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Whether it’s kids leagues or adult sports tournaments, finding an ideal location for a sporting event makes the experience all the more enjoyable and memorable.
It’s important for a location to be easy to access, with plenty of amenities and good weather so the games can go off as planned. Ocala, located in central Florida’s Marion County, is an ideal destination for youth and adult teams looking for friendly, healthy competition. Here are five reasons to choose Ocala/Marion County for your next sporting event.
With dozens of hotels in Ocala, teams are able to block rooms for everyone so players can socialize around the pool or common areas during off time. From large conference centers to small mom-and-pop motels, lodging is available for all price ranges and tastes, so players can get a good night’s sleep before the big game at one of Marion County Parks and Recreation’s many facilities. And there are plenty of amenities for competitive play: The Bellevue Sportsplex, Wrigley Fields, John Van Fleet Sports Complex, McCall Ball Field, and the Rotary Sportsplex are just some of the venues available to fit any need. Most facilities also have concession capabilities, plenty of seating, and lights.
With an average high of 80 degrees in the hottest summer months and 57 degrees in the cool winter, Ocala/Marion County offers temperate conditions perfect for competitive play. While a traditionally rainy season exists during the summer, showers are normally quick to pass, which allows for continued tournaments at all times of the year.
One of the most popular reasons tournament planners pick Marion County for regional and state competitions is its central location away from the traffic and crowds found in more metropolitan areas. Gainesville Regional Airport is just 35 minutes north of Ocala, and Orlando International and Tampa International airports offer nearby flights as well. Excellent roads and a reduced number of tourists make Ocala an easy alternative to bigger cities.
Both kids and adults who play sports get hungry, and there are many options to eat at in Marion County. From family-friendly pizza and barbecue joints to celebration-worthy bistros and sweets shops, there are a wide variety of restaurants throughout the region.
Planning to stay a day after the tournament, or arrive early? Marion County features great eco-tourism opportunities, such as tours of horse farms, outdoor adventures, and top-quality museums. The Ocala National Forest and nearby state parks offer hundreds of springs, trails, and campgrounds for swimming, picnicking, and adventures, while families can also enjoy learning more about the “Horse Capital of the World.” There are plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained and busy in between games.