Top 10 Things to do in Ocala, United States

July 23, 2017 Esmeralda Fenner

Ocala (/oʊˈkælə/ oh-KAL-ə) is a city located in Northern Florida. As of the 2013 census, its population, estimated by the United States Census Bureau, was 57,468, making it the 45th most populated city in Florida.
Restaurants in Ocala

1. The Gypsy Gold Farm

12501 SW 8th Ave, Ocala, FL 34473-8301 +1 352-307-3777
Excellent
93%
Good
4%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 543 reviews

The Gypsy Gold Farm

Our founders, the Thompsons, connected over a mutual love of animals, and thereafter discovered an unknown breed of horse, developed by British Gypsies, while traveling through the English countryside. After a four-year journey to understand these horses and the culture that created them, we took part in naming them: the Gypsy Vanner horse. The Gypsy Gold Farm is home to the first 16 registered horses of a breed that's now 5,000 animals strong. Our 40 acre ranch is an educational and cultural oasis, where visitors to Central Florida learn about one of the most colorful and least understood societies on earth and the magical Vanner Horses they envisioned.

Reviewed By Roger K - Ocala

A beautiful horse farm. We were greeted when we parked. We had access to all areas of the farm. The intro lecture was very informative and he kept your attention. He went thru the whole history on this breed of horse coming to the U.S. After the lecture, he took us around to each penned area that had horses and explained the horses in detail. We also went to the mountain ( high ground) where all the horses that passed was buried. He described each by name and a little about each horse. I would take other family members back to the farm.

2. Silver Springs Kayaking LLC

Silver Springs, FL
Excellent
94%
Good
5%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 116 reviews

Silver Springs Kayaking LLC

Silver Springs Kayaking LLC provides 2-mile (2 hours) and 5 mile (4.5 hour) Guided Kayak Tours of the Beautiful Silver Springs. Beginners are welcome and we give free lessons at the beginning of each Tour. Silver Springs is where the Tarzan movies were filmed and it is the Real Florida, untouched, and beautiful!! Our "Welcome to the Jungle" tour is our most popular tour, a leisure paddle down the beautiful Silver River. We see lots of wildlife including the World Famous wild Monkeys! Our "Springs" tour is a 2 hour 2 mile tour of the beautiful Silver Springs. This is an adventure your family will never forget!!!

Reviewed By Questovia - Minot, North Dakota

The team of employees that assisted us with the rental, life perserver, and kayak were very helpful. They have a good launching location where you don't even have to get your feet wet as the team pushes you in the water. The kayaks themselves aren't the greatest but got the job done. Numerous water routes offer different experiences. It's especially interesting to take the route through the old abandoned amusement attraction. Evidently it's extremely common to see monkeys but unfortunately we didn't find any the morning we went out. But we did see lots of gators and that was very thrilling!

3. Sholom Park

7110 SW 80th Ave, Ocala, FL 34481-5449 +1 352-387-7404
Excellent
82%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 413 reviews

Sholom Park

Reviewed By Julie and Paul C - Dunnellon, Florida

Went with our family to enjoy a beautiful day at the park. Feeding the Koi and turtles was so much fun. Relaxing and so peaceful.

4. Silver Springs State Park

5656 E Silver Springs Blvd, Silver Springs, FL 34488-1874 +1 352-261-5840
Excellent
48%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
6%
Terrible
5%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 1 reviews

Silver Springs State Park

A 5000 acre park in north central Florida.

Reviewed By seebeech - Tallahassee, Florida

I was excited to take my toddler son here after having many fond memories of going as a child and riding the glass bottom boats. However, upon entering the parking lot, I noticed how run down everything is. Weeds were growing everywhere and the parking lot was dirty and full of trash. My experience with other state parks in Florida is that they have always exceeded my expectations, whether it's just a day trip or camping overnight. I'm not sure how much of this is due to the previous private owners though.

I didn't even feel safe leaving my car in the parking lot because as I parked a gentleman parked next to me advised me to watch out for the glass on the ground which had not been cleaned up from a car break-in from the day before. Before taking my son out of his car seat, I looked over and sure enough there was broken vehicle glass all over the ground. That was it for me. I left my son in his seat and left the park.

Based on all of the great reviews here, it seems that once you are inside the park, it's lovely. But as a woman visiting alone with a toddler, I didn't feel safe in the parking lot so I didn't get to experience the park at all. I hope that my experience was just a bad occasion but I'm not one to take chances when I have my toddler with me.

