Here in Canada, we’re always looking for an excuse to get outside – but even as spring advances, cool temps and wet weather make it easier said than done. But then, there’s Florida: one of our favourite travel destinations, and one that’s packed with plentiful outdoor experiences all year round.

But did you know there's another side to Florida's sugar-fine beaches? For a visit like no other, plan your next adventure to the Sunshine State and head straight to Ocala and its surrounding Marion County. In this treasured travel destination, you’ll spend 90% of your time celebrating the Great Outdoors, whether you’re outside enjoying it or in a museum, learning more about it.

Here are just a few of the wonderful natural experiences Ocala/Marion County has to offer:


Silver Springs State Park

Silver Springs State ParkOcala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau

Regarded as one of Florida’s greatest natural treasures for two centuries now, Silver Springs is home to one of the largest artesian springs ever discovered. It is a natural phenomenon where the groundwater rises to the surface under pressure.

While there, see the best of the springs from your glass bottom boat, kayak or canoe. For a real treat, grab a table at Springside Cafe, where you can nosh on a made-to-order sandwich, salad or wrap while taking in Mother Nature’s beautiful views. Both romantic and interesting, Silver Springs State Park can be anything you want it to be – it’s there so you can enjoy it. Silver Springs State Park is open 365 days a year, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


The Canyons Zip Lines & Canopy Tours

The Canyons Zip Lines & Canopy ToursOcala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau

Florida isn’t often thought of as a zip lining destination, but here in Ocala, it definitely is.

At this fun-filled area locale, hop on a zip line and fly high above towering cliffs, sparkling lakes, oak trees and impressive canyons. If you want to couple your adventure with a little history, opt for a guided tour through the nine zip lines and two rope bridges. 

horseOcala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau

Prefer your adventures to be less airborne? Take a trail ride through The Canyon's scenic woods, lakes and gigantic cliffs. After all, Ocala is the horse capital of the world

For real adventurers, hop on the Super Zip! As its name implies, fly like a superhero -- face down, with your arms out and legs straight back behind you -- on the highest, fastest and longest zip line in all of Florida.


Juniper Springs

Juniper SpringsOcala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau

Sitting in Ocala National Forest, Juniper Springs is one of the oldest, and most unique, outdoor environments in the Sunshine State.

Wander through its grounds, and you’ll see Mother Nature at her finest; think rock crevices bursting with bubbling springs, countless palm trees and towering oaks, all creating a green canopy up above.

Spend a day in the woods as you hike the Florida Trail, or take advantage of the area’s most popular activity, canoeing. Perfect all year around, you can paddle your way down the seven-mile Juniper Run, through the Juniper Prairie Wilderness, and find otters splashing around.

Of course, you can’t leave without stopping by the historic millhouse. Built by the by the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) – who have become known for building work camps and historic public facilities across the nation – the historic millhouse sits at the foot of the main pool of Juniper Springs, has a stone wall waterwheel, and is a favored destination for history buffs and photographers alike.


KP Hole Park

KP Hole ParkOcala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau

First established in the 1920s as a boys-only retreat, today, KP Hole Park is the perfect place for family and friends to enjoy a beautiful day on the Rainbow River. As magical as the name itself, Rainbow River is where travelers will find sparkling, crystal-clear waters and a wealth of wildlife, like turtles, otters, birds, fish and more.

Rainbow River kayakersOcala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau

For a relaxing day in paradise, grab a tube and take a leisurely ride down the river – with four hours of tubing ahead of you, there’s no telling what you’ll see.


Historic Dunnellon Train Depot

Once nothing more than a railroad town in the late 1800s, today, Dunnellon celebrates its history. Built by the Atlantic Coast Line, the Historic Dunnellon Train Depot has been on South Williams Street since 1908, confirming the small town’s reputation as being a major hub of transportation. Why do we visit it today? Because it’s charming and adorable, of course. Rent it out as a venue for your own private party or join the Greater Dunnellon Historical Society every Tuesday, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., to learn all about Dunnellon’s history, its boom and the area’s phosphate mining days from “Boom Town Sam” himself.


Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing

Don Garlits Museum of Drag RacingOcala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau

This Ocala attraction chronicles the high-octane history of drag racing. Around since 1976, the museum is home to a whopping 300 of the industry’s most popular racing cars. The International Hall of Fame is a haven for both famous cars and the legends who raced them.

Don Garlits Museum of Drag RacingOcala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau

During your tour with “Big Daddy” Don Garlits (the “father of drag racing” himself), lookout for Garlits’ own “Swamp Rat” cars, Dean Moon’s Mooneyes gas dragster and Moonbeam sport scar, and of course, the racers – like Art Arfons, Sydney Allard, Zora Arkus-Duntov and Don Schumacher, to name a few.


Ready to plan your escape to sunny Ocala Marion County?

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