Best and Fun Things To Do In Ocala (Florida)
Best and Fun Things To Do In Ocala: Ocala, located in the heart of Florida, is a city that offers a diverse range of activities and attractions for visitors and residents alike. From outdoor adventures and natural beauty to unique cultural experiences and historical landmarks, Ocala has something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking to explore the great outdoors, indulge in culinary delights, or immerse yourself in local arts and culture, Ocala has plenty of options to keep you entertained. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best and fun things to do in Ocala to help you plan your next visit to this vibrant city.
Visit the Silver Springs State Park
Best and Fun Things To Do In Ocala: Silver Springs State Park is a 5,000-acre park located in Ocala, Florida, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. The park is home to one of the largest artesian springs in the world and is a popular destination for outdoor activities and wildlife viewing.
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Here are some of the best places and things to do for fun at Silver Springs State Park:
Glass Bottom Boat Tours – take a ride on a glass-bottom boat and experience the crystal clear waters of Silver Springs. You’ll have a chance to see a diverse underwater ecosystem and get an up-close look at the park’s many fish and other aquatic creatures.
Kayaking and Canoeing – rent a kayak or canoe and explore the park’s many waterways, including the Silver River and the Fort King Waterway. This is a great way to get some exercise and experience the park’s natural beauty up close.
Hiking – the park offers several hiking trails, ranging from easy to challenging, that offer stunning views of the natural beauty of the area. Some of the most popular trails include the Sandhill, Swamp, and River trails.
Wildlife Viewing – the park is home to a variety of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, and a variety of bird species. Bring your binoculars and see what you can spot.
Picnicking – there are several picnic areas throughout the park where you can relax and enjoy a meal with family and friends. Some of the most popular picnic areas include the Paradise Picnic Area and the Wildflower Picnic Area.
Biking – there are several paved and unpaved bike trails in the park that offer a great way to explore the area on two wheels. The park is also home to the Santos Mountain Bike Trail System, which offers over 80 miles of trails for mountain bikers of all skill levels.
Swimming – the park has a designated swimming area in the springhead that is open year-round. This is a great place to cool off on a hot summer day.
Camping – the park offers several camping options, including primitive campsites and full RV hookups. This is a great way to experience the park’s natural beauty up close and spend some time in the great outdoors.
Overall, Silver Springs State Park is a must-visit destination in Ocala, Florida, offering a variety of fun activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re interested in hiking, kayaking, or just enjoying a picnic with family and friends, there’s something for everyone at Silver Springs State Park.
Best and Fun Things To Do In Ocala: Horseback riding is a popular activity in Ocala, Florida, and there are many options for visitors who want to experience the beauty of the area on horseback. Ocala is known as the “horse capital of the world” and is home to some of the finest horse farms and equestrian facilities in the country.
Here are some of the best places to go horseback riding in Ocala:
Horse Country Carriage Company & Tours – offers horse-drawn carriage tours of the historic downtown Ocala area and the surrounding countryside.
Cactus Jack’s Trail Rides – offers guided trail rides through the beautiful Ocala National Forest, with options for riders of all skill levels.
Gypsy Gold Horse Farm – offers tours of their farm, which is home to some of the most beautiful Gypsy Vanner horses in the world. They also offer horseback riding lessons and trail rides.
Grand Oaks Resort – offers horseback riding lessons and trail rides through their 400-acre property, which includes lush pastures, wooded trails, and picturesque lakes.
Gator Horse Trail Rides – offers guided trail rides through the scenic Florida countryside, with options for riders of all skill levels.
Ocala National Forest – offers miles of horseback riding trails through some of the most beautiful natural areas in the state.
Overall, horseback riding is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Ocala, Florida, and there are plenty of options for visitors who want to try it out. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, there’s something for everyone in Ocala’s equestrian community.
Explore the Ocala National Forest
Best and Fun Things To Do In Ocala: The Ocala National Forest is a beautiful natural area located in central Florida, just north of the city of Ocala. It is the second-largest national forest in Florida and covers over 600 square miles.
Here are some of the best things to do in the Ocala National Forest:
Hiking – The Ocala National Forest has over 600 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy to strenuous. Some popular hiking trails include the Florida Trail, the Juniper Springs Trail, and the Salt Springs Observation Trail.
