Welcome to Ocala, FL: A Hidden Gem in the Heart of Florida
Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, Ocala, FL, is a charming city that offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, rich history, and a thriving arts scene. As you explore this captivating destination, you’ll discover lush landscapes, crystal-clear springs, and a warm, welcoming community that will make you feel right at home. So, pack your bags and get ready to uncover the hidden gems of Ocala, FL!
Must-Visit Attractions and Landmarks in Ocala, FL
Ocala, FL is a city filled with natural beauty, rich history, and exciting attractions. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there are plenty of must-visit landmarks and attractions that you won’t want to miss. Here are some of the top picks:
Rainbow Springs State Park
Located in Dunnellon, just a short drive from Ocala, Rainbow Springs State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. The park is home to crystal clear springs, waterfalls, and lush vegetation, making it the perfect spot for swimming, tubing, and kayaking. Visitors can also hike through the park’s beautiful trails, have a picnic, or take a guided tour.
Pro-tip: Arrive early to avoid crowds and make sure to bring sunscreen, water shoes, and a waterproof camera to capture the stunning scenery.
“Rainbow Springs State Park is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty of Florida. The water is crystal clear and the scenery is breathtaking. It’s the perfect spot for a day trip with family or friends.”
The Mojo Grill
Located in Belleview, The Mojo Grill is a local favorite for delicious food and a fun atmosphere. The menu features a variety of dishes, including burgers, sandwiches, and seafood, all made with fresh ingredients and bold flavors. The restaurant also has a full bar and live music on weekends, making it a great spot for a night out.
Pro-tip: Try the Mojo Burger, a juicy patty topped with bacon, cheese, and a signature sauce. And don’t forget to save room for dessert – the fried Oreos are a must-try!
“The Mojo Grill is the perfect spot for a casual dinner with friends or family. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is lively. Make sure to check out the live music on weekends!”
The Markets of Marion
The Markets of Marion is a must-visit destination for shoppers and bargain hunters. The indoor flea market features over 1,000 vendors selling everything from antiques and collectibles to clothing and jewelry. Visitors can also find fresh produce, baked goods, and other local treats.
Pro-tip: Wear comfortable shoes and plan to spend a few hours exploring the market. And don’t be afraid to haggle – many vendors are willing to negotiate on prices.
“The Markets of Marion is a hidden gem in Ocala. You can find everything from vintage clothing to fresh produce. It’s a great spot to spend a lazy afternoon browsing and shopping.”
Located in the Ocala National Forest, Juniper Springs is a natural wonder that should not be missed. The park is home to a crystal clear rock pool and blue hole spring, surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife. Visitors can swim, snorkel, or kayak in the spring, or explore the nearby trails on foot or by bike.
Pro-tip: Bring your own snorkeling gear and water shoes, and arrive early to secure a spot by the spring. And don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the park.
“Juniper Springs is a hidden gem in the Ocala National Forest. The water is crystal clear and the scenery is stunning. It’s the perfect spot for a day trip with family or friends.”
Ocala Downtown Square
The Ocala Downtown Square is a historic landmark that is worth a visit. The square features a beautiful gazebo, surrounded by shops, restaurants, and other local businesses. Visitors can stroll around the square, take in the sights and sounds, and enjoy the local culture.
Pro-tip: Visit the square during the holiday season to see it decorated with festive lights and decorations. And make sure to check out the local shops and restaurants for unique souvenirs and delicious food.
“The Ocala Downtown Square is a charming spot that captures the essence of the city. The gazebo is a beautiful centerpiece, and the local shops and restaurants add to the charm. It’s a must-visit for anyone exploring Ocala.”
Fort King Site Historic Replica
The Fort King Site Historic Replica is a fascinating destination for history buffs. The site features a replica of the original fort, which was built in the 1800s to protect settlers from Native American attacks. Visitors can explore the fort and learn about its history, as well as the history of the area.
