Ocala is the perfect destination if you’re seeking an action-packed vacation in Florida.
This charming city boasts an array of activities, tourist attractions, and thrilling experiences.
With its numerous parks, scenic nature trails, rich historical landmarks, and cultural offerings, you’ll never have a dull moment in Ocala.
The city caters to all interests, providing a diverse range of free and paid options to choose from.
This guide highlights the top things to do in Ocala, featuring the must-try experiences and the most popular tourist destinations.
So, what are you waiting for?
Book your trip to Ocala today and prepare for an unforgettable adventure this weekend!
1. Silver Springs State Park
Silver Springs State Park is one of the top tourist attractions in Ocala, Florida, and a must-visit for anyone looking for fun things to do this weekend.
With crystal-clear springs, lush vegetation, and a rich history dating back to the 1930s, this park offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural significance.
Additionally, visitors can enjoy camping or hiking under the stars, making the park a unique experience both during the day and at night.
Visitors can embark on a scenic boat tour to witness the springs and gain insight into the region’s diverse wildlife or venture on a hiking trail for an up-close encounter with the local flora and fauna.
To make a day of it, the park features picnic spots, a children’s play area, and even a glass-bottom boat tour.
Silver Springs State Park is the perfect spot whether you’re looking for adventure tonight or just a scenic escape.
Address: 1425 N.E. 58th Ave., Ocala, FL 34470, United States
2. Appleton Museum of Art
Appleton Museum of Art is a must-visit for art lovers visiting Ocala, Florida.
With a collection of over 16,000 works of art, this museum showcases a wide range of styles and periods from ancient times to contemporary art.
The museum offers everything from American, European, African, and Pre-Columbian art.
The museum’s permanent collection includes masterpieces by famous artists such as Monet, Degas, and Renoir.
Visitors can enjoy rotating exhibitions and special events, including workshops and lectures.
The museum is housed in a beautifully restored historic building that was once a high school, adding to the charm of this cultural gem.
With its diverse collection and engaging exhibitions, the Appleton Museum of Art is a must-visit attraction in Ocala.
Whether you’re an art aficionado or simply looking for something unique and cultural to do, the Appleton Museum of Art is the perfect destination for you.
Address: 4333 E Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala, FL 34470, United States
3. Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing
Looking for adrenaline-pumping things to do in Florida?
The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing is a must-visit for car enthusiasts and fans of high-speed racing.
Located in Ocala, Florida, this museum is dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of drag racing and honoring the sport’s most legendary drivers.
The museum features a collection of over 200 vintage and modern dragsters and a wide array of memorabilia and artifacts related to the sport.
Visitors can admire classic dragsters from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, as well as the latest high-tech machines used in modern competition.
The museum also showcases the personal collection of drag racing legend Don Garlits, who is considered one of the greatest drivers of all time.
With its rich history and captivating exhibits, the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing is a must-see for anyone visiting Ocala, Florida.
Address: 13700 SW 16th Ave, Ocala, FL 34473, United States
4. Ocala National Forest
Ocala National Forest is a jewel of nature nestled in the heart of Florida, spanning over 383,000 acres of diverse wilderness.
This breathtaking forest is an idyllic destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
From hiking and camping to fishing and boating, there’s something for everyone here.
The forest is a sanctuary for an array of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and black bears.
Take a stroll along the various trails and witness these creatures in their natural habitats.
The clear, crisp springs and streams also offer a unique way to appreciate the beauty of the forest, with activities like swimming and snorkeling.
For a truly unforgettable experience, embark on a canoe or kayak journey and discover the numerous waterways in the park.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the stunning Alexander Springs and Salt Springs, which boast crystal-clear waters and plenty of opportunities for activities like swimming, snorkeling, and fishing.
But what truly sets Ocala National Forest apart is its free activities, offering a chance to immerse in the natural beauty of this pristine forest.
Connect with nature, bask in the tranquility of the great outdoors, and take advantage of the free things to do that Ocala has to offer.
Address: Ocala, FL, United States
5. Horse Country
Horse Country, located in Ocala, Florida, is a must-visit for horse lovers.
