21 Fun Things to Do in Ocala (FL)

There is never a dull moment in Ocala, Florida, as there are countless exciting things to do in in the city. Located in Florida, the city of Ocala is about 75 miles from the nearest ocean-view beach.

However, the Ocala National Forest is nearby, where white sand beaches and tropical getaways are also famous.

The city of Ocala and its neighboring county are known as the Horse Capital of the World. Due to its large number of thoroughbred horses, they are one of the few important centers in the world with a wide variety of horses.

Aside from horse farms, the city of Ocala also has various museums and historical sites. The state’s year-round sunshine makes it an excellent place to visit during the winter or spring.

The article covers all the best and fun things to do in Ocala, Florida for adults, couple, families, and kids.

Where Is Ocala, Florida?

Ocala, Florida, is located in Marion County, and it’s the county seat of this region. As of the US Census of 2020, its population was 63,591. It’s regarded as one of the most populated cities in Florida.

In 2007, the city was named the Horse Capital of the World due to its large number of training facilities and thoroughbred farms. 

Other notable attractions include the Silver Springs State Park and the College of Central Florida.

Ocala, Florida, is also known as the administrative center of the Ocala Metropolitan Statistical Area. It had a 2017 population of 354,353.

According to the US Census Bureau, the city of Ocala has a total area of 47.31 square miles (all land). 

The surrounding areas are known for their thoroughbred farms. These farms are known for their unique terrain, similar to Kentucky bluegrass.

If you will be traveling to Florida, you may also want to check out Things to Do in Leesburg, Things to Do in Gainesville, and Things to Do in Weston.

Fun Things to Do in Ocala, FL

Traveling to big cities in Florida can be fun, noisy, and busy. However, if you’re looking for a beautiful place with hidden gems, look no further than Ocala. This city is filled with wonders and hidden gems.

1. Sholom Park

Sholom Park is one of the best places to visit in Ocala, Florida. This park is a peaceful and tranquil place that can be used for meditation and reflection. It has over 44 acres of land and various native plants and trees.

The park features 11 different landscape areas designed to provide a variety of exciting and peaceful activities.

Some of these include a formal garden, a ginger garden, and a thoroughbred azalea trail. If you want to explore the entire park, follow the paved paths.

Address: The Sholom Park is located at 7110 SW 80TH Ave Ocala, FL 34481, USA.

2. Juniper Prairie Wilderness Area

The Ocala National Forest features several wilderness areas. One is the Juniper Prairie Wilderness Area, which spans 14,000 acres. This region is characterized by its untouched sand pine scrub forest.

The trails in the area provide various opportunities to explore the different habitats in this region. 

An interpretive center is also located to give visitors more information about the different habitats.

Address: The Juniper Prairie Wilderness Area is located at East Marion, FL, USA.

3. Alexander Springs Recreational Area

Photo by apasciuto via Flickr

One of the most popular attractions in Ocala, Florida, is the Alexander Springs Recreation Area, located in the Ocala National Forest. This area features a freshwater spring.

This area is also known for its various water activities, such as swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

Other fun activities that can be conducted in this area include fishing, off-road riding, and canoeing.

Address: The Alexander Springs Recreational Area is located atCounty Road 445 Altoona, FL 32702, USA.

4. Blue Wagyu

Blue Wagyu is one of the most popular restaurants in the area and is known for its quality food. 

This restaurant serves several dishes. One of their most popular dishes is tender beef. This beef has a creamy and rich flavor.

If you’re not a vegetarian, you must try the restaurant’s famous wagyu beef. Other popular dishes that you can try out include their hand-cut French Fries. The restaurant’s other offerings include wagyu burgers.

The Blue Wagyu’s menu changes with the season, and their famous wagyu beef is the only constant item. 

The restaurant offers other food items, such as homemade pizza and sandwiches. All of these are made using local ingredients.

Address: The Blue Wagyu is located at 6998 North US Highway 27, Unit #1111, Ocala, FL 34482, USA.

5. Silver River Museum and Environmental Educational Center

Photo by Jackdude101 via Wikimedia

One of the best things to do in Ocala, Florida, is to visit the Silver River Museum and Educational Center. This facility is an educational program operated by the Marion County School System.