5. Farm Tours of Ocala

801 SW 60th Ave, Ocala, FL 34474-8593 +1 352-895-9302
Excellent
88%
Good
9%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 211 reviews

Farm Tours of Ocala

Insider`s Tour of Ocala`s Horse Country. Jan to June is foaling season! And yes, you will see newborns. Get "Behind the Gates" and get an exclusive look behind the scenes of 3 locations to get up close to horses of different breeds, disciplines and meet the people train and care for them. Marion Country is rich in history, 1700 Sq Miles! Between the farm stops, we will note points of interest, and facts about different farms, disciplines during the drive. Each stop is about 20 to 30 Mins with a lot of walking. An avid horsewoman and and long time resident of Ocala`s Horse Country, Karen shares her enthusiasm, knowledge and ability to enter the inner circles of some of the most beautiful farms in the area. M-SAT. Tours are by reservation only. Start 8:45 to aprox 12. And not suitable for children under 10. This is a small "Boutique" trip with not more than 17 people.

Reviewed By RoyalB - Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Thoroughbred racing fans, we decided on a side trip to Ocala and settled on Farm Tours of Ocala to show us the area. Having visited horse farms in Kentucky and elsewhere, we wondered if it would measure up. Asbsolutely! We watched 2-year-olds work out at Ocala Breeders Sales, visited an Arabian farm, took some side roads past scenic horse farms, including Live Oak Stud, and ended at Pleasant Acres Stallions. Horses here may not have had as stellar records as those in Kentucky, but there were as many familiar names -- among them Poseidon's Warrior, Ride on Curlin, Handsome Mike, Neolithic and Precious Passion, a gelding who entertained all by pestering our tour guide for more carrots. When on Earth can you get up close and feed carrots to an Eclipse Award finalist? And where does the farm owner visit with you to describe the breeding process, express Derby hopes for one of their products, Firenze Fire, and share iPad video of one of its top horse's best races. Not sure if the destinations are the same every day, but they do ask for your interests when you make the reservation, so they may tailor things to what you want. Well worthwhile.

6. Appleton Museum of Art

4333 E Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala, FL 34470-5000 +1 352-291-4455
Excellent
70%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 273 reviews

Appleton Museum of Art

Reviewed By lisajj007 - Ocala, Florida

The Appleton Museum of Art has hundreds of artworks & sculptures on permanent display as well as many special exhibits that change every few months. You can easily spend hours here touring all the art. They also have a special children’s section of the museum also.

7. Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing

13700 SW 16th Ave, Ocala, FL 34473-3970 +1 352-245-8661
Excellent
74%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 431 reviews

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing

Reviewed By 7tammy

This museum is very tastefully displayed and is quite interesting. We spent nearly three hours here and could have stayed longer. It’s important to read the signs that accompany the vehicles and check out the tv documentary too. They enhance the experience and add to the enjoyment. Don’t forget to go into the antique building after viewing the dragsters and funny cars. We recommend this museum for anyone who remembers the “good ole days” of going to the drags or for someone wanting to take a trip back in time. Nice place!

8. Silver Springs River

Ocala, FL +1 352-236-7148
Excellent
69%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 264 reviews

Silver Springs River

Reviewed By Bill T - Ocala, Florida

If you Kayak this river, look out for alligators. In January, the alligators areleast active & slow moving. You may not have to worry about an attack. This lazy river has a marked 5 mile run with little current. It could easily take you 4 hours to Kayak. Wild monkeys hang over the river in the trees & generally stay in their same home area. You can rent kayaks or load one. Free parking is on the opposite side of rental kayaks.

9. Silver Springs State Park

1425 NE 58th Ave, Ocala, FL 34470-1189 +1 352-236-7148
Excellent
67%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 116 reviews

Silver Springs State Park

Reviewed By BearFacts - Florida

What a bargain...$2 per person admission! It was so nice to experience an old Florida attraction. There is a gift shop which is where you purchase your glass bottom boat tour tickets (an additional cost). You have the option of the traditional glass bottom boat tour which takes you over the many springs, or you can enjoy the extended tour which takes you down the river. We chose the extended tour and had an excellent time. Our boat captain was fantastic...sharing many stories regarding Silver Springs, and pointing out the baby alligators, manatees, and sun-bathing turtles. We walked the grounds while waiting for our boat tour time.
My one and only complaint regarded the small cafe on-site. We wanted something small and somewhat healthy. The menu board has an asterisk (*) on a few selections indicating a healthy choice. We both chose the pretzel. Umm...not so healthy! It appeared to be flash-fried and drenched in melted butter.

I was surprised that dogs are welcomed (there were a large number of them), but they are NOT allowed on the boats.

10. Blue Spring

Highway 106, High Springs, FL
Excellent
63%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 8 reviews

Blue Spring

Spring known for its deep color of blue.

Reviewed By Shawna G - Jacksonville, Florida

Beautiful water! Swim, float, kayak, or jump off the wood platform. During the summer and holidays this place is busy. Go during the week for a less crowded spring. The swimming area is connected by a long flowing spring/river that makes its way out to the Sante Fe River. Shallow enough to walk that part or float down on a tube. Going back against the flow is a bit of a challenge but still lots of fun. Plenty of shade from the trees and a beautiful boardwalk that follows the spring/river. Lot's of kids and adults jumping off the platform, it's a bit scary so use caution. Great place to spend the day when summer arrives!

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