Ocala, located in Marion County, Florida, is justly known as The Horse Capital of the World. First-time visitors are delighted to discover the area’s gently rolling hills and oak-shaded country roads along with a warm, welcoming populace. The people of horse country have long cultivated a unique variety of rural and urban lifestyles within the area, and built a thriving agricultural community that is the envy of the equestrian world. Virtually every breed of horse is represented here in Ocala across 70,000 acres of farms, and nearly every kind of equestrian competition or sale can be found here as well. The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, Florida Horse Park, HITS Winter Circuit, and Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company are all proud to call Ocala home. As one of the premier Thoroughbred communities in the world, Marion County offers access to an impressive array of equine services such as cutting-edge veterinary medicine, equine dentistry and massage therapy, feed and tack retail, and nationwide horse transportation.
Ocala also fosters a diverse cultural community. The city’s art scene is enriched by such institutions as the Appleton Museum of Art, the Austin Carriage Museum, the Brick City Center for the Arts, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association Gallery, and the Webber Center Gallery at the Central College of Florida. The performing arts are also well -represented by the College of Central Florida Theatre, Central Florida Symphony, Ocala Civic Theatre, the Brick City Center for the Arts’ Improv Troupe.
In addition to supporting equine industry and agriculture, Marion County has long been a hub for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Its central location in the very heart of Florida allows easy access to gorgeous beaches on the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Closer to home, the Ocala National Forest is a favorite among hikers and campers. Nearby Paynes Prairie appeals to wildlife admirers and birdwatchers, and those who love the water spend their days on the Rainbow and Silver Rivers. One of the area’s most enduring and notable attractions is Silver Springs State Park, also known as “Nature’s Theme Park.” The park showcases acres of Florida’s untouched natural beauty, as well as cultivated gardens and canoeing and kayaking on the Silver River. Glass bottom boats tour the springs daily, providing visitors a glimpse into the crystal-clear deeps where 550 million gallons of water are pumped into the river every day. Aside from the natural wonders found at Silver Springs, Ocala has 41 parks that offer hiking and biking trails, camping, boating, and fishing.
If golf is your passion, Ocala has an abundance of public and private courses where you can practice your swing. Ocala National Golf Club is the perfect place to play a tranquil round amid the oaks and hills of horse country, and Royal Oaks offers an 18-hole putting facility where you can practice your short game. Whatever your skill level, Marion County has over a dozen courses to choose from.
Genuine southern hospitality abounds among the beautiful hills and in the relaxing atmosphere of Ocala. Our hometown is the perfect place to visit, and the ultimate place for you to find your own slice of horse country!
Want to know more about Ocala?
Check out the Ocala/Marion County Chamber of Economic Partnership’s QUICK FACTS!