Sunday, April 16, 2023 / by Tasha Osbourne
Spend 3 Perfect Days in Ocala, Florida
Ocala offers traditional Florida experiences with canyons, a national forest, horse farms and stables, and one of Florida's oldest tourist attractions, in contrast to the conventional Florida holiday of beaches and theme parks.
You have many possibilities for outdoor activities outside of the city. Take a plunge in one of the biggest pine forests in the world, zip line through forested canyons, explore miles of winding paths and enjoy the splendor of crystal-clear artesian springs. And if you enjoy horses, a trip to the "Horse Capital of the World" will surely bring you happiness.
Are you prepared to mount your horse and explore Ocala? Take the helpful guide with this comprehensive list of Ocala's top attractions.
Day 1 - Horseback Riding and Kayaking
The World Equestrian Centre is the main draw in Ocala, known for its horses. Even if there isn't an event on the day you visit, you should drop by and look at the largest equestrian center in the country.
Visit The Gipsy Gold Farm, where you can take a thorough tour of the grounds and learn all about how the stables are run is another fun thing to do here.
Before visiting Endangered Animal Rescue Sanctuary (EARS) for a new kind of animal interaction, and have lunch nearby. This non-profit organization offers guided tours of their 35-acre refuge on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1:45 p.m. They aim to give unwanted and mistreated endangered animals permanent homes. You will encounter numerous endangered big cats, including tigers, bears, and monkeys. You cannot touch animals, yet the whole family can learn something from the experience.
Silver Springs Kayaking
You might continue spending the second half of your day outside since you have already done so for the first half, and check out the stunning Silver Springs River after lunch. If you're feeling daring, you'll love taking one of Silver Springs Kayaking's narrated kayak tours. If you like to stay on dry land, you can also spend an equally wonderful afternoon wandering through Silver Springs State Park.
Day 2 - Unique Florida Trails
Let's get connected to natural landscapes, vibrant wildlife, and plenty of outdoor activities and interactions. Here's an amazing guide to discovering Florida's great outdoors which ranges from hiking, biking, paddling, and zip lining.
Ocala National Forest, which spans more than 600 square miles, is teeming with adventure.
Paddle a spring run, a lake, or a river, hike the Florida Trail, camp deep in the woods, and enjoy a quiet day by a cold, bubbling spring. This woodland has more than 600 springs, lakes, and ponds.
Play with Manatees
Manatees swim in Florida's waterways from April to October. Still, when the weather turns chilly, they migrate to areas like freshwater Florida Springs, where the temperature is stable all year. Always remember to practice 'Manatee Manners' and look but don't touch, whether you're on a manatee swim tour or a solo kayak trip.
Explore Vibrant Keys Settlements
Visitors can get a close-up look at the vibrant Keys settlements and enjoy views of the glistening Gulf and Atlantic waters on the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage route, an expanding, paved, multi-use route. The picturesque corridor connecting the islands, which stretches from Key Largo to Key West, provides a different mode of transportation and a recreational path for hiking, running, bicycling, inline skating, sightseeing, fishing, and kayaking. A crucial part of this multi-use path, which now has around 70 paved miles in phases along its 106-mile course, are the 23 historic Flagler Railroad bridges.
Day 3 - Visit the Ocala Downtown Square, The Museum & The Arts, and Make your bottle of wine
This central hub opened in 1847 and is home to a diverse array of eateries, salons, and shops.
Some of Ocala's most interesting attractions are located in Downtown Square. There is always a bright moment on this urban strip, which features an exciting nightlife scene and a historic theater. It has a first Friday arts festival and a Saturday farmer's market.
Your children will love to enjoy the city's water fountain park. The historic Marion Theatre is another place to watch a recent release. There are many restaurants in the area, including Pi on Broadway, for foodies.
Explore the History of Arts
At the Marion Museum of History and Archaeology, where artifacts such as photographs, ceramics, and arrowheads span 13,000 years of local history, start with an introduction to the region's origins. Stop to browse the library, attend a lecture, and stroll around the grounds on the McPherson Fitness Trail.
Visit the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing to pick up the pace. Here, you can explore the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, see nearly 300 cars, and discover more about "Big Daddy'' Don Garlits, who is regarded as the founder of drag racing.
Your final visit is the Appleton Museum of Art, which is clad in Italian travertine marble and has 18,000 works of fine art and artifact collections in addition to changing displays. Works by Florida artists that illustrate the history of the area and an art library are among the treasures. After viewing the exhibits, take some time to relax in the peaceful courtyard and the lovely grounds of this former thoroughbred horse farm.
Make your wine at The Corkscrew
At The Corkscrew, they can help you make almost any type of wine you like, including reds, whites, sweet vintages ready to drink in 30 days, and wide heavier varieties that take around a year to mature.
The entry-level package, which costs $150, comes with enough juice to make 30 bottles, usage of the fermenting equipment, bottles, and labels—yes, you can make your own.
If you want to travel to Crystal River, the total distance is 40 miles or 64 kilometers by car. Crystal River begins with Kings Bay, a natural wonder on which the city is built and the river named after it. More than 70 springs and as many as 40 additional seeps provide 600 million gallons of fresh water daily to Kings Bay, a remarkable body of freshwater only six miles from the Gulf of Mexico. A significant winter sanctuary for Florida Manatees, it is a series of first-class Florida springs. The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is the only shelter in the US devoted to preserving and conserving a single species because it is so crucial to the survival of manatees.
Orlando Disney Resorts
The travel distance between Ocala and Orlando Disney Resorts is 63.7 miles. Explore the magic of Disney Resorts while enjoying water parks, Disney springs, plenty of sports, and Disney’s Boardwalk.
Hotels in Ocala, Florida
Some of the top-notch hotels that will make your trip even more satisfying and comfortable are:
- Equus Inn, Ocala
- Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites
- Comfort Inn Ocala Silver Springs
- Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Ocala
- Best Western Ocala Park Center
- Comfort Suites Ocala North
To Wind Things Up
Ocala, Florida, is one of the amazingly beautiful and full-of-secret tourist sites to make your 3-day trip a great one. So, without delay, book your tickets at the finest hotels and prepare for a lifetime adventure. Remember our guide with you so that you can plan accordingly.