The museum’s goal is to provide Ocala, Florida, and its residents with an opportunity to learn more about Florida’s ecology and natural history. 

Through its exhibits, visitors can learn about the various ecosystems of the state and the lifestyles of the local tribes.

Address: The Silver River Museum and Environmental Educational Center is located at 1445 NE 58th Ave Ocala, FL 34470.

6. Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing

Photo by Tom VanNortwick via Flickr

Another fun thing to do in Ocala, Florida, is to visit the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, which was established as a monument to the late professional drag racing driver.

Known as Big Daddy, Garlits is regarded as the father of the sport. During his career, he won over 140 national event titles and 17 world championship titles.

Garlits built many cars he used during his professional racing career. The museum features a collection of his racing vehicles and memorabilia. 

It also has a gift shop that features various types of cars and racing-related items.

Address: The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing is located at 13700 SW 16th Ave Ocala, FL 34473, USA.

7. Ocala Civic Theatre

The Ocala Civic Theatre is a local facility known for its various performances. It also hosts several concerts and musical events. This theatre can be visited for multiple types of theater arts.

The theatre stages twelve productions each year and tours across the country. It also offers various classes and workshops for children and adults.

In addition, the theatre also hosts various discussions about the different facets of theatre arts. 

These discussions cover improvisation, technical aspects, and musical performance. Tickets for the theatre’s productions can be purchased online or at the box office.

Address: The Ocala Civic Theatre is located at 4337 E Silver Springs Blvd Ocala, FL 34470, USA.

Are you planning to visit Florida? Why not check out Things to Do in Brandon, Fun Things to Do in Tallahassee (FL), and Fun Things to Do in Davenport (FL)?

8. Appleton Museum of Art

Photo by Ebyabe via Wikimedia

One of Florida’s most famous art museums is the Appleton Museum of Art. This facility is situated on the campus of the University of Central Florida. 

It has five galleries and an auditorium. In addition, this facility is surrounded by a beautiful courtyard.

The museum features an extensive collection of European art and artifacts. Its galleries are filled with paintings, drawings, and sculptures. 

They are also equipped with temporary exhibits donated by the museum’s donors.

Address: The Appleton Museum of Art is located at 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd. Ocala, FL 34470, USA.

9. La Cuisine French Restaurant

Locally owned and operated La Cuisine French Restaurant is known for its traditional cuisine. 

Their menu includes dishes such as escargot, duck a l’orange, and ratatouille. All of these are prepared using the local ingredients available.

A native of Lyon, France, the restaurant’s owner and chef is named Patrick Parron. He came to the US in 2009 and opened La Cuisine French Restaurant.

Before he opened his restaurant, he had been a trained chef in some of the best restaurants in the country.

Address: The La Cuisine French Restaurant is located at 48 SW 1st Ave Ocala, FL 34471, USA.

10. Silver Spring State Park

The Silver Spring State Park is a popular destination for tourists and locals in Central Florida. It was named after a natural spring that flows into the Silver River.

The park has paved trails leading through the woods and the Silver Spring. You can also take a transparent-bottomed boat ride on the river to see the various life forms that live in the water.

Address: The Silver Spring State Park is located at 5656 E Silver Springs Blvd, Silver Springs, FL 34488, USA.

11. The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention

Photo by Owen Allen via Wikimedia

One of the most popular attractions in the area is the Cade Museum, which is dedicated to showcasing various forms of creativity and invention. It is known for its exciting and unique exhibits.

The museum also offers various programs that are designed to help children develop their skills in the field of business.

One of these is the Early Entrepreneur Program. This unique program aims to teach kids how to succeed in business.

Address: The The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention is located at 811 S Main St, Gainesville, FL 32601, USA.

12. Halle Homestead

The story of the origins of the Halle homestead dates back to the 18th century. During that time, cotton was Florida’s biggest crop. It was also one of the state’s major industries.

It’s heartbreaking to see that all of the cotton grown in Florida was produced by enslaved African-Americans who lived in the house known as the Halle homestead. It was constructed in the 1850s.

During your visit to the Halle homestead, you will learn more about the people who lived there and the enslaved people who worked there.