Camping – There are several campgrounds located within the Ocala National Forest, including Juniper Springs, Salt Springs, and Alexander Springs. These campgrounds offer a variety of amenities, including picnic areas, boat ramps, and swimming areas.
Swimming – The Ocala National Forest is home to several natural springs, including Juniper Springs, Salt Springs, and Silver Glen Springs. These springs offer crystal-clear water for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
Boating – The Ocala National Forest has several lakes and rivers that are perfect for boating and fishing. Some popular spots include Lake George, the St. Johns River, and the Ocklawaha River.
Wildlife viewing – The Ocala National Forest is home to a variety of wildlife, including alligators, black bears, deer, and a variety of bird species. Visitors can take a guided wildlife tour or explore the forest on their own.
Overall, the Ocala National Forest is a beautiful natural area that offers a wide variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in hiking, camping, swimming, boating, or wildlife viewing, there’s something for everyone in the Ocala National Forest.
Visit the Appleton Museum of Art
Best and Fun Things To Do In Ocala: The Appleton Museum of Art is located in Ocala, Florida, and is home to over 18,000 works of art from around the world. It is one of the premier cultural institutions in the state and is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Ocala.
Here are some of the highlights of the Appleton Museum of Art:
Permanent collection – The museum’s permanent collection includes works of art from a wide variety of cultures and time periods. Visitors can explore everything from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary art.
Temporary exhibitions – The museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, featuring works of art from both local and international artists.
Education programs – The Appleton Museum of Art offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages, including lectures, workshops, and guided tours.
Outdoor sculptures – The museum’s outdoor sculpture garden features works by some of the most renowned sculptors in the world, including Louise Nevelson and Alexander Calder.
Gift shop – The museum’s gift shop offers a wide variety of unique gifts, including jewelry, books, and art prints.
Overall, the Appleton Museum of Art is a wonderful destination for anyone interested in art and culture. With its extensive collection, beautiful outdoor sculptures, and educational programs, it offers something for everyone.
Discover the historic Fort King National Historic Landmark
Best and Fun Things To Do In Ocala: Fort King National Historic Landmark is located in Ocala, Florida, and is a significant historic site that played a crucial role in the Seminole Wars.
Here are some of the things to see and do at Fort King:
Visitor Center – The Fort King Visitor Center features exhibits and displays that tell the story of the fort and its importance in Florida’s history. It’s a great starting point for anyone visiting the landmark.
Guided tours – The site offers guided tours that provide visitors with an in-depth look at the fort’s history and significance. These tours are led by knowledgeable and friendly park rangers.
Outdoor activities – The landmark is situated on 40 acres of parkland and offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and picnicking. The park is also home to a large playground for children.
Living history events – Throughout the year, the site hosts living history events that recreate life at the fort during the 1800s. These events feature reenactors in period clothing who demonstrate activities like cooking, blacksmithing, and woodworking.
Special events – The site also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, including music festivals, art shows, and holiday celebrations.
Overall, the Fort King National Historic Landmark is a fascinating destination for history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts alike. With its visitor center, guided tours, outdoor activities, living history events, and special events, it offers something for everyone.
Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park
Best and Fun Things To Do In Ocala: The Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park is an exciting outdoor adventure park located in Ocala, Florida.
Here are some of the things to see and do at the Canyons:
Zip line tours – The park features several zip line courses that allow visitors to soar through the treetops and take in stunning views of the surrounding forest.
Aerial adventure park – The Canyons also features an aerial adventure park that challenges visitors to navigate through a series of obstacles and challenges high up in the trees.
Horseback riding – The park offers guided horseback riding tours through the forest, giving visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty of Ocala from a different perspective.
Nature trails – The Canyons has several miles of nature trails that wind through the forest, offering visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty of the area.
Picnicking – The park has several scenic picnic areas where visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch or snack in a beautiful outdoor setting.
Overall, the Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park is a great destination for anyone looking for outdoor adventure and natural beauty. With its zip line tours, aerial adventure park, horseback riding, nature trails, and picnic areas, it offers something for everyone.
Ocala Civic Theatre
Best and Fun Things To Do In Ocala: The Ocala Civic Theatre is a non-profit community theater located in Ocala, Florida.
Here are some of the things to see and do at the Ocala Civic Theatre:
Performances – The theater produces a variety of plays and musicals throughout the year, featuring local actors and professional guest artists. From classic plays to contemporary musicals, there is always something new and exciting to see.
