Ocala Florida is known as “The Horse Capital of the World”. Annual revenue for the city in Marion County is continuously on the rise, ranking Ocala with the top 5 locations in the world that specialize in the sale of thoroughbred horses and horse farms in Florida. Needles was the first thoroughbred raised in Ocala to win The Kentucky Derby in 1958. The win sparked recognition in the industry and it became apparent Ocala had gained knowledge of a successful formula. A healthy pasture is best cultivated and endured for the strongest thoroughbreds when set against, limestone, an abundant resource in Florida. Marrying the two is the exact method used in Kentucky’s Blue Grass region where the market for thoroughbred horses began. When another Ocala horse came along and won the Triple Crown in 1978, the industry began recognizing the small town as a serious player boosting the city’s economic worth.
Whether you live the admired life of an equestrienne, enjoy outdoor adventures that lead to paths with historical significance, or simply wish to enjoy Florida’s beautiful weather, Ocala is a growing area that offers all the amenities like dining, shopping, culture, and art that make your community feel like a home.
Ocala was the location of many early Native American settlers. The name Ocala is derived from the word Ocali, thought to mean “big hammock” in the native tongue of the Timucuan Tribe. Ocala is surrounded by many channels of water like the 110 mile long Ocklawaha River descending from northern Florida where it empties out into the St. Johns River located just north of Ocala in Palatka Florida.
Here are some of the best places to find Ocala property:
- Silver Springs: Highway 40 is the main road through Silver Springs, running east and west and is located just above Ocala to the northeast. Known for the largest artesian spring formations in the world pumping out 550 million gallons daily. Homes in Silver Springs have a wide price range beginning in the mid 30k’s to 500k’s, depending on the Ocala country club.
- Belleview: Located south of Ocala, and just northwest from Lake Weir. Belleview is known as “The City with Small Town Charm” Homes in Belleview range from as low as 25k to 895k.
- Summerfield: Located close to the intersection of US 301 and County Road 475A just below Belleview. Summerfield tends to be a bit more lavish with Ocala golf courses. Homes available in the 50k price range within communities like Silver Springs and Belleview offer 3 to 4 bedrooms homes and 2 bathrooms, in Summerfield homes in that price range are 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom homes. Farm homes in Summerfield can be as high as 18 million dollars.
- Dunnellon: located southwest of Ocala. Dunnellon is about 76 miles north of Tampa. Homes range just above 1 million and a half and as low as 34k.
- Lake Weir: Homes surround Lake Weir, a fresh water system and offer 3 and 4 bedroom single family homes in the 600k range as well as 2 and 3 bedroom homes in the 50k range depending on location.
Most neighborhoods throughout Ocala offer a wide range of affordability. Homes come in many styles from Spanish style estates to functioning horse farms in Florida that pay close attention to all details of the land.
ARTS & CULTURE
Programs like Art in City Spaces does a great job of taking art out the gallery and making it available to anyone that walks down the street or to those who wish to craft their potential. Whether it’s The First Friday Art Walk, It Starts in Parks Student Photography Contest, or Ocala’s Outdoor Sculpture Competition, the city of Ocala is making strides in providing educational, affordable and fun activities available right in the downtown area for all to participate.
Dr. Glenn and May Stewart first developed the Marion Chamber Music Society in 1982. Twenty- Seven years later, their deep love of classical music and desire to create a society that brought free music to the people of Ocala has maintained a debt free theatre that has not only managed to stay open but has paid the performers, all through community donations.
Ocala property was destroyed in a fire in 1888 that lead to the nickname “Brick City”. After losing the whole city, buildings were constructed from brick instead of wood to prevent a future disaster. Today Brick City Center for the Arts is a fine arts museum that celebrates that very history in Ocala. Horse Fever is an annual event that is hosted by the art center and funded by Florida’s Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA) where local artists design life sized horses with historical strokes that represent Ocala’s ups and downs. To date over 1.75 millions has been raised for the Marion Cultural Alliance (MCA) and many other local charities.