Pro-tip: Take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the fort and the area. And make sure to bring sunscreen and water, as the site can get hot and humid.
“The Fort King Site Historic Replica is a fascinating destination for anyone interested in history. The replica fort is well-preserved and the guided tours are informative and engaging. It’s a must-visit for anyone exploring Ocala.”
The Paddock Mall is a popular shopping destination in Ocala, featuring a variety of stores and restaurants. Visitors can shop for clothing, electronics, and other goods, or grab a bite to eat at one of the mall’s many restaurants.
Pro-tip: Visit the mall during the week to avoid crowds, and take advantage of the many deals and discounts offered by the stores. And make sure to try the cinnamon rolls at Cinnabon!
“The Paddock Mall is a great spot for shopping and dining in Ocala. The mall has a variety of stores and restaurants, and there are always deals and discounts to be found. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to do some shopping.”
Charlie Horse Restaurant
The Charlie Horse Restaurant is a local favorite for delicious food and a fun atmosphere. The menu features a variety of dishes, including seafood, burgers, and salads, all made with fresh ingredients and bold flavors. The restaurant also has a full bar and live music on weekends, making it a great spot for a night out.
Pro-tip: Try the fish tacos, a local favorite, and make sure to save room for the key lime pie. And don’t miss the live music on weekends!
“The Charlie Horse Restaurant is a must-visit for anyone looking for delicious food and a fun atmosphere. The seafood is fresh and the drinks are strong. And the live music on weekends is always a good time!”
Beautiful Parks and Gardens in Ocala
Ocala is home to some of the most beautiful parks and gardens in Florida. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax, exercise, or explore, there’s a park or garden in Ocala that’s perfect for you.
The Baseline Road Trailhead is a popular park for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. With over 8 miles of trails, you can explore the beautiful Florida wilderness and enjoy the fresh air. The park also has picnic areas and restrooms for your convenience.
The Sunnyhill Restoration Area is a hidden gem in Umatilla, just a short drive from Ocala. This park is perfect for birdwatching, fishing, and hiking. The park is located along the beautiful Ocklawaha River and has picnic areas and restrooms available.
Silver Springs State Park is one of the most popular parks in Ocala, and for good reason. This park is home to the famous glass-bottom boat tours, where you can see the crystal clear waters of the Silver River. The park also has hiking trails, picnic areas, and a playground for kids.
Tuscawilla Park is a beautiful park in the heart of Ocala. This park has something for everyone, including a playground, basketball court, and picnic areas. The park is also home to the Ocala Skatepark, which is a popular spot for skateboarders and BMX riders.
Scott Spring Park is a small park in Ocala that’s perfect for a quick picnic or a game of frisbee. The park has a playground, picnic tables, and a basketball court. The highlight of the park is the beautiful spring, which is a popular spot for swimming and snorkeling.
- Pro-tip: Bring bug spray and sunscreen when visiting parks and gardens in Ocala, as the Florida sun and bugs can be intense.
Did You Know?
Ocala is known as the “Horse Capital of the World” and is home to over 1,200 horse farms.
The Silver Springs State Park was a popular filming location for movies and TV shows in the 1950s and 1960s, including “Tarzan” and “Sea Hunt.”
Highly Rated Restaurants and Cafes
Ocala is home to some of the best restaurants and cafes in Florida. From French cuisine to Latin American dishes, there is something for everyone. Here are some of the top-rated places to eat in Ocala:
The Mojo Grill & Catering Company
If you’re looking for a casual yet delicious dining experience, The Mojo Grill & Catering Company is the perfect place to go. This restaurant is known for its mouth-watering barbecue dishes and excellent customer service. The menu features a variety of options, from pulled pork sandwiches to smoked brisket. The Mojo Grill & Catering Company is ranked #9 out of 507 places to eat in Ocala on TripAdvisor.