With over 300 thoroughbred horse farms, it is one of the largest horse-breeding destinations in the world.
Take a scenic drive through rolling hills and pastures, admire the well-manicured lawns, and witness daily training sessions of these magnificent creatures.
Horse farms offer tours and experiences, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the horses.
Trail rides and guided horseback tours are also available for equestrian enthusiasts.
Horse Country is a paradise for horse lovers and a hub for equestrian events and competitions, from polo matches to horse shows.
Experience the magic of Horse Country in Ocala.
Address: Ocala, FL, United States
6. Glass Bottom Boats at Silver Springs State Park
Glass Bottom Boats at Silver Springs State Park offers a unique way to see Florida’s crystal-clear springs and diverse aquatic life.
A tour on these boats is a must-include in your list of things to do in Ocala for both nature and history enthusiasts.
With a transparent bottom, you’ll be able to admire the clear waters, schools of fish, and occasional alligators in their natural habitat.
Silver Springs State Park springs are part of the Ocala Aquifer, providing drinking water to much of Florida.
In the early 20th century, the springs became a popular tourist destination and the site of a movie studio that produced several silent films.
Today, the park continues to be a popular tourist attraction and offers some of the best activities, like glass-bottom boat tours, camping, hiking, and more.
So, if you’re looking for things to do in Ocala that are both fun and educational, a tour of the Glass Bottom Boats is a must-visit!
Address: 5656 E Silver Springs Blvd, Silver Springs, FL 34488, United States
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7. Live Oak International Horse Trials and Country Fair
The Live Oak International Horse Trials and Country Fair is a unique and thrilling event for horse enthusiasts and families.
Held annually in Ocala, Florida, this event brings together top equestrians from around the world to compete in various disciplines, including show jumping, dressage, and cross-country riding.
In addition to the competition, there are plenty of opportunities for fun and entertainment, with live music, food and drink, and vendors selling horse-related merchandise.
With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder the Live Oak International Horse Trials and Country Fair has become a staple of the Ocala community, attracting thousands of visitors every year.
Whether you’re an avid horse lover or just looking for a fun day out, this event is a must-visit for anyone in the area.
So gather the family, pack a picnic, and head out to the Live Oak International Horse Trials and Country Fair for a day of exciting equestrian competition and endless fun.
Address: 2215 SW 110th Ave, Ocala, FL 34481, United States
8. Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology
Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology is a fascinating destination that showcases the rich heritage of Marion County and the surrounding region.
Located in Ocala, Florida, this museum offers visitors a comprehensive look at the area’s history, from its early settlers and Native American cultures to its growth and development over the centuries.
The museum features an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that illustrate the various aspects of life in Marion County, from the days of horse-drawn carriages to the modern era.
Visitors can learn about the area’s maritime history, the Civil War’s impact, and Ocala’s growth as a center of commerce and industry.
One of the museum’s highlights is its collection of Native American artifacts, including pottery, tools, and clothing.
Visitors can also explore the history of the area’s horse industry, including the development of the Thoroughbred horse racing and the founding of Horse Country.
The museum offers a range of educational programs, including guided tours, hands-on workshops, and special exhibitions.
It is an ideal destination for families, students, and history buffs, and it provides a rich and engaging experience that offers a deeper understanding of Marion County and its place in Florida’s history.
If you are looking for an engaging, educational, and entertaining day out, the Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology is a must-visit.
Address: 307 SE 26th Terrace, Ocala, FL 34471, United States
9. Ocala Downtown Square & Historic District
Discover the essence of Ocala’s past and present in the charming downtown square and historical district, a must-see stop in your itinerary of things to do in downtown Ocala.
The area offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.
From Victorian-era architecture to charming local boutiques and restaurants, the downtown square is delightful to explore.
Take a stroll down the historic streets and admire the beautiful historic homes, many of which have been meticulously restored.
The area also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, including the famous Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.
Foodies will love the variety of local eateries that offer a delicious taste of the South.
At the same time, shopping enthusiasts will find unique gifts and souvenirs at the many antique and specialty shops.
