The central Florida city of Ocala is packed with extraordinary experiences. From natural wonders in the Ocala National Forest and Silver Springs State Park to man-made attractions like the Appleton Museum of Art and the Fort King National Historic Landmark, Ocala is a wonderful place to visit.
However, it’s an even better place to live. Here are five reasons why people move to Ocala.
1. Everything You Need with a Small Town Atmosphere
Ocala’s city planners have carefully managed development over the years. The result is the ideal balance between having access to everything you need and not sacrificing a warm and hospitable small-town feeling.
This makes Ocala a fantastic place to start out in life, raise a family or retire. Whatever stage of life you’re in, you’ll find an abundance of jobs, restaurants, shops and houses of worship. The schools are recognized for the quality education that they offer, and residents are free to discover a wide range of recreational possibilities.
Ocala features excellent community connection. You’ll probably get to be good friends with your neighbors, which is a rarity in other cities. Plus, Ocala’s quaint downtown district is a favorite place to hang out, dine and shop. You’ll even find several fun festivals on the calendar.
2. It’s the Horse Capital of the World
How did a mid-sized Florida city earn a reputation as the Horse Capital of the World? By boasting a surprising number of prestigious breeding facilities.
When you visit Ocala, you’ll discover that you don’t have to travel far to discover mile upon mile of pastureland. All of it is beautifully fenced in with white or brown lumber. Immaculate barns are seen on the horizon. As you watch, sleek, muscular animals graze in the pastures or are put through their paces by experienced trainers. There’s no mistaking that this is serious horse country.
In fact, Marion County boasts in excess of 600 farms that raise and train Thoroughbreds, making it one of just four Thoroughbred centers on the planet. Altogether, the local horse farms have produced six Kentucky Derby winners, 20 Breeders’ Cup champions and 45 national champions.
If horse lovers need even more incentive to make Ocala home, consider that the World Equestrian Center soon will be open. This elegant facility will feature almost 20 multi-purpose outdoor arenas, riding trails, schooling areas, climate-controlled barns and much more.
3. Ocala Is a Haven for Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts
If you enjoy other outdoor recreation as an alternative to horseback riding, then you’re in luck. Ocala is filled with recreational options.
Water sports are particularly popular in the region, with many locals indulging in kayaking, canoeing, boating and tubing. You might explore along the Ocklawaha River one day and then Lake Weir the next. Or, you could spend a lifetime discovering the more than 600 springs, rivers and lakes of the Ocala National Forest.
Fishing for crappie, bass, catfish and more is popular with local anglers. You’ll be spoiled for choice with diverse locations like Fore Lake Recreation Area, Rainbow Springs State Park and the Lake Eaton Pier to name a few.
Hikers love to explore the miles of trails in the many parks, and cyclists find plenty to occupy them here too. Diverse activities like hunting, birding and off-road riding vie for the attention of outdoor adventurers.
It’s all yours for the asking, and with an average of 233 sunny days every year, you’ll have lots of time for exploration.
4. An Ideal Central Location
It’s hard to imagine a more ideal location than the one that Ocala occupies. That’s because the city is situated in the geographic center of Florida. No matter where you want to visit in the state, you’re just a short drive away.
You can be in Daytona within an hour and a half where you can enjoy the beach or catch a NASCAR race. With just slightly more time in the car, you’ll find yourself in St. Augustine. This ancient city boasts not only the beach but also some of the oldest and most fascinating historic sites in the U.S.
Larger cities like Gainesville and Jacksonville are found to the north. Gainesville features attractions such as the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens and the Harn Museum of Art. In Gainesville, you’ll also find the University of Florida, which offers a wide range of prestigious degree programs. Jacksonville boasts popular sites like the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, MOSH and the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.
If thrill rides are more your style, then venture an hour or so south to Orlando. Known as the theme park capital of the world, this is where you’ll find Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and more.
With equally convenient access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, beach getaways are always on the itinerary. Plus, you’ll have your pick of big-city thrills with a drive of an hour or two. No wonder people say that Ocala is perfectly located.
5. Ocala Is Affordable
In recent years, Florida’s cities have acquired a reputation for pricey real estate. However, that’s not the case in Ocala. Compare real estate here with other communities in Florida, and you will be pleasantly surprised. With lower home prices, you’ll be able to get more home for your money.
Plus, Ocala occupies a large region with acres of land. This means that you’ll probably find a larger lot than you will in other Florida cities, ensuring you a bigger yard and more privacy.
Even with all of those advantages, you’ll find that your property tax bill remains attractively low. It’s just one more reason that families are coming home to Ocala.
Are You Ready to Make a Move?
If you are interested in what Ocala can offer your family, then call Florida’s Choice Realty. Our expert Realtors are always prepared to share their love of the local area with families who are thinking about moving to Ocala. Call us today to or fill out the form below to learn more.