Ocala Travel Guide

  • Ocala
    by barrypanzer
  • confederate memorial
    confederate memorial
    by doug48
  • Things to Do
    by Ewingjr98

Ocala Highlights

  • Pro
    davecallahan profile photo

    davecallahan says…

     big enough place to keep us busy 

  • Con
    buccaneerbill profile photo

    buccaneerbill says…

     Night life is limited and there is little chance of good jobs 

  • In a nutshell
    JERONDIO profile photo

    JERONDIO says…

     " The Springs and the grand daddy oaks" 

Ocala Things to Do

  • confederate civil war memorial

    the marion county confederate civil war memorial is located in veterans memorial park on the site of fort king. fort king was a fort built during the second seminole war. this memorial was originally on the grounds of the marion county courthouse. recently the modern courthouse was expanded and the memorial was moved to veterans park. this memorial...

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  • Palataka

    Palatka, the seat of Putnam County, has just 10,000 residents, lies on the western bank of the St. Johns River in Central Florida. The city was incorporated in 1853 and became a haven for northerners seeking relief from the col winters. Palatka burned to the ground in 1884 and was rebuilt with mostly stone buildings.

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  • Ocala National Forest

    The second biggest national forest in Florida and the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River is the Ocala National Forest, established in 1908. The forest lies between the Ocklawaha and St. Johns Rivers, and it has 600 natural lakes and ponds. With 383,000 acres, it is also the southernmost forest in the continental United States.The...

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  • Marshall Plantation

    Ocala National Forest includes the 3000 acre Marshall Swamp, site of an old sugar plantation owned by J. Foster Marshall. The plantation itself has been abandoned for years and is now a forest, but the house has been rebuilt about 5 miles from the main road. It is privately owned and not open to the public.The site of the historic marker is on...

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  • florida trail

    the florida trail is a 1400 mile walking trail from pensacola to the big cypress swamp in southwest florida. the trail was founded by jim kern in the 1960's and is fashioned after the appalachian trail. the most popular section of the trail is through the ocala national forest. located just east of ocala there are a number of trail heads in the...

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  • appleton museum of art

    the appleton museum houses the collection of arthur appleton. built in 1987 the museum has an excellent display of african, american, asian, european, and islamic art. the museum also hosts traveling collections from galleries from around the world.

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  • silver glen springs

    pictured is an ancient timucaun indian mound. for thousands of years native americans had settlements near florida's springs.

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  • silver glen springs

    silver glen springs is located 5 miles north of SR40 on US19 in the ocala national forest. silver glen springs has a nice swimming area and a half mile run to lake george. on weekends the run is filled with boats from lake george. if you are interested in wildlife watching or want a more peaceful spring experience it is better to visit the spring...

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  • alexander springs

    pictured is the alexander springs run. alexander springs offers a one mile canoe trip from the springs to the CR445 bridge pick up point. on the run you can fish and see florida wildlife.

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  • alexander springs

    alexander springs is located near juniper springs in the ocala national forest. alexander springs offers swimming, snorkeling, camping, hiking, and canoe rental. alexander springs is less crowded than juniper springs and maybe a good camping option if juniper is booked.

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  • juniper springs

    the develpment of juniper springs began in the 1930's as a CCC project under president franklin roosevelt's new deal program. to provide electricity for the develoment CCC workers built a mill in 1932 to produce electricity for the camp ground. today the mill is a museum.

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  • juniper springs

    juniper springs national recreation area is located about 35 miles east of ocala on SR40. juniper springs is one of the most beautiful springs in florida. you can rent a canoe for a trip down juniper creek which is one of the most scenic trips in the state of florida. on the canoe trip it is possible to see alligators, wild turkey, deer, and other...

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  • silver river state park

    the silver river state park is located a quarter mile south of silver springs. the park offers cabins, camping, canoeing, and 18 miles of hiking and bike trails. in addition to the natural attractions of the park it has a good museum about the area around silver springs. the admission charge is $3, considerably less than silver springs.

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  • silver river museum

    the silver river museum is located in the silver river state park. the museum has displays about old florida and florida wildlife. see their website for opening times.

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  • florida wildlife

    silver springs is also a zoological park featuring florida wildlife. the animals are displayed in their natural settings. also there is a alligator and snake show at the park. years ago the ross allen reptile institute was based at silver springs. allen would stand in a pit full of rattle snakes and would "milk" them for their venom. a number of...

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  • glass bottom boat rides

    one of the oldest and most popular things to do at silver springs is to view the spring in a glass bottom boat. glass bottom boats were first used at silver springs in the 1870's. a interesting way to view beautiful silver springs.

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  • silver springs

    silver springs is one of the oldest and most visited natural attractions in florida. silver springs is one of the largest springs in the world. carl ray and w.m. davidson developed the land around the spring as a tourist attraction in the 1920's. the park's main focus is on florida wildlife and river culture. one admission price covers all the...