Address: The Halle Homestead is located at

13. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Due to the abundance of sunshine and the warm weather, Florida is known for its numerous botanical gardens. These are located all across the state.

One of the most popular botanical gardens in the state is the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, located in the Gainesville and Ocala areas.

This garden features dozens of different cultivated gardens. It also has miles of pathways perfect for relaxing and enjoying refreshments.

Address: The Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is located at Summer House, 4700 SW 58th Dr, Gainesville, FL 32608, USA.

14. Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park

One of the park’s most spectacular features is a massive sinkhole about as deep as 100 feet. If you’re a fan of this natural wonder, you can walk across a bridge built across it.

The Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park also has a mini rainforest with various plants and animals. It can be found near Millhopper Road.

Address: The Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park is located at 4732 Millhopper Rd, Gainesville, FL 32653, USA.

15. Union Street Downtown Farmers Market

The Union Street Downtown Farmers Market is a regular event every Wednesday from 4 to 7 pm.

It features various entrepreneurs and artisans who sell their unique products to the public. This market started two decades ago and has grown into a thriving community.

Address: The Union Street Downtown Farmers Market is located at 403 SE Osceola Ave, Ocala, FL 34471, USA.

16. Hoggetowne Medieval Faire

For over 30 years, the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire has held its annual event. 

This event features various types of knights, wenches, and royalty. It takes place in late January and early February each year.

The event also features various activities that are related to old-world traditions. Some of these include jousting, eating undercooked meats, and falconry. 

Other activities, such as sword throwing and dancing, are also featured at the event.

Address: The  Hoggetowne Medieval Faire is located at 9409 SW Archer Rd, Gainesville, FL 32608, USA.

17. Canyons Zip Line and Canopy Tours

While in the city, tourists can also participate in activities such as Ziplining. This activity involves hanging up from cable hundreds of feet in the air. This activity is fun and provides a great view of the city.

For those who are interested in taking part in this activity, Canyons Zip Line and its partner company, Canopy Tours, can provide a platform. Before the ride begins, participants will be given an orientation and safety gear.

Address: The Canyons Zip Line and Canopy Tours is located at

18. Withlacoochee State Forest

Although it’s not as well-known as the Ocala National Forest, the Withlacoochee State Forest is still filled with nature’s beauty.

This area was established to protect the environment and wildlife. It’s regarded as one of the largest forests in Florida.

Aside from being used for outdoor recreation, the forest provides various other activities. 

Some of these include timber production and outdoor recreation. The forest features various trails that are both paved and natural.

Address: The Withlacoochee State Forest is located at 15003 N Broad St, Brooksville, FL 34601, USA.

19. Ocala National Forest

The forest also features other recreational activities, such as fishing, kayaking, and camping. It’s an excellent place to participate in wildlife photography and bird watching.

Tourists frequently visit the park, and it’s a suitable location for camping.

Address: The Ocala National Forest is located at FL-40, Silver Springs, FL 34488, USA.

20. Gypsy Gold Horse Farm

In 1995, Dennis and Cindy Thompson visited an English farm and saw the magnificent horses prized for their white and black color.

Upon returning home, they could secure 16 of these horses and ship them to Florida. They then created the Gypsy Vanner Breed.

Address: The Gypsy Gold Horse Farm is located at 12501 SW 8th Ave Ocala, FL 34473, USA.

21. Belleview-Santos Trail

The area has various ecosystems and natural features, such as the scrub pine forest and the Cypress swamps. 

As you hike through the Belleview-Santos Trail, you’ll see the magnificent wilderness of Florida.

The Belleview-Santos Trail is a four-and-a-half-mile-long hiking trail that follows through the forest. 

It’s also suitable for both cyclists and hikers. Horseback riders also use this trail.

Address: The Belleview-Santos Trail s located at 3080 SE 80th St, Ocala, FL 34480, USA.

When is the Best Time to Visit Ocala, Florida?

The best time to visit Ocala, Florida, is during winter. This is because the sky tends to stay partly sunny, giving you more opportunities to experience the state’s beautiful scenery.

What is the Cost of Visiting Ocala, FL?

The average cost of a seven-day trip to Ocala is $1,366 for a solo traveler. $2,500 for a couple and $4,599 for a family of four.