- Address: 4620 E Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala, FL 34470-5003
- Phone: +1 352-369-6656
- Price Range: $$ – $$$
- Ranking: #9 of 507 Places to Eat in Ocala
La Cuisine French Restaurant
For an upscale dining experience, La Cuisine French Restaurant is the place to go. This restaurant is known for its authentic French cuisine and elegant atmosphere. The menu features classic French dishes like escargots, coq au vin, and bouillabaisse. La Cuisine French Restaurant is ranked #5 out of 507 places to eat in Ocala on TripAdvisor.
- Address: 48 SW 1st Ave, Ocala, FL 34471-2131
- Phone: +1 352-433-2570
- Price Range: $$$$
- Website: http://lacuisineocala.com/
- Ranking: #5 of 507 Places to Eat in Ocala
Latinos Y Mas
For a taste of Latin American cuisine, Latinos Y Mas is the place to go. This restaurant is known for its flavorful dishes and lively atmosphere. The menu features a variety of Latin American dishes like arroz con camarones, churrasco, and empanadas. Latinos Y Mas is ranked #3 out of 507 places to eat in Ocala on TripAdvisor.
- Address: 2030 S Pine Ave, Ocala, FL 34471-7752
- Phone: +1 352-622-4777
- Price Range: $$ – $$$
- Website: http://www.latinosymas.com/
- Ranking: #3 of 507 Places to Eat in Ocala
For a taste of Southern cuisine, Ivy House is the place to go. This restaurant is known for its delicious comfort food and charming atmosphere. The menu features classic Southern dishes like fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens. Ivy House is ranked #21 out of 507 places to eat in Ocala on TripAdvisor.
- Address: 917 E Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala, FL 34470-5008
- Phone: +1 352-622-5550
- Price Range: $$ – $$$
- Website: http://www.ivyhousefl.com/
- Ranking: #21 of 507 Places to Eat in Ocala
Blue Highway Pizzeria Ocala
If you’re in the mood for pizza, Blue Highway Pizzeria Ocala is the place to go. This restaurant is known for its delicious wood-fired pizzas and cozy atmosphere. The menu features a variety of pizza options, from classic margherita to unique creations like the Micanopy Tossed Salad pizza. Blue Highway Pizzeria Ocala is ranked #105 out of 507 places to eat in Ocala on TripAdvisor.
- Address: 2130 E Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala, FL 34470-5004
- Phone: +1 352-629-5555
- Price Range: $$ – $$$
- Ranking: #105 of 507 Places to Eat in Ocala
Make sure to make a reservation ahead of time, especially for La Cuisine French Restaurant and Ivy House, as they tend to fill up quickly.
Did You Know?
Latinos Y Mas is owned by a husband and wife team who are both from Latin America and have a passion for sharing their culture through food.
Local Cuisine and Street Food
Ocala, Florida is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, with a wide variety of dining options to choose from. Whether you’re in the mood for Southern comfort food, fresh seafood, or international flavors, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your taste buds.
One of the top-rated restaurants in the area is Swamp House Riverfront Grill, located in nearby DeBary. This waterfront eatery offers a menu filled with classic Southern dishes, such as shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, and pulled pork sandwiches. Their signature dish, “The Trio,” is a must-try, featuring smoked brisket, pulled pork, and smoked sausage served with homemade BBQ sauce.
- Pro-tip: Make sure to arrive early or make a reservation, as this popular spot can get crowded quickly.
If you’re in the mood for barbecue, head to Sonny’s BBQ in Ocala. This chain restaurant is known for its slow-smoked meats and classic sides, such as mac and cheese and baked beans. Their “Perfect Salad” is a refreshing option, featuring mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and croutons topped with your choice of meat.
For a taste of Mexican cuisine, check out El Toreo 2. This family-owned restaurant serves up traditional dishes such as fajitas, enchiladas, and tacos. Their margaritas are also a hit with locals and visitors alike.
Brick City Southern Kitchen and Whiskey Bar is another popular spot for barbecue lovers. This restaurant offers a wide variety of meats, including brisket, ribs, and chicken, all smoked on-site. Their whiskey selection is also impressive, with over 200 varieties to choose from.
