
  • 4.7 of 5
  • (256 total reviews)

Tuscawilla Art Park, nestled in the heart of Ocala, Florida, is a vibrant oasis that beckons art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. This unique park is not just a green space but a dynamic venue where the worlds of art and nature intertwine. Visitors are invited to explore an array of permanent and rotating sculptures set against a backdrop of lush landscapes, providing an immersive experience that stimulates both the mind and the senses. The park also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including art walks, concerts, and educational workshops, making it a lively hub for community engagement and cultural enrichment. Whether you’re looking to find inspiration, enjoy a peaceful retreat, or simply appreciate the fusion of art and nature, Tuscawilla Art Park offers a distinctive charm that makes it a must-visit destination in Ocala, Florida.

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  • 4333 E Silver Springs Blvd
  • 4.7 of 5
  • (213 total reviews)

The Appleton Museum of Art, nestled in the heart of Ocala, Florida, represents a cultural gem that beckons art enthusiasts and casual visitors alike. This distinguished institution houses an impressive collection that spans from European to contemporary art, ancient civilizations to American art, and includes a notable array of African, Asian, and Islamic artifacts. The diversity and quality of its exhibitions make it a must-visit destination. Beyond the visual feast, the Appleton offers educational programs and interactive workshops that enrich the visitor experience, making art accessible to all ages. The museum’s serene surroundings, with its lush gardens and elegant architecture, provide a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle. Whether you’re an art aficionado or simply seeking a day of inspiration and beauty, the Appleton Museum of Art offers a unique and enriching experience that highlights the cultural richness of Ocala, Florida.

Most asked questions about

What are some unique activities to do in Ocala, Florida?

In Ocala, unique activities include exploring the Ocala National Forest, visiting the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, and taking a glass-bottom boat tour at Silver Springs State Park.

Can families find suitable activities in Ocala?

Yes, families can enjoy numerous activities in Ocala, such as picnicking at Sholom Park, discovering hands-on exhibits at the Discovery Center, and horseback riding at the Ocala Horse Properties.

Are there any outdoor adventures specific to Ocala?

Ocala is renowned for its outdoor adventures, including hiking and biking the trails of the Cross Florida Greenway, kayaking along the Silver River, and experiencing the thrill of zip-lining through canopies at the Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park.

What cultural experiences can visitors enjoy in Ocala?

Visitors can immerse themselves in Ocala’s cultural experiences by attending performances at the Ocala Civic Theatre, exploring local art at the Appleton Museum of Art, and participating in the First Friday Art Walk in downtown Ocala.

Is Ocala a good destination for history enthusiasts?

Definitely, history enthusiasts will appreciate visiting historic sites like the Fort King National Historic Park, the Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology, and the Silver River Museum.

What dining experiences should not be missed in Ocala?

Ocala offers diverse dining experiences, from savoring southern cuisine at local diners to enjoying gourmet meals at upscale restaurants. The Horse & Hounds Restaurant and Ivy House are must-visits for an authentic taste of Ocala.

Are there any nature-focused activities in Ocala?

Nature lovers can indulge in activities such as bird watching at the Ocala National Forest, exploring the Juniper Prairie Wilderness, and enjoying the serene beauty of the Rainbow Springs State Park.

What are some recommended places for shopping in Ocala?

For shopping enthusiasts, Ocala provides a variety of options including the Paddock Mall, Market Street at Heath Brook, and unique local boutiques in downtown Ocala that offer everything from fashion to handmade crafts.

Can visitors engage in water-related activities in Ocala?

Yes, Ocala is a great place for water-related activities. Visitors can go tubing down the Rainbow River, enjoy boating on Lake Weir, or dive into the crystal-clear waters of Silver Glen Springs.

What makes Ocala a unique travel destination in Florida?

Ocala’s unique charm lies in its blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, rich history, and vibrant cultural scene, making it stand out as a travel destination that offers something for every type of traveler.

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