Local Parks, Trails & Forests
Marion County is rich with natural land and water features, we are fortunate to have some of the most beautiful and peaceful land reserves and Forest in Central Florida. Thanks to the Ocala Parks and Recreation Department as well as the state we have some of the most well kept.
Tuscawilla Park | 352.629.8358
This 34.3 acre park close to downtown Ocala offers playgrounds, a 3/5-mile concrete walking trail surrounding Lake Tuscawilla, six lighted tennis courts, two lighted outdoor basketball courts, and a raquet ball court. There is also a baseball field, shuffleboard, picnic tables and pavilions, and restroom facilities.
Crossing Central Florida from the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Johns River is the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. Over time, this corridor was transformed from one of the nation’s largest uncompleted public works projects to a world-class greenway with hiking, biking, equestrian, and paddling trails, along with boat ramps, fishing spots, campgrounds, a barrier-free Boundless Playground® and picnic shelters. A lush escape in the middle of bustling Ocala, the Greenway is an excellent weekend or even daily getaway.
Offering gardens, waterfalls, and natural springs, Rainbow Springs State Park is one of the most popular outdoor spots in the region. Guests of the park can canoe, kayak, or tube down the beautiful Rainbow River, and can cool off with a relaxing swim in the main headsprings. Don’t miss the park’s mesmerizing waterfalls, a rare experience in the state of Florida.
Internationally known for its intense mountain biking, the Santos Trailhead offers over 80 miles of single-track bike trails, access to the Cross Florida Greenway’s extensive riding trail network, and hiking along the congressionally-designated Florida National Scenic Trail. It also features a campground with 23 full hookups. Santos hosts the Ocala Mountain Bike Association’s Fat Tire Festival every year during the first weekend in March.
Shalom Park | 352.387.7404
Shalom Park is comprised of paved walkways winding through mature oaks, hickories, sweet gums and long leaf pine trees. With a fully stocked koi pond, picturesque surroundings featuring over 250 species of plants and trees, and numerous benches available where guests can simply rest amid the park’s natural beauty, Shalom is a botanical paradise not to be missed.
The Ocala National Forest is the southernmost forest in the continental United States. It has more than 600 lakes, rivers, and springs, where visitors can swim, snorkel, and dive in crystalline waters year-round. The forest also offers numerous hiking and biking trails, as well as dispersed camping, and options for trail riders, hunters, and fishers.
A haven of old-growth cypress and longleaf pine, Goethe National Forest is a tranquil nature-lover’s escape. Wildlife lovers in particular love Goethe for its concentration of rare animals like the Florida black bear, gopher frog, striped newt, and bald eagle. Goethe’s trail system offers seven different trailheads for hikers, bikers, and riders, and campers can enjoy the park’s primitive camp sites. Hunting and fishing are also available within the forest.