If you’re in the mood for sushi, Tony’s Sushi is a local favorite. This restaurant offers a wide variety of sushi rolls, as well as other Japanese dishes such as hibachi and tempura. The chefs behind the sushi bar are known for their creativity and attention to detail.
For a more upscale dining experience, check out The Crazy Cucumber 352 Eatery & Bar. This restaurant offers a menu filled with fresh, seasonal ingredients, with dishes such as seared scallops and filet mignon. Their craft cocktails are also a hit with patrons.
- Did you know? Ocala is home to the annual Ocala Culinary Festival, which showcases the best local chefs and restaurants in the area.
Top Hotels and Accommodations in Ocala, FL
Whether you’re looking for a cozy bed and breakfast or a modern hotel, Ocala has a variety of accommodations to suit your needs. Here are some of the top-rated options:
Seven Sisters Inn
If you’re looking for a unique and charming place to stay, the Seven Sisters Inn is the perfect choice. This historic bed and breakfast is located in the heart of Ocala’s historic district and is known for its beautiful architecture and luxurious amenities. Each room is uniquely decorated and features antique furnishings, plush bedding, and modern amenities like free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Guests can also enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast each morning and relax in the beautiful garden courtyard.
- Located in the heart of Ocala’s historic district
- Unique and charming decor
- Delicious homemade breakfast
Sleeps up to 12 -Large Belleview Home on 10 Acres- NON Smokers ONLY
If you’re traveling with a large group or family, this spacious home in Belleview is the perfect choice. With room for up to 12 guests, this home features a fully equipped kitchen, comfortable living areas, and a large outdoor space with a grill and fire pit. Plus, it’s located on 10 beautiful acres, giving you plenty of space to relax and enjoy the Florida sunshine.
- Spacious home with room for up to 12 guests
- Fully equipped kitchen and outdoor grill
- Located on 10 beautiful acres
Red Roof Inn Ocala
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that doesn’t skimp on comfort, the Red Roof Inn Ocala is a great choice. This hotel offers clean and comfortable rooms with modern amenities like free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Plus, it’s conveniently located near many of Ocala’s top attractions, including the Ocala National Forest and Silver Springs State Park.
- Clean and comfortable rooms
- Convenient location near top attractions
- Affordable rates
Hampton Inn & Suites Ocala
If you’re looking for a modern and comfortable hotel with plenty of amenities, the Hampton Inn & Suites Ocala is a great choice. This hotel offers spacious rooms with comfortable bedding, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary breakfast each morning, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool.
- Modern and comfortable rooms
- Complimentary breakfast and fitness center
- Outdoor pool
Book your accommodations in advance, especially during peak travel seasons like spring break and the winter holidays.
Did You Know?
Ocala is home to many beautiful bed and breakfasts, each with its own unique charm and character.
Shop Till You Drop in Ocala
Ocala is a shopper’s paradise with a variety of shopping destinations to explore. From local boutiques to popular retail chains, the city has something for everyone.
One of the must-visit shopping destinations in Ocala is the Appleton Museum of Art. Ranked #5 out of 58 things to do in Ocala on TripAdvisor, this museum is not just a feast for the eyes but also a great place to shop for unique gifts and souvenirs. The museum store features a wide selection of art books, jewelry, pottery, and other handcrafted items created by local artists.
- Address: 4333 E Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala, FL 34470
- Phone: +1 352-291-4455
- Website: http://www.appletonmuseum.org/
- Reviews: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor
- Ranking: #5 of 58 things to do in Ocala on TripAdvisor
Check out the museum store for unique and locally made gifts and souvenirs.
Visit the museum on the first Saturday of the month for free admission.
Did You Know?
The Appleton Museum of Art is an award-winning contemporary interpretation of classical architecture clad in Italian travertine marble.