Whether you’re a history buff, a culture vulture, or just love a good downtown scene, the Ocala downtown square and historic district is an absolute must-see.
Address: SE 1st Ave, Ocala, FL 34471, United States
10. Rainbow Springs State Park
Rainbow Springs State Park is a stunning natural wonder located near Ocala, Florida.
This park boasts crystal-clear springs, lush tropical foliage, and a variety of recreational activities to enjoy.
Visitors can relax and cool off in the refreshing springs, swim, or explore the park on a scenic river float.
The park also offers picnic areas, hiking trails, and a nature center with interactive exhibits.
Rainbow Springs State Park is a must-visit for a unique and peaceful outdoor experience.
Don’t miss the chance to kayak down the Rainbow River, admire the beautiful gardens and waterfalls, and get a glimpse of Florida’s diverse wildlife.
Whether you’re seeking a day trip or a weekend getaway, Rainbow Springs State Park is one of the places to go!
Address: 19158 SW 81st Pl Rd, Dunnellon, FL 34432, United States
11. Ocala Civic Theatre
The Ocala Civic Theatre, located in the heart of downtown Ocala, is a must-visit destination for culture enthusiasts.
With its long history and commitment to excellence, this iconic venue has become a staple of the Ocala arts scene and attracts visitors from far and wide.
With its state-of-the-art lighting and sound system, this modern theater offers an unforgettable experience for theater-goers, from the moment they step into the stunning lobby to the final curtain call.
Each season, the theater stages an exciting and diverse selection of productions, ranging from classic musicals and plays to cutting-edge new works.
Whether you are a fan of classic drama, contemporary comedy, or anything in between, the Ocala Civic Theatre is sure to have something to suit your taste.
So if you’re looking for a fun and engaging evening out in Ocala or simply want to experience the best in local theater, the Ocala Civic Theatre is one of the places to go!
Whether you’re a resident or just passing through, this one-of-a-kind venue will leave a lasting impression and become a memorable part of your Ocala experience.
Address: 4337 E Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala, FL 34470, United States
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12. Ocala Downtown Market
The Ocala Downtown Market is a hub of local agriculture and fresh produce that should not be missed by those looking to experience Florida’s rich, fertile lands and support its farmers.
Located in the heart of Ocala, the market offers an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and handcrafted goods made by local artisans.
This vibrant and flavorful addition to any itinerary is one of the many free things to do and enjoy in Ocala.
Visitors can try the offerings of local vendors and gain insight into the sustainable practices that make Florida’s agriculture industry stand out.
With a strong emphasis on quality, community, and sustainability, the Ocala Farmers Market is a must-visit for those who want to immerse themselves in the essence of Ocala and its surroundings.
Whether you are a local or a visiting tourist, it provides an excellent chance to taste some of the freshest and most delicious foods the region has to offer.
Address: 403 SE Osceola Ave, Ocala, FL 34471, United States
13. The Canyons Zip Line and Canopy Tours
The Canyons Zip Line and Canopy Tours is a thrilling adventure that should not be missed, especially if you’re seeking exciting things to do in Ocala.
Perfect for adrenaline seekers, nature enthusiasts, and those looking for a challenge, this experience is equipped with harnesses, helmets, and other necessary gear before embarking on a journey through the forest treetops.
The tour features a series of zip lines, sky bridges, and obstacles that will challenge your bravery and give you a unique perspective of the breathtaking things to see.
With knowledgeable guides to ensure your safety and help you navigate the course, you’re guaranteed a memorable and thrilling experience.
Whether you’re a seasoned zipliner or trying it for the first time, The Canyons Zip Line and Canopy Tours is a must-visit for anyone searching for exciting Ocala attractions.
So, gather your courage and experience the rush of zip lining through the heart of the forest, and make sure to add this exciting activity to your list of what to do in Ocala.
Address: 8045 NW Gainesville Rd, Ocala, FL 34475, United States
14. Withlacoochee State Trail
The Withlacoochee State Trail, a 46-mile paved trail, offers outdoor enthusiasts a chance to escape into nature and enjoy the scenic beauty of Florida.