Ocala has two seasons: wet and dry. The wet period is June-September. Thunderstorms take place daily and can be very severe due to the fact that Ocala has a cloud-to-ground ratio per square mile higher than any location in the world. The dry period takes place October-May, having very little rain and nonstop sunshine on most days. By January, early mornings are in the 30’s, warming up into the 70s by noon. Since Ocala is pretty much in the middle of the state, it doesn’t receive much temperature relief from either the Atlantic or the Gulf, leading to some of the highest temperatures seen on record during the summer and the lowest in the winter.
LIFELONG LEARNING CENTERS
Silver River Park Museum is affiliated with the Ocala public school system and offers educational tours about Native Floridian’s ways of life, archaeology, and ancient trails.
Central Florida Community College (CFCC) is home of the 2013 National Junior College Athletic Association National Champions in Men’s Basketball, offers wonderful programs in a wide range of academia. Explore programs gears students toward career-oriented programs. University Center at CFCC is located at the Ocala campus and offers programs affiliated with other colleges in the area like University of Florida, Florida State University, Cappella University, University of Central Florida, Saint Leo and Webster University. Appleton Museum of the Arts is a fine arts gallery that works hand in hand with the College of Central Florida and has 16,000 permanent pieces at the College.
University of Florida is 40 miles away from the Ocala country clubs. CTAE- Community Technical & Adult Education is located in Ocala and has programs that allow for advancement in many fields.
MEDICAL & HEALTHCARE
Ocala Health includes, Ocala Regional Medical Center, a 200 bed facility in the central Ocala, as well as, West Marion Community Hospital, housing 70 beds in West Ocala. These healthcare establishments are the only approved cancer center and inpatient joint care in Marion County. Also specializing in bariatric, neurological, cardiac, vascular, emergency room and rehabilitation care. Trinity Health Care Medical Center is located on SE King Street in Downtown Ocala. They specialize in preventive medicine, weight loss solutions, family and general medicine, as well as, Ophthalmology and Optometry.
Kayaking, canoeing, hiking, biking, camping, snorkeling and splashing in the clear spring waters are most of the ways residents in Ocala spend days meant for relaxing. Beautiful Silver Springs State Park was one of the earliest tourist attractions dating back before the Civil War. Glass bottom boat tours were the draw to bare witness to indigenous wildlife species and botanicals of Florida. Today these tours still go on, including Wild Waters, a wave pool and water slide park.
Accommodating family style ranches like Happy Acres Farm in Dunellon or BG Equestrian Resort off County Line Road 245 make all your horse riding adventures, grooming, training, and storage easily accessible. No matter what part of Marion County you live, there are beautifully kept ranches for you an your horse to ride near Ocala golf courses.
Perhaps you are a bit more daring and would like to try your luck in a trail through national forests like Ocala, Apalochicola, or Osceola. Just remember, beware of bears. Yes, we have bears in Florida.
SHOPPING & DINING
Ocala offers traditional suburban style shopping centers and mall chains like Simon. Market Street in Heath Brook is a higher end outdoor strip mall that offers popular shops like Ulta, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Dilliards. Downtown Ocala features some lovely one- of- a- kind shops among vernacular buildings for which Ocala is known.
Downtown also has some veritable choices to dine; Pi on Broadway, Feta Mediterranean Cuisine, Hardwood Smokehouse, Stella’s Modern Pantry, just to name a few. According to Yelp, all these choices are 4 stars and higher including some highly recommended Sushi, Indian, an Italian dining establishments near the horse farms in Florida.
Totaling almost 40 square miles and having a population of less than 60,000 makes Ocala a wonderful area for Ocala property with plenty of land. There is a wide range of home prices in Ocala, which makes for great home affordability for all budgets. Ocala is located in Marion County. The estimated tax millage rate for Marion County is $.0124 per $1000 of value. The City of Ocala tax rate is $.0625 per $1000. Visit our library to learn how to calculate taxes in Florida.
Today, there are thoroughbred horse racing and breeding farms in Ocala like Bridlewood, Menkyl, or Live Oak Stud Farm that have a net worth in the billions. Aside from being a town made for equestriennes, breeders and racers, the vignette of Spanish moss draped off live oak lends a gorgeous view for outdoor enthusiasts, as well as, unlocks a preserved and rich historical content. When you take that into account, plus the array of amenities that helps us stay in touch with more metropolitan areas, this is a great destination to find Ocala golf courses on the edge of a city.
Ask for our complimentary Ocala Relocation Information to help you learn more about the area.