The museum features 30,000 square feet of gallery space devoted to the Appleton’s permanent collections.
Nightlife and Entertainment in Ocala
Ocala has a thriving nightlife scene, with plenty of options for entertainment after the sun goes down. Whether you’re looking for a night out with friends, a romantic evening with your significant other, or just some good old-fashioned fun, Ocala has something for everyone.
One popular spot for outdoor entertainment is the Santos – Belleview Trail. Ranked #8 of 58 things to do in Ocala on TripAdvisor, this trail offers 105 great trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. With beautiful scenery and plenty of fresh air, it’s the perfect way to spend an evening with friends or family.
Ivy On The Square
If you’re looking for a more upscale evening out, check out Ivy On The Square. Ranked #31 of 507 places to eat in Ocala on TripAdvisor, this restaurant offers a sophisticated atmosphere and delicious food. With a menu that includes everything from steak to seafood, there’s something for everyone. Plus, the restaurant has a full bar with a wide selection of wine, beer, and cocktails.
- Pro-tip: Make a reservation in advance to ensure a table at Ivy On The Square, as it can get busy on weekends.
Did You Know?
Ocala is home to the Ocala Civic Theatre, which has been entertaining audiences for over 70 years. With a variety of plays, musicals, and other performances throughout the year, it’s a great way to experience the local arts scene.
For a more laid-back evening, head to the Ocala Downtown Square for live music and other events. With a variety of restaurants and bars nearby, it’s the perfect place to spend a night out on the town.
Whether you’re in the mood for outdoor adventure, fine dining, or live entertainment, Ocala has plenty of options for a fun and memorable evening out.
Outdoor Activities and Adventures
Ocala and its surrounding areas offer a plethora of outdoor activities and adventures for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike.
Canyons Zip Line & Canopy Tours
Ranked #1 of 32 Outdoor Activities in Ocala, Canyons Zip Line & Canopy Tours is a must-visit for adventure enthusiasts. The tour takes you through nine zip lines and two rope bridges, providing breathtaking views of the canyons and waterfalls. The guides are knowledgeable and ensure your safety while making the experience fun and memorable.
- Address: 8045 NW Gainesville Rd, Ocala, FL 34475
- Phone: +1 352-351-9477
- Website: http://www.ZipTheCanyons.com
- Ranking: #1 of 32 Outdoor Activities in Ocala on TripAdvisor
- Pro-tip: Wear comfortable clothing and closed-toe shoes. Bring a camera to capture the stunning views.
- Did you know? The highest zip line is 155 feet above the canyon floor.
Located in Gainesville, just a short drive from Ocala, Paynes Prairie is a Florida State Park that offers a variety of outdoor activities. The park is home to diverse wildlife, including bison, wild horses, and alligators. Visitors can hike, bike, or horseback ride on the trails, fish in the lake, or take a scenic drive through the park.
- Address: 100 Savannah Blvd, Micanopy, FL 32667
- Phone: +1 352-466-3397
- Website: http://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Paynes-Prairie
- Ranking: #6 of 60 things to do in Gainesville on TripAdvisor
- Pro-tip: Bring binoculars for birdwatching and wildlife viewing. Check the weather and trail conditions before visiting.
- Did you know? Paynes Prairie was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974.
Alexander Springs Recreation Area
About an hour’s drive from Ocala, Alexander Springs Recreation Area is a hidden gem in the Ocala National Forest. The crystal-clear spring is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Visitors can also kayak or canoe on the spring run, hike on the trails, or enjoy a picnic in the shaded picnic area.
- Address: 49525 County Road 445, Altoona, FL 32702
- Phone: N/A
- Website: N/A
- Ranking: #1 of 2 Specialty lodging in Altoona on TripAdvisor
- Pro-tip: Bring water shoes for swimming and snorkeling. Arrive early to avoid crowds.
- Did you know? Alexander Springs is one of only 27 first-magnitude springs in Florida.