This multi-use trail runs from Trilby to the Gulf of Mexico, passing through some of the state’s most picturesque landscapes along the way.
Whether you are a hiker, biker, or equestrian, Withlacoochee State Trail offers a diverse range of recreational opportunities.
The trail also passes by several historical sites and natural springs, giving you a chance to discover the rich history of Florida.
With its well-maintained path, shaded areas, and picnic spots, this trail is perfect for a day trip or a weekend adventure.
Whether you are looking to relax, exercise, or simply soak up the beauty of Florida, Withlacoochee State Trail is one of the greatest places to visit.
Address: FL, United States
15. Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center
Located in the heart of Silver Springs State Park, the Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center is a must-visit for those interested in Florida’s natural history and conservation efforts.
The museum features exhibits showcasing the unique ecosystems and wildlife of the Silver River and its surrounding area, including the famous Silver Springs themselves.
The interactive displays and informative exhibits provide visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the importance of protecting and preserving the area’s delicate balance of nature.
One of the museum’s highlights is the 360-degree multimedia theater, where visitors can watch a captivating film about the history and significance of the Silver River and its surroundings.
In addition, the museum also offers a variety of educational programs, workshops, and guided tours that allow visitors to delve deeper into the area’s rich natural heritage.
For those looking for a hands-on experience, the Environmental Education Center offers outdoor activities such as canoeing, kayaking, and hiking on the park’s trails.
Visitors can explore the area’s diverse habitats, including hardwood forests, wetlands, and open meadows, and learn about the flora and fauna that call the area home.
Whether you’re an avid nature lover or simply looking to expand your knowledge of the local ecosystem, the Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center is a must-visit destination in the Ocala area.
With its combination of informative exhibits, educational programs, and outdoor activities, this facility offers something for everyone and is sure to be a memorable and enriching experience.
Address: 1445 NE 58th Ave, Ocala, FL 34470, United States
16. Petting Zoo Ocala
Petting Zoo Ocala is a premier destination for families and animal enthusiasts.
This fun and educational attraction allows visitors to interact with various farm animals in a safe and controlled environment, including goats, chickens, ducks, and rabbits.
The petting zoo is a fun day out and an educational experience that teaches children about different types of animals, their behaviors, and their habitats.
The zoo provides a hands-on experience where children can feed, pet, and learn about the animals.
Visitors can learn about the importance of animal welfare and how to properly care for and interact with the animals.
In addition, the zoo staff is knowledgeable and friendly, making the experience even more enjoyable.
Petting Zoo Ocala is also an excellent place for birthday parties and other special events, with several picnic areas for guests to enjoy.
With various animals to see and activities to do, it is a fun and affordable outing for families and animal lovers of all ages.
Whether you are looking for a fun day out or a hands-on educational experience, Petting Zoo Ocala is one of the greatest places to visit for anyone in the area.
Address: 11150 FL-40, Ocala, FL 34482, United States
17. Sholom Park
Sholom Park is a tranquil oasis in Ocala, Florida, offering visitors a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The park is situated on a picturesque lake, surrounded by lush greenery and majestic oak trees.
Sholom Park is the perfect destination whether you are a bird-watcher, nature lover, or simply looking for a place to relax and unwind.
The park offers a variety of walking trails, fishing docks, picnic areas, and more, making it a great place to spend a day with family and friends.
The park is also home to a wide range of wildlife, including rabbits, squirrels, and various species of birds, so be sure to bring your binoculars and enjoy the show.
With its natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere, Sholom Park is a must-visit for anyone seeking a true escape from busy city life.
Address: 7110 SW 80th Ave, Ocala, FL 34481, United States
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18. Alexander Springs Recreational Area
The Alexander Springs Recreational Area is a tranquil and picturesque location situated near Ocala, Florida.
This hidden gem offers an array of outdoor activities, including swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and fishing, all at an affordable price.
The park’s centerpiece is a 72-degree crystal clear spring that forms a serene lake surrounded by lush vegetation and a diverse array of wildlife.
