Parks, Recreation and Outdoor Attractions a Major Draw to Living in Ocala
Ocala’s beautiful greenery and abundance of outdoor activities are a major draw for visitors and residents, and one of the reasons we started looking at the region as an area to offer our homes. From national forests and Florida’s famed natural springs, to equestrian trails and golf courses, to historical tree-lined streets, there is an outdoor activity to be enjoyed by almost every resident of Ocala new homes.
Silver Springs State Park, the result of a recent combination of the historic Silver Springs Nature Theme Park and Silver River State Park, perfectly showcases the beauty of Florida’s natural springs with glass-bottomed boat rides, kayaking, and recently renovated trails. There are also picnic areas with pavilions, and extend your adventure overnight at the full-facility campground or available luxury cabins. Whether you are a fan of kayaking, bird and wildlife observation, or prefer to simply explore the sights and sounds of nature, people of all ages will enjoy the park.
Other nearby natural springs include Rainbow Springs State Park, a popular site for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing and kayaking, as well as Paradise Springs, which provides year-round cavern Scuba diving opportunities in a unique setting with prehistoric fossils and other relics.
The Ocala National Forest, which spans nearly 383,000 acres, is the southernmost forest in the continental United States and the second largest national forest in Florida. There are more than a dozen lakes in or near its border as well as campsites throughout the area. The forest also offers specific trails designated for horseback riding as well as a specific driving route designated for those simply passing through to take in some of the area’s scenic beauty.
Frequenters of the area can purchase an Ocala National Forest Recreation Area Pass for $60 per person that is good for USDA concession-managed forest service areas—Juniper Springs, Salt Springs, Alexander Springs, Silver Glen Springs, Clearwater Lake, and Wildcat Lake.
The Cross Florida Greenway, which spans 110 miles across the state, is another Ocala recreation option and draws hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and even horse-drawn wagons. Located just three miles from our new homes at Meadow Glenn, the trail also features America’s first Land Bridge where visitors can cross Interstate 75 in a connection flanked by native vegetation.
The Ross Prairie State Forest, which borders the Greenway along its southern boundary, is another nearby attraction that offers a number of recreational opportunities in addition to its many natural features. The 3,527 acres that comprise this public conservation land hold a number of unique plant and animal varieties in an area that is under careful surveillance to ensure its existence for future generations.
On a smaller scale, Ocala is full of recreational parks for everyday enjoyment.
Various recreation centers and parks offer a wide variety of activities for residents of all ages, from arts and crafts programs to basketball programs and sports courts. There are also parks with pavilions, catch and release fishing, playgrounds and more for locals to enjoy.The city’s famous “duck pond,” or Ritterhoff Park, provides a unique focal point for park goers.
Ocala even offers walking trails throughout the city and within several of its parks, so there is always something new to explore – or, just get some fresh air and exercise! The city’s aquatic centers are also especially popular when warmer weather rolls around, and golfing is a popular pastime with a multiple golf clubs, driving ranges and courses near our new homes in Ocala.
The Recreation & Parks Department of the City of Ocala has assembled a guide to the parks, walking trails, recreation centers and more, available here.
Highland Homes builds new homes throughout Central Florida, Tampa Bay, Manatee County, and coming soon to Ocala. With more than 30 floor plans to choose from, pricing from the low-$100,000’s, and just $99 down payment with qualifying financing, you are sure to find the perfect home for your needs and your budget. For more information about our stylish homes and communities, visit the Highland Homes website today!