Juniper Springs Recreation Area
Another hidden gem in the Ocala National Forest, Juniper Springs Recreation Area is a beautiful spot for camping, hiking, and canoeing. The spring-fed swimming area is refreshing on a hot day, and the nature trails offer a chance to see wildlife and unique plant species.
- Address: 26701 FL-40, Silver Springs, FL 34488
- Phone: N/A
- Website: N/A
- Ranking: #1 of 6 Specialty lodging in Silver Springs on TripAdvisor
- Pro-tip: Rent a canoe or kayak to explore the spring run. Bring bug spray for the hiking trails.
- Did you know? Juniper Springs was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
Other Outdoor Activities
In addition to the above, Ocala and its surrounding areas offer many other outdoor activities, including:
- Horseback riding at Cactus Jack’s Trail Rides
- Kayaking and tubing on the Rainbow River
- Biking on the Santos Trailhead and Vortex Trails
- Fishing at Lake Weir
Bring sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water for any outdoor activity. Check the weather and trail conditions before visiting. Respect wildlife and follow park rules to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Did You Know?
Ocala National Forest is the southernmost forest in the United States and covers over 600 square miles. It is home to over 600 natural springs, making it the largest concentration of springs in the world.
Wellness and Relaxation Centers in Ocala
Looking for a place to unwind and rejuvenate in Ocala? Check out these top wellness and relaxation centers:
Trilogy Golf Club at Ocala Preserve
If you’re looking for a serene and peaceful setting to relax and unwind, the Trilogy Golf Club at Ocala Preserve is the perfect place for you. This wellness center offers a range of services, including yoga classes, massage therapy, and meditation sessions. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the facilities are top-notch.
- Services offered: Yoga classes, massage therapy, meditation sessions
- Contact: +1 352-402-3176
- Website: www.ocalapreserve.com/ocala/page.asp?p=2010
- Reviews: 4.0 out of 5.0
- Ranking: #26 of 32 Outdoor Activities in Ocala
The Club at Venetian Bay
For a more active approach to wellness and relaxation, check out The Club at Venetian Bay. This outdoor activity center offers a range of fitness classes, including yoga, Pilates, and Zumba. You can also enjoy a round of golf on their beautiful course or take a dip in the pool. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the facilities are well-maintained.
- Services offered: Fitness classes, golf, pool
- Contact: +1 386-424-5775
- Website: www.venetianbaygolf.com
- Reviews: 3.5 out of 5.0
- Ranking: #24 of 71 Outdoor Activities in New Smyrna Beach
Book your appointments in advance to ensure availability.
Take advantage of package deals for multiple services.
Did You Know?
Yoga is a great way to reduce stress and improve flexibility.
Massage therapy can help alleviate muscle tension and improve circulation.
Getting Around Ocala
Whether you’re visiting Ocala for the first time or you’re a seasoned traveler, getting around the city is a breeze. Here are some transportation options to help you navigate the area.
One of the most popular ways to get around Ocala is by renting a car. There are several car rental companies located in the city, including Budget and Enterprise. Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore the city at your own pace and on your own schedule.
Taxis and Ride-Sharing Services
If you don’t want to rent a car, there are plenty of taxi and ride-sharing services available in Ocala. Uber and Lyft are both popular options, and there are also several local taxi companies to choose from.
Biking and Walking
Ocala is a great city for biking and walking. With its beautiful scenery and mild climate, it’s the perfect place to explore on foot or by bike. There are several bike rental companies in the city, and many of the local parks have bike and walking trails.
When renting a car, be sure to check for any additional fees or charges, such as insurance or mileage fees.
Be aware that Ocala can get hot and humid during the summer months, so be sure to bring plenty of water and wear comfortable shoes if you plan on walking or biking.
Did You Know?
Ocala is known as the “Horse Capital of the World” and is home to more than 1,200 horse farms.
The city was founded in 1846 and was named after the Timucua Indian word for “Big Hammock”.
