Nestled in the heart of what’s known locally as “horse country”, Ocala is a picturesque city with a fascinating array of museums. It serves as the gateway to the natural artesian waters of Silver Springs, as well as the scenic lakes of Ocala National Forest.
Things to do in Ocala
Admire the pre-Columbian artefacts and contemporary works at the Appleton Museum of Art, one of the leading galleries in the southern United States. Pieces from across Asia, Africa and Europe are on display within its travertine marble building that’s fronted by a magnificent reflecting pool.
Want to see one of the largest artesian springs in the world? Jump aboard a glass-bottom boat to explore the crystal-clear waters of Silver Springs. Stand-up paddleboards are also available for rent, as well as clear-bottom kayaks for seeing the spring’s underwater landscapes and wildlife.
Car enthusiasts should visit the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, which boasts one of the largest collection of Fords in the United States. Admire the muscle cars and rare vintage automobiles on display, then wander through the Drag Racing Hall of Fame, which honours some of the sport’s biggest names.
See one of the world’s largest private collections of carriages at the Grand Oaks Carriage Museum, which details the relationship between man and horse throughout the centuries. Admire a 19th-century Armbruster Dress Chariot that belonged to the Emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph, as well as a horse-drawn firefighting machine.
Getting around Ocala
Ocala International Airport is located around 15 minutes’ drive from the downtown area. Buses access most corners of the city, but having your own vehicle is best for exploring the surrounding region.