Horsing Around in Marion County

Marion County, located in North Central Florida, is a beautiful and diverse area known for its natural beauty, equestrian culture, and rich history. With a population of over 360,000 residents, this county offers a mix of urban and rural living, as well as small-town charm.

The county seat is the city of Ocala, which is home to several historic landmarks, cultural institutions, and a bustling downtown area filled with local shops and restaurants. The county is also home to several other cities and towns, including Belleview, Dunnellon, and Reddick.

Whether you're looking to explore the great outdoors, learn about local history and culture, or enjoy the equestrian lifestyle, Marion County has something to offer visitors of all ages and interests.

Our Top Ten Local Destinations

  1. Silver Springs State Park: This popular state park is known for its crystal-clear springs, which have been a popular tourist attraction since the 19th century. Visitors can enjoy glass-bottom boat tours, hiking and biking trails, as well as swimming and kayaking in the springs. Website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/silver-springs-state-park

  2. Ocala National Forest: This expansive national forest covers over 600 square miles and offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and boating. Visitors can explore the forest's many natural wonders, including its crystal-clear springs, pristine lakes, and diverse wildlife. Website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/ocala

  3. Florida Horse Park: This equestrian center hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including horse shows, rodeos, and equestrian competitions. Visitors can also explore the park's hiking and biking trails, as well as learn about the history and culture of the equestrian lifestyle. Website: https://flhorsepark.com/

  4. Appleton Museum of Art: This museum features a collection of over 18,000 works of art, including American and European art, contemporary art, and decorative arts. Visitors can also explore the museum's beautiful gardens and outdoor sculptures. Website: https://appletonmuseum.org/

  5. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park: This historic site celebrates the life and work of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "The Yearling." Visitors can tour Rawlings' historic farmhouse, as well as explore the park's nature trails and scenic views. Website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/marjorie-kinnan-rawlings-historic-state-park

  6. Fort King National Historic Landmark: This historic site was once the site of a military fort and served as a meeting place for Native Americans and early settlers in the area. Visitors can explore the fort's history and learn about the area's rich cultural heritage. Website: https://www.ocalafl.org/government/city-departments-a-e/cultural-arts/historic-preservation/fort-king-national-historic-landmark

  7. Rainbow Springs State Park: This state park is known for its crystal-clear springs, scenic waterfalls, and lush vegetation. Visitors can enjoy swimming, kayaking, and tubing in the springs, as well as exploring the park's hiking trails and picnic areas. Website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/rainbow-springs-state-park

  8. Santos Trailhead and Vortex Trails: This mountain biking destination offers over 80 miles of trails for all skill levels, as well as scenic views and unique geological formations. Visitors can also enjoy hiking and horseback riding in the area. The trails are maintained by volunteers and the park is free to the public. Website: https://www.ocalamountainbike.com/

  1. Sholom Park: This beautiful park is known for its winding trails, lush gardens, and peaceful atmosphere. Visitors can explore the park's many walking trails, as well as relax in one of its many shaded seating areas. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including birds and butterflies. Website: https://www.sholompark.com/

  2. Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing: This museum celebrates the history and culture of drag racing, with exhibits showcasing historic vehicles, engines, and memorabilia from the sport's early days to the present. Visitors can also enjoy the museum's extensive collection of rare and vintage cars, as well as learn about the sport's pioneers and legends. Website: https://www.garlits.com/

From the natural beauty of Silver Springs to the equestrian culture of the Florida Horse Park, Marion County offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors to explore. Its rich history and vibrant cultural scene make it a must-visit destination in North Central Florida.

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