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  • Silver Springs

    This is an unusal attraction. Built around 7 antural springs and about the stunningly clear and abosultely beautiful Silver River, this is (apparently) where glass-bottomed boats were invented, back in 1878.The Tarzan moveies and The Abyss were filmed here!There are no rides to thrill - it's just to show the beauty of the place... and the...

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Ocala Hotels

See all 34 Hotels in Ocala

Ocala Restaurants

  • Best restaurant in Ocala

    The food is just great here. They have a nice selection of fresh vegetables to choose from to go with your meal. I like all of daily grille specials - the specials change daily and are very affordable at $12.00. The Harris Ranch Steaks are awesome too. They have great wines by the glass, a wonderful atmosphere and just really nice people. We go to...

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  • I hop to IHOP

    Making a big deal out of breakfast.And I mean that several ways: 1) they make your breakfast their main goal, so that you are satisfied and will come back 2) they have a good business developed from just serving breakfast all day long (always crowded).We had the weekly specials: crepes with strawberry and creamy butter and hot steaming coffee.But...

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  • Bella Luna: Great Italian food and...

    Perhaps we are biased Northerners but the food in Florida is usually mediocre at best. We were pleasantly surprised by Bell Luna, a Gem of a restaurant in Ocala. We've been there for both dinner and lunch. The food is great! There's a little water fountain inside and they play typical Italian restaurant music like Frank Sinatra.

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Ocala Transportation

  • by unionsquaretraveller Written Mar 10, 2008

    We were visiting my grandparents and virtually stuck in Ocala. It is a smallish city and very nice, but we wanted to see more of FLA than just this. The days were ticking by. We found out about the Florida Jitney. Everyday we tried somewhere new. One day up to Gainesville (the Butterfly Museum and the University of Florida), the next day into Orlando where we spent the day at Universal Studios and partied all night at CityWalk, before catching the Red Eye back to Ocala. We even opted to use the service to return to the Orlando Airport at the end of our vacation, saving our grandparents the hassle. Great prices, great service, beautiful coaches. It looked like the inside of a private jet. We got used to the complimentary juice and muffins in the morning and late at night on our returns, drinks and munchies.

    There were other tourists like us but there were business travelers too. People were using the online internet, we just vegged and watched the satellite tv's and read the free newspapers, but mostly talked with the other people and took in the scenery. We are both in school (Charlottesville and Ann Arbor) and had never used a service in the States quite like this. It's a great feature about Ocala. We'll be sure to use it again when we return.

    Related to:
    • Luxury Travel
    • Business Travel
    • Road Trip

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Ocala Warnings and Dangers

  • crime statistics

    ocala is a very safe place to visit for the tourist. ocala has some high crime areas that you should avoid. search ocala on the attached website for area crime statistics.

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  • Even Florida gets very chilly

    42 degrees did not sound cold to me particularly, but as the evening grew to night, the fire died down, the moisture in the forest increased AND it was DAMP AND it was 42 degrees - plus we had an air mattress which stayed cold - I couldn't sleep til we remembered an exercise mat and I put that between me and the mattress and then put my head UNDER...

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  • risky place

    Ocala has crime stats that are well above the national average for risk and even above Floridas average. Violent crimes are on the rise at almost one and one-half the Florida average rate. Rape and Assault are the worst offenses, followed by Burglary and Murder.Be sure to ask at the motel desk which areas of the city need to be avoided. Do not...

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Ocala Off The Beaten Path

  • buccaneerbill's Profile Photo

    by buccaneerbill Updated Feb 25, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Many of the horse farms offer tours, many at no charge. The availibity of the tours vary by seasons it is best to check with the chamber of commerace located in the downtown square. Also on the square you will find four examples of the famous Ocala painted horses. Searching for and finding the others will give one a pretty good tour of Ocala. Maps of the locations are also available at the C ofC . Western Wear located on W Silver Springs Blvd. is also a helpful resource, sometimes better than the C.of C. When I learn how to add photos I will come back and do so as the whole area is quite attractive. Buccaneer Bill.

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    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip

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Ocala Sports & Outdoors

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    by davecallahan Updated Nov 29, 2007

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    Pine Oaks is a fabulous golf course for only $33 for 18 holes (including a cart). You get your choice of 3 sets of nine holes from which you can select any two sets to play. The course plays 5500 yards short and 6800 yards long. The course is set out in three distinct areas: North set, East set and South set.
    Even though it is a municipal course (and they have had a bad rap in the public eye of late), this venue is well-maintained with green carpets for greens and clipped rough and raked sand traps.

    The management provides a full service pro shop, a small snack bar, a good-sized driving range, a putting green, and separate practice areas.

    Golf Digest magazine ranked Ocala 33rd in the nation for affordable public golf. (2005)

    Related to:
    • Golf
    • Road Trip

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Ocala Favorites

  • Randall_Burt's Profile Photo

    by Randall_Burt Written Sep 7, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Silver Springs was a last minute decission on the way to Florida. I had to see it. I had been there as a baby and always heard about it so my Mom and I decided to stop.

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