For most Americans, the Thanksgiving holiday will be different this year. If you are still looking for COVID thanksgiving ideas, a holiday in Ocala is just what the doctor ordered. According to Dr. Fauci, “People should be very careful and prudent about social gatherings.” While you may forgo the traditional large family gathering, there’s nothing keeping you from Thanksgiving in Ocala, Florida. In fact, many airlines have policies in place to promote safe COVID Thanksgiving travel this year. At Showcase Properties, we love where we live and can’t wait to share our home with you this holiday. Here’s how you can spend a great Thanksgiving in Ocala — even during COVID.

Thanksgiving food and dinner

There’s no arguing that food is the focal point of a Thanksgiving holiday, but during COVID the CDC advises that outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities. So while you won’t be adding a leaf to the dining room table and knocking elbows with extended family members this year, Ocala offers plenty of COVID-friendly outdoor dining options during your stay.

For dining on the big day, experts recommend dining with immediate family and avoiding restaurant crowds. Whether you find a home with a beautiful outdoor kitchen or simply take your meal outside to the patio, Ocala’s friendly climate won’t keep you inside. With average highs of 79 degrees and average lows of 53 degrees during November, you can take your holiday outdoors for fresh air and social distancing. Make this year’s meal extra special by exploring the area’s unique local offerings. Fill your table with unique Florida fruits, local wine from Sokol’s Katya vineyards, and local craft beer from Infinite Ale Works and Hiatus Brewing Company.

Holiday events taking place near Ocala

November is a festive month in Marion County, Florida. Kick-off your holiday season with a variety of activities for the entire family. Ocala Thanksgiving events may look different this year compared to previous years; COVID precautions are in place to support a happy and healthy holiday season. Expect crowds to be limited to promote social distancing and many events have been moved outdoors. While some traditional events have been canceled this year, the area has created new events to spread joy and celebrate the season.

Nov. 12 – 29
Festival of Trees | Orlando Museum of Art
Enjoy classic holiday sights both in person and virtually at this event hosted by the Orlando Museum of Art. Elegant trees, sparkling holiday vignettes, elaborate gingerbread houses, festive wreaths, and breathtaking décor wait to usher you into the holiday season. The museum has created an enhanced virtual experience to accommodate those who wish to avoid any crowds this season.

Nov. 13 – Jan. 3
Night of a Million Lights | Give Kids the World Village
Night of a Million Lights is a walk-through, fully immersive holiday light spectacular. Enjoy a stroll through the Avenue of Angels, aglow with more than three million lights. Children will also enjoy the accessible rides and storybook attractions. Give Kids The World Village is an 89-acre nonprofit resort that provides week-long, cost-free wish vacations to critically ill children and their families.

Nov. 15
Light Up Ocala | Downtown Ocala
COVID precautions are limiting the number of activities accompanying the Light Up this year, but you can still count on the town shining bright after the holiday lights are turned on Sunday, November 15th.

Nov. 19 – Dec. 20
A Christmas Carol | Ocala Civic Theatre
Rediscover the story of Scrooge with this faithful yet imaginative adaptation of Dickens’ classic holiday tale. Multiple performances are offered during the five-week run.

Nov. 21 – Dec. 20
Holiday Photo Ops | Downtown Ocala
Snap a festive photo at one of the many holiday-themed photo scenes that are popping up around downtown Ocala. Scenes like Santa’s Sleigh, Whoville, and Tropical Holiday are ready for your group photo or selfie. Use the tag #GlowOcala to share your photos and see others enjoying the fun.

Nov. 27
Gilbert Gottfried | Reilly Arts Center
Rescheduled from April, Gilbert Gottfried performs his standup routine from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm. They say laughter is the best medicine, so treat yourself to a relaxing evening and take your mind off the stress of the year.

Nov. 27 – Dec. 24
Cottom Farm’s Christmas Village | Weirsdale
Jump into the holiday spirit with a trip to Cottom Farm. Tickets include general admission to the Christmas Village, a hayride to and from the manor house, a self-guided tour, and pictures with Santa.

Nov. 28
Annual MTRA Holiday Market
The Marion Therapeutic Riding Association presents a day filled with arts & crafts vendors, a live DJ, photo booth, car show, food vendors, and activities for the whole family. Bring your Christmas shopping list and support the MTRA, local artists, and small businesses.

Great houses for families

After spending Thanksgiving in Ocala, there’s a good chance that you won’t want to leave. Luckily for you, Ocala offers a variety of homes to suit every budget. Imagine spending future holidays in one of the spacious homes in Marion County. Many Ocala homes offer abundant outdoor living space, pools, and even guest houses. You can even channel your inner pilgrim and explore the beautiful log cabin homes for sale in the area. Find your favorite neighborhood or farm and become a local at nearby restaurants and breweries. The real estate market in Ocala is hot, and November is a wonderful time to check out the homes for sale and explore the area.

Spend the holidays in Ocala this year

Ocala is a wonderful place to spend Thanksgiving and all of the winter. Life in Ocala, Florida suits everyone from young families to retired couples. For equestrian enthusiasts, there are plenty of equestrian communities and horse farms for sale in Ocala.  If you’re looking to stay through the winter, Florida has great 55 and over communities to fit your “semi-retired” lifestyle. Whether you are looking to buy a home or purchase a piece of land on which to build, the knowledgeable agents at Showcase Properties can help.

Take a look at the current homes for sale in Central Florida. Our agents can give you local insight and advice as you explore everything that Ocala and Marion County have to offer during the holidays and year-round. Contact a Central Florida real estate agent today to start learning more about how Ocala can fit your lifestyle.

Love coming to Ocala for Thanksgiving? Compare the cost of renting vs. buying a winter home in Florida. 

You might also like our Guide to Spending Thanksgiving in Gainesville.