Visitors can lounge in the sun and take in the natural beauty or rent a kayak to explore the adjacent creeks and springs.
The recreational area also features picnic tables, grills, and scenic hiking trails for those seeking a day in nature.
Whether you’re searching for a budget-friendly day of recreation or just want to escape the city’s hustle and bustle, Alexander Springs Recreational Area is a must-visit destination and one of the many free and cheap things to do in Ocala.
Address: 49525 County Rd 445, Altoona, FL 32702, United States
19. Reilly Arts Center
Reilly Arts Center is a vibrant cultural hub located in Ocala, Florida.
This stunning facility provides a unique platform for showcasing diverse artistic and cultural events and is a must-visit for anyone looking for creativity and inspiration.
The center features a 700-seat auditorium with state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, making it an ideal venue for concerts, theater performances, and other events.
It also has a versatile theater stage that can be transformed into a theater-in-the-round or proscenium-style stage, depending on the event’s needs.
In addition to its main auditorium, the Reilly Arts Center also features a spacious lobby and gallery area, which provides a perfect setting for art exhibitions, pre-show receptions, and other social gatherings.
The center’s knowledgeable and friendly staff is always on hand to offer assistance and support to visitors and to ensure that each event runs smoothly and efficiently.
Whether you’re an art lover, a music enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates great cultural experiences, the Reilly Arts Center is an absolute must-visit.
With its excellent facilities and talented staff, it offers a one-of-a-kind venue that will leave a lasting impression on all who visit.
So, if you’re in the Ocala area, check out the Reilly Arts Center and experience the best in arts and culture.
Address: 500 NE 9th St, Ocala, FL 34470, United States
20. The Ocala Escape
The Ocala Escape is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves puzzles, challenges, and games.
It’s an escape room experience where you are locked in a room and have to solve various puzzles and challenges to escape.
It’s an exciting, interactive, and thrilling experience perfect for families, friends, and co-workers.
The Ocala Escape offers different themes, such as a haunted house, a prison break, and a detective’s office.
Each room is designed with attention to detail and realism, making you feel like you’re in the room, solving puzzles and challenges.
With a time limit of 60 minutes, you’ll be racing against the clock, adding to the excitement and adrenaline of the experience.
The Ocala Escape is an excellent activity for people of all ages and skill levels.
The puzzles and challenges are designed to be fun and engaging yet challenging enough to keep everyone engaged.
The escape rooms are suitable for groups of 2 to 10 people and are a great way to bond, challenge each other, and have fun together.
If you’re looking for a unique and exciting experience, head to The Ocala Escape and solve puzzles, challenges, and escape rooms.
So, make sure to add this challenging activity to your list of what to do in Ocala.
You won’t be disappointed!
Address: 4901 E Silver Springs Blvd #302, Ocala, FL 34470, United States
21. Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers.
Conveniently located just a short drive from Ocala, this stunning state park boasts a unique and breathtaking landscape with many things to see.
Spanning over 21,000 acres, the preserve is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bison, horses, and alligators.
The park offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, horseback riding, and bird-watching.
Its prairies, savannas, and wetlands provide a perfect setting to explore and appreciate Florida’s natural beauty.
The La Chua Trail is a popular hiking destination, offering visitors a chance to see the diverse ecosystems of the preserve up close.
With its breathtaking views, abundant wildlife, and an array of outdoor activities, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a must-visit for anyone eager to experience the beauty of Florida’s great outdoors.
Address: 100 Savannah Blvd, Micanopy, FL 32667, United States
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Start Planning Your Trip To Ocala
Ocala and its neighboring regions offer an array of one-of-a-kind and captivating experiences ready to be discovered.
This lively part of Florida caters to all interests with natural marvels such as Silver Springs State Park and the Ocala National Forest and cultural hotspots like the Appleton Museum of Art and the Reilly Arts Center.
Ocala, Florida, is a vibrant city with many possibilities and stuff to do, ready to be explored and enjoyed – starting tomorrow!
So gather your essentials, don sunscreen, and journey to this sun-soaked paradise for an unforgettable escapade!