Cultural Experiences and Events in Ocala
Experience the vibrant cultural scene of Ocala by attending local events and immersing yourself in the arts.
One unique cultural experience in Ocala is horseback riding at Young’s Paso Fino Ranch. Enjoy a scenic trail ride on a well-trained Paso Fino horse and learn about the history and culture of the breed. This family-owned ranch offers riding lessons and guided trail rides for all skill levels.
- Location: 3850 NW Gainesville Rd, Ocala, FL 34475
- Phone: +1 352-867-5305
- Ranking: #43 of 58 things to do in Ocala
- Reviews: 4.0/5.0
Wear comfortable clothing and closed-toe shoes for horseback riding. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and insect repellent.
Did You Know?
Paso Fino horses are known for their smooth, natural gait and were first brought to the Americas by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century.
For a night of laughter and entertainment, check out Second Thought Improv at the Marion Theatre. This local improv group performs on the second Saturday of every month and invites audience participation for a unique and hilarious experience.
- Location: 50 S Magnolia Ave, Ocala, FL 34471
- Phone: +1 352-622-1247
- Ranking: #4 of 6 Concerts & Shows in Ocala
- Reviews: 4.0/5.0
Arrive early to get a good seat and be ready to participate in the show if you’re feeling adventurous!
Did You Know?
The Marion Theatre was originally built in 1941 and has since been renovated to include state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems.
Another cultural experience not to be missed in Ocala is a visit to Silver Springs State Park. Take a glass-bottom boat tour and marvel at the crystal-clear waters and abundant wildlife. The park also offers hiking trails, kayaking, and camping for a full outdoor adventure.
- Location: 1425 NE 58th Ave, Ocala, FL 34470
- Ranking: #1 of 54 things to do in Ocala
- Reviews: 4.5/5.0
Bring a waterproof camera to capture the underwater views during the glass-bottom boat tour. Don’t forget to pack snacks and water for a day of outdoor activities.
Did You Know?
Silver Springs State Park was a popular filming location for Hollywood movies in the mid-20th century, including Tarzan and Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Kid-Friendly Activities and Attractions in Ocala
Ocala is a great destination for families with kids. With a range of activities and attractions, there’s something for everyone.
The Reilly Arts Center is a great place to take the kids for an afternoon or evening of entertainment. This beautiful venue hosts a range of performances, including plays, concerts, and dance shows. Check their website for upcoming events and ticket information.
If your kids are into cars and racing, then a visit to Bubba Raceway is a must. This dirt track hosts a range of events throughout the year, including sprint cars, modifieds, and more. Check their website for upcoming events and ticket information.
The Petting Zoo Ocala is a fun and interactive experience for kids of all ages. Here, they can get up close and personal with a range of animals, including goats, sheep, chickens, and even a donkey. The petting zoo is open daily, and admission is affordable.
- Other kid-friendly activities and attractions in Ocala include:
- Discovery Center
- Easy Street Family Fun Center
- Fort King National Historic Landmark
Bring sunscreen and hats for outdoor activities, as the Florida sun can be intense.
Check for discounts and deals on admission to attractions, as many offer specials for families.
Did You Know?
Ocala is home to the Silver Springs State Park, one of the largest artesian springs in the world. The park offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking, and glass-bottom boat tours.
The Ocala National Forest is the second-largest national forest in Florida and offers a range of outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, and fishing.
Ready to Explore Ocala?
Ocala, Florida is a hidden gem in the Sunshine State, offering a diverse range of activities and attractions for travelers of all ages and interests. From the breathtaking natural beauty of Silver Springs State Park and Rainbow Springs State Park to the adrenaline-pumping adventures of Canyons Zip Line & Canopy Tours, there is something for everyone in Ocala.
Take a stroll through the historic downtown square, catch a show at the Reilly Arts Center, or indulge in some delicious French cuisine at La Cuisine French Restaurant. For those seeking a bit of retail therapy, The Mall at Millenia and Paddock Mall offer a wide variety of shops and restaurants.
Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or solo, Ocala has plenty to offer. Stay at the luxurious Seven Sisters Inn or opt for a cozy stay at the Silver River Inn. No matter where you choose to stay, you’ll be greeted with warm hospitality and a true taste of Southern charm.
So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to Ocala today and experience all that this vibrant city has to offer!
Ocala, FL Itinerary
Ocala, FL Itinerary
Day 1: Outdoor Adventures
Get ready for an exciting day filled with outdoor activities and adventures!
- Baseline Road Trailhead – Start your day with a hike on this beautiful trailhead. The trail offers scenic views of the surrounding nature and wildlife. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
- Canyons Zip Line & Canopy Tours – Experience the thrill of zip-lining through the trees at Canyons Zip Line & Canopy Tours. This is a must-do activity for adventure seekers!
Baseline Road Trailhead
- Sunnyhill Restoration Area – Enjoy a peaceful afternoon kayaking or canoeing on the beautiful Ocklawaha River at Sunnyhill Restoration Area. This is a great spot for birdwatching and fishing as well.
- The Mojo Grill & Catering Company – Grab a bite to eat at The Mojo Grill & Catering Company. This local favorite offers a variety of delicious dishes, including their famous Mojo Burger.
Sunnyhill Restoration Area
- Seven Sisters Inn – Stay at the charming Seven Sisters Inn, a Victorian-style bed and breakfast located in the heart of Ocala. The inn features beautiful gardens and cozy rooms.
- Farm Tours of Ocala – Take a sunset horseback ride through the scenic countryside with Farm Tours of Ocala. This is a great way to end your day and relax in nature.
Seven Sisters Inn
Day 2: History and Culture
Explore the rich history and culture of Ocala on this day filled with museums, art galleries, and local landmarks.
- Appleton Museum of Art – Start your day at the Appleton Museum of Art, which features a diverse collection of art from around the world. Be sure to check out the beautiful outdoor sculpture garden as well.
- Brick City Center for the Arts – Visit the Brick City Center for the Arts, a local art gallery that showcases the work of talented artists from the area.
Appleton Museum of Art
- Silver Springs State Park – Take a stroll through the beautiful Silver Springs State Park, which features crystal-clear springs, scenic trails, and a variety of wildlife. Don’t miss the famous glass-bottom boat tours!
- The Ivy House Restaurant – Enjoy a delicious Southern-style lunch at The Ivy House Restaurant, a local favorite known for their fried chicken and homemade desserts.
Silver Springs State Park
- Marion Theatre – Catch a movie or live performance at the historic Marion Theatre, which has been a local landmark since 1941.
- Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille – End your day with a delicious seafood dinner at Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille, a popular restaurant located in the heart of downtown Ocala.
Day 3: Relaxation and Recreation
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy a day filled with relaxation and recreation.
- Yoga with a View – Start your day with a relaxing yoga session at the beautiful Sholom Park. This outdoor yoga class offers stunning views of the surrounding nature and is suitable for all levels.
- Marketplace at Ocala Downtown Square – Visit the Marketplace at Ocala Downtown Square, a local farmers’ market that offers a variety of fresh produce, handmade crafts, and delicious food.
Yoga with a View
- Spa Day – Treat yourself to a relaxing spa day at the beautiful Canyon Ranch Spa. This luxurious spa offers a variety of treatments, including massages, facials, and body wraps.
- La Cuisine French Restaurant – Enjoy a delicious French-inspired lunch at La Cuisine French Restaurant, a charming eatery located in the heart of downtown Ocala.
Canyon Ranch Spa
- Live Music at Pi on Broadway – Enjoy live music and delicious cocktails at Pi on Broadway, a local bar that features a variety of talented musicians and performers.
- Nonna’s Italian Restaurant – End your day with a delicious Italian dinner at Nonna’s Italian Restaurant, a cozy eatery that offers a variety of classic Italian dishes.
Pi on Broadway