Natural Beauty in Ocala, Florida

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By  Heather Turk

There’s no better time to discover the beauty of Ocala than late spring/early summer. From zip line tours to glass bottom boat excursions, this Northern Florida city boasts a wealth of outdoor activities, all of which showcase the area’s natural charm, for visitors to enjoy.

THE CANYONS ZIP LINE & CANOPY TOURS

Experience Ocala’s ultimate rush as you fly over enormous cliffs, spring-fed lakes and massive canyons while zip lining on some of the state’s highest, longest and fastest zip lines. Two different zip line tours are available, including one that takes participants through nine zip lines, two rope bridges and a rappel. For a bird’s-eye view of the area, try the Super Zip where guests lay face down and headfirst into a hang-glider style harness as they travel 1,600 feet over treetops, reaching speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. zipthecanyons.com

FARM TOURS OF OCALA

No trip to the “Horse Capital of the World” would be complete without seeing some of Marion County’s working horse farms. Horse lovers can go behind the gates on this three-hour morning tour, meeting past and present thoroughbred champions, Olympic sport horses and even newborn foals as they visit three different locations. Tours are capped at 10 people so guests can interact with their guides as well as the professionals who train and care for the horses. farmtoursofocala.com

RAINBOW RIVER CANOE AND KAYAK

Reconnect with nature while enjoying an unforgettable canoe or kayak ride out on one of Florida’s finest rivers. Offering two boat trips to choose from, guests can float down the crystal clear, pristine waters of the aquarium-like Rainbow River or take a nine-mile scenic tour of Florida’s wild side on the Withlacoochee River—running through the third largest state forest in Florida, Withlacoochee State Forest. Keep your eyes peeled during your excursion. Turtle and river otter sightings aren’t uncommon! Paddleboard rentals are available for Rainbow River trips, too. rainbowrivercanoeandkayak.com

 

Photo courtesy of Silver Springs State Park

Photo courtesy of Silver Springs State Park

SILVER SPRINGS STATE PARK

This jungle-esque 4,666.5-acre park might seem familiar to some guests. Several movies and TV shows were filmed here, including Creature from the Black Lagoon and the TV series “Sea Hunt.” Home to one of Marion County’s most popular attractions, visitors can step aboard a glass bottom boat for a narrated 30- or 90-minute tour that showcases the underwater beauty and history of the springs. Kayak and canoe excursions are available as well. silversprings.com

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