Looking to get out of Gainesville for the day? There’s plenty to do over in Ocala, the crown jewel of neighboring Marion County. Read on for our top five things to do in Ocala.

The World Equestrian Center of Ocala

The World Equestrian Center of Ocala has been described as Disneyland for horse people, but it’s a lot more fun for the adults involved. In addition to the Equestrian Center’s well-attended horse and dog shows, the complex features the stylishly-appointed Equestrian Hotel, a spa, and a couple of exquisite restaurants. In 2021 Boutique Design magazine selected The Equestrian Hotel as one of the four best luxury hotels in the world.

Riding lessons at the World Equestrial Center of Ocala, FL. Photo: Christine Leiser

Even if you know nothing about the world of equine sports, you’ll be taken by the sheer scale of the center and the dedication and passion of the people who make it such a spectacular hub of equestrian culture.

Silver Springs and Ocala National Park

Silver Springs is probably Ocala’s most famous and oldest tourist attraction. You can book a tour on a glass-bottom boat, or take a hike on one of the trails branching off from the springs. Silver Springs is the gateway to Ocala National Park, with its 500 acres and waterways providing habitat for a variety of Florida-native flora and fauna.

Historic Downtown Ocala

Historic downtown Ocala is a quaint and walkable town center anchored by a Southern-style gazebo. The stately 19th century brick buildings that make up the main drag are what earned downtown Ocala the nickname “Brick City”. Live music and delicious dining opportunities are but two of Brick City’s biggest draws.

the Landmark Marion Theater in Ocala FL
Historic downtown Ocala, FL: The landmark Marion Theatre’s iconic art deco facade has aged well.

The Flamingo Museum

Looking for something off the beaten path? Be sure to check out the Flamingo Museum. Located in an unassuming strip mall, Cindy Dunlow’s quirky Flamingo Museum is home to the largest collection of flamingo-related items in the world. You can leave with a lawn flamingo, but the rest of the collection is NSF (not for sale)!

Canyons Zip Line and Adventure Park

Not for the faint of heart, the upcoming Treetop Express Zip Line offers an up-close-and-personal tour of the Canyons of Marion County. The first two zips are low and slow and the others get higher, faster and longer, stretching to 1,150 feet across and 155 feet above the canyon floor. The last zip of the tour takes you high over Gator Lake at an incredible speed. Zip line tours cost between $45 and $70 per adult and usually sell out, so it’s best to book in advance.

Interested in learning more about Ocala? Head on over to our sister company Rabell’s Guide to Ocala. Happy daytripping!