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Humans have occupied Ocala since 6500 B.C. The name “Ocala” comes from a large Timucua village that existed here in the 1500s; Hernando de Soto mentioned the settlement in the record of his 1539 expedition in the area. The Timucua abandoned the settlement sometime after de Soto’s visit. European settlers began moving into the area after the establishment of Fort King in 1827. The development of Ocala as an agricultural center producing citrus, corn, cotton, and livestock contributed to the area’s growth. Ocala hosted the Farmers’ Alliance convention in 1890, at which the coalition issued their Ocala Demands, calling for sweeping nationwide economic reforms.
During the 20th century, Ocala developed as a significant force in American horse-breeding. Carl G. Rose founded the first horse farm in Florida in 1943, and from that first farm grew a large industry: Today, Ocala is sometimes called “the Horse Capital of the World.” The horse industry sustains 44,000 jobs in the Ocala area and generates $2.2 billion in revenue each year. And the Ocala metropolitan area has seen one of the highest growth rates in the United States for a city its size.
Facts and Figures
Ocala is the county seat of Marion County. The city is 35 miles southeast of Gainesville and located in north-central Florida, with a population of about 59,110. It is the 49th most populous city in Florida. Ocala International Airport serves the city, which is also accessible via Interstate 75.
Ocala features two-season living. The dry season runs from October through May; almost every day is sunny, and there is little precipitation. The winter months see daily lows of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but the afternoons usually warm up to around 70 degrees. The wet season runs from June to September and typically has daily afternoon thunderstorms. The daily temperatures range from the 70s to the 90s.
Attractions in Ocala
No matter your interests, Ocala has something to offer you. Ocala National Forest is the second-largest national forest in Florida and offers camping, hiking, and scenic drives. The lakes and springs offer year-round boating, swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Silver Springs State Park has been entertaining visitors since the 19th century. The glass-bottom boat tours of the river are a highlight here. The park also offers kayaking and canoeing. Love horses? There are plenty of horse farms in the area to explore. Or you could learn about local history at the Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology. There’s no shortage of things to do in Ocala!
Where to Eat
Ocala’s boisterous restaurant scene means everyone from the most adventurous eater to the timidest will be able to find dining that suits their taste buds and their budgets. Amrit Palace has served Indian and Pakistani cuisine in Ocala since 1972. Customers rave about the vindaloo and the tandoori shrimp. Enjoy Cuban food with an international flair? Try The Mojo Grill and Catering Co., and make sure to order the empanadas! And those seeking breakfast or comfort food should stop by the Ocala Diner, which also offers deli and vegan selections.
Where to Stay
Historic inns, horse farms, and global hotel chains are just some of the lodging options available in the Ocala area. Nestled in northwest Ocala is Hope Hall Farm, where you can eat breakfast while watching the horses graze in the adjoining pasture; modern amenities like Wi-Fi are available, too. The Shamrock Historic Inn is a few blocks from historic downtown Ocala and in easy walking distance of art galleries, restaurants, and the Marion Theatre. And the Hilton Ocala offers easy access to the area’s horse farms, golf courses, and the University of Florida. Amenities here include a pool, yoga, and several dining options.
Dental Services in Ocala
Ocala has a lot going for it, and another great thing about this city is that it’s an easy place to find dental care. When you need an affordable dentist in Ocala, FL, you need only look as far as Advanced Dental Care. Ocala patients know that they can count on us for high-quality dentistry performed by experienced professionals. Never do they need to ask, “Where can I find a dentist near me in Ocala, FL?” The answer is clear: Advanced Dental, Ocala’s top choice for family dentistry.
At our Ocala dentist office, we provide a wide variety of services, from cosmetic dentistry to root canals and routine checkups to dentures. And if you have a dental emergency, you can get a same-day appointment to get your problem taken care of right away. We’re also committed to making your treatment affordable, which is why at Advanced Dental, Ocala patients can use a variety of insurance plans to cover their costs, including Medicare Advantage plans. We can also provide a flexible payment option to help you get the care you need.
At Advanced Dental Care in Ocala, we’re accepting new patients, and we’d be glad to serve you. Book an appointment today and you’ll see why so many people trust Advanced Dental Care in Ocala. Ocala, FL’s smiles are in good hands with us!