Workshops and classes – The theater offers a range of workshops and classes for both adults and children. These programs cover topics such as acting, singing, dancing, and stagecraft.
Summer camps – The theater hosts summer camps for children and teenagers, providing them with an opportunity to learn about theater and hone their skills in a fun and supportive environment.
Special events – The theater hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, including fundraising galas, holiday parties, and community outreach programs.
Volunteer opportunities – The theater relies on the support of volunteers to keep its productions running smoothly. There are many opportunities to get involved, from ushering to set construction to administrative work.
Overall, the Ocala Civic Theatre is a wonderful cultural institution that provides a range of opportunities for people of all ages to experience and participate in the performing arts. With its performances, workshops, summer camps, special events, and volunteer opportunities, it is a great destination for anyone interested in theater and the arts.
Best and Fun Things To Do In Ocala: Sholom Park is a beautiful park located in Ocala, Florida.
Here are some of the things to see and do at Sholom Park:
Walking trails – The park features several miles of walking trails that wind through beautifully landscaped gardens and natural areas. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll, go for a jog, or hike through the park’s various ecosystems.
Nature observation – Sholom Park is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, making it a great destination for nature observation. Visitors can spot birds, butterflies, and other wildlife while exploring the park’s natural areas.
Picnicking – The park has several scenic picnic areas where visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch or snack in a beautiful outdoor setting.
Meditation and reflection – Sholom Park was designed to be a place of peace and tranquility, and many visitors come here to meditate or reflect. There are several quiet areas throughout the park where visitors can sit and enjoy the natural beauty of their surroundings.
Events and activities – Sholom Park hosts a variety of events and activities throughout the year, including concerts, workshops, and nature walks. Check the park’s calendar for upcoming events.
Overall, Sholom Park is a wonderful destination for anyone looking to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. With its walking trails, nature observation opportunities, picnic areas, and peaceful atmosphere, it offers something for everyone.
World Equestrian Center
Best and Fun Things To Do In Ocala: The World Equestrian Center is a state-of-the-art equestrian facility located in Ocala, Florida.
Here are some of the things to see and do at the World Equestrian Center:
Equestrian competitions – The World Equestrian Center hosts a variety of equestrian competitions throughout the year, featuring some of the top riders and horses from around the world. Visitors can watch exciting events such as show jumping, dressage, and hunter competitions.
Riding lessons – The facility offers riding lessons for both children and adults, led by experienced instructors. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, there are lessons available for all skill levels.
Horse shows and exhibitions – In addition to equestrian competitions, the World Equestrian Center also hosts horse shows and exhibitions, showcasing a wide variety of horse breeds and disciplines.
Shopping and dining – The facility features several shops and restaurants, offering visitors a chance to browse for equestrian gear or enjoy a meal or snack while watching the action.
Weddings and events – The World Equestrian Center is also a popular venue for weddings and other special events, offering beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces for ceremonies and receptions.
Overall, the World Equestrian Center is a world-class facility that is a must-visit destination for equestrian enthusiasts. With its equestrian competitions, riding lessons, horse shows, shopping and dining options, and beautiful event spaces, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Best and Fun Things To Do In Ocala: Downtown Ocala is the historic heart of the city, and it is home to a variety of attractions, shops, and restaurants.
Here are some of the things to see and do in Downtown Ocala:
Ocala Downtown Market – The market is open on Saturdays and features vendors selling fresh produce, artisanal goods, and handmade crafts. It’s a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs.
Historic buildings – Downtown Ocala is home to many historic buildings, including the Marion Theatre, the Coca-Cola Building, and the Ocala Union Station.
Art galleries – The downtown area is home to several art galleries, showcasing the work of local artists. Visitors can browse paintings, sculptures, and other types of artwork.
Restaurants and cafes – Downtown Ocala has a wide variety of restaurants and cafes, offering everything from fine dining to casual fare. Visitors can enjoy a meal or a drink while taking in the historic surroundings.
Events and festivals – Downtown Ocala hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, including concerts, street festivals, and art shows. Check the calendar of events for upcoming activities.
Overall, Downtown Ocala is a vibrant and bustling area that is well worth a visit. Whether you’re interested in history, art, food, or just strolling around and soaking up the atmosphere, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this charming downtown area.