Cities in Ocala Florida

Does our headline seem a little strange to you? It’s probably because Ocala is a city in its own right rather than being a home to other cities. Still, many out of state buyers ask us about the cities in Ocala.

It’s easy to understand why it might seem like Ocala contains more than one city. After all, there are an astonishing number of things to do in one concentrated area. Moreover, Ocala is close to several other charming Florida communities, which multiply the opportunities to get out and enjoy the region.

Let’s start with providing a bit of orientation.

Where Is Ocala, Florida?

map of Ocala and surrounding cities in Marion County

Ocala is found in Florida’s northern region, and it serves as the seat for Marion County. With just under 65,000 residents, Ocala is a growing community that attracts singles, young families, retirees and everyone in between.

Officially known as the Horse Capital of the World, Ocala is the home of more than 400 thoroughbred horse farms. Accordingly, you can expect to find plenty of opportunities to purchase properties that are appropriate for agricultural livestock-raising purposes.

In addition to being county seat, Ocala is the central community included in the Ocala, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. The statistical area is home to more than 350,000 people living in cities like Belleview, Dunnellon, McIntosh and Reddick as well as census-designated places like Silver Springs Shores and unincorporated communities such as Marion Oaks, Summerfield and Orange Springs.

What Draws People to Ocala?

Low crime rates, great schools and affordable real estate are just a few of the reasons why people naturally gravitate toward Ocala. They also come here because this is prime horse country.

Begin your journey in Ocala’s historic downtown district and travel in the direction of your choice. In fact, the direction isn’t particularly important because regardless of the point on the compass, you are bound to encounter some gorgeous and stately horse farms. If you don’t want to raise horses yourself, then you might look for a horse farm that offers tours or guided horseback rides.

Ocala also is the home of the World Equestrian Center, a sprawling, state-of-the-art facility where an array of shows and competitions are held every year. Whether you ride or just want to attend as a spectator, Ocala is certainly the place to be.

Seasonal events and festivals also bring people to Ocala. As an example, each February a cattle drive is conducted through the center of town. This Cattle Drive & Cowboy Roundup is a tip of the hat to Ocala’s cattle ranching past. In addition to the cattle drive, you and your family can experience a petting zoo, demonstrations, pony rides, live music and all sorts of food vendors.

Each Friday from September through May, locals and visitors flock to the historic downtown neighborhood to browse through dozens of art displays. Be sure to participate in the free family art activities and set aside some time to enjoy the live entertainment as well. It’s also the perfect opportunity to enjoy a bite to eat at a unique Ocala restaurant.

Silver Springs State Park is one of Ocala’s chief attractions. Take a ride on a glass bottom boat to view the animal and plant life below in the stunningly clear waters. People also come to Silver Springs for the paddle boarding and the kayaking, but you can have fun on the land as well with opportunities for biking, hiking and birding.

Beyond Ocala

Ocala may have enough attractions and activities to last a family for a lifetime, but there is so much more to explore beyond its borders.

Travel to the neighboring city of Belleview to enjoy some of the best off-road cycling in the region. Known as the Santos Trails, this system provides about 20 miles of twisty, challenging track. The Vortex Trail is particularly technical, but there are other options for less experienced riders. Some trails are even paved, and pedestrians are welcome too.

Belleview also is the home of the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing. Recognized as the father of drag racing, Don Garlits is the perfect sponsor for a motorsport-dedicated museum. If you are a fan of high-speed sports, you won’t want to miss this museum.

If water sports are your thing, then you’ll be drawn to Dunnellon. It’s situated where two rivers meet, making it an excellent place to indulge in some paddling. If you do go to Dunnellon to enjoy the water, be sure to stop at one of the signature bars on the waterfront.

Don’t miss the opportunity each April to celebrate Dunnellon’s Boomtown Days. Back in the late 19th century, Dunnellon was a classic Boomtown thanks to the discovery of phosphate in the area. Today, the community hosts an annual celebration to commemorate the event. Encompassing several blocks of the downtown area, the festival boasts cowboy-style entertainment, a fun kids’ zone, live music, craft vendors and plenty of food.

When you’re ready to shop ’til you drop, choose the Historic Village Shops in Dunnellon’s downtown district. These locally owned stores are located in charming old houses and are the perfect places to pick up antiques, art, clothing, gifts and more.

Another lively festival takes place in McIntosh every fall. Known as the McIntosh 1890s Festival, the event includes live music covering a wide variety of genres as well as hundreds of booths with vendors offering food, crafts, antiques and much more.

In fact, if you’re in the market for antiques, McIntosh is the ideal place to browse. It boasts some of the largest and most well-stocked antique stores in the region.

What Will You Do In Ocala?

When you decide to make any of the beautiful Marion County communities your home, you’ll gain a lifetime to explore all that the area has to offer. Get to know the Ocala National Forest, The Appleton Museum of Art, the Fort King National Historic Landmark and much more.

Take the first step today by contacting Florida’s Choice Realty. Let us be your guide as you find your dream home in Ocala, Belleview, Dunnellon or any of the other beautiful cities in Marion County.

5 Reasons People Choose to Move to Ocala

Is Ocala a Good Place to Live?

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.

We often get asked “Is Ocala is a good place to live?”. Here are five reasons why people move to Ocala and why it’s more than a place to visit.

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 were asking yourself if Ocala is a good place to live and after reading this article 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.

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