Make Ocala/Marion County Your Doggie Destination
With beautiful weather year-round and an endless outdoor playground, Ocala/Marion County offers open arms to your canine friends! From beautiful trails and rivers to a vast amount of dining with outside seating and parks, here is some inspiration for things to do in Ocala/Marion with your dog:
All you need is a leash for your furry friend to explore Downtown Ocala. The many restaurants, Downtown Historic Square, Citizens Circle, and more are all doggie friendly. Saturdays, visit the Downtown Ocala Farmers Market with your pup and check out some of the puppy product vendors as well as fresh local produce. Most of the restaurants in the downtown offer outside seating and have bowls they will fill up for the pup, and sometimes treats!
Pay attention to the events happening when you visit, because many are dog-friendly including the Horse Capital Parade, the Ocala Arts Festival, the Cattle Drive and Cowboy Round-Up and the First Friday Art Walks.
Just north of Downtown Ocala is Tuscawilla Park, where you can walk your dog around the beautiful lake or explore the large architectural sculptures in the Tuscawilla Art Park.
By the River
Grab your pup to explore the many shaded trails at Rainbow Springs State Park and see the three waterfalls. Rainbow River Kayak and Get Up and Go Kayaking will allow you to bring your dog along with you on your kayak down the river! (The kayak tours launch at KP Hole, where the dogs must stay on a leash and remain in the launch area). After a fun day of hiking or kayaking, sit on the deck at Swampy's Bar & Grille or the Blue Gator both right on the Rainbow or Withlacoochee River with your pup and watch as kayakers, boaters, tubers and divers go by while having a delicious meal.
Some folks in the Horse Capital of the World™ love dogs just as much as their horses. When spectators visit the equestrian events such as Live Oak International, HITS and the Ocala Jockey Club International 3-Day Event, expect to see dogs of all breeds! Walking the beautiful grounds of these massive farms and seeing the magnificent horses might even be more fun for your pup.
Places just for the Pups
Ocala Dog Ranch is located right next to the beautiful Live Oak International horse farm and has a dock jumping pool to rent or take a class with your dog as well as fun courses on the property for the dog to run and chase lures. Different events and tournaments also happen regularly at the dog ranch.
Another fun place to venture with your dog is the 4.5 acres of Letty Towles Dog Park, located at Jervey Gantt Park in Ocala. Free to use, owners can take their dogs to run, play and socialize with other furry visitors in the safety of fenced open fields. Darting through tunnels and culverts and splashing around in the splash pad, the pups are sure to be worn out.
Golden Retriever National Specialty
Ocala will be hosting the 2021 Golden Retriever Club of America’s National Specialty in October 2021 at the new World Equestrian Center. The National will be a 13-day event including hunt and field trials, best of breed competition, social events, clinics and more. For more information, visit https://2021.GRCANational.com. There are expected to be thousands of Golden Retrievers, so all dog lovers welcome!
More Outside Adventures
Between the state-wide and locally protected and maintained lands in the area, Ocala/Marion County offers endless trails and outdoor adventure for visitors and their furry friends. Here are some additional places to venture with your dog:
Florida State Parks: Silver Springs State Park, Rainbow Springs State Park and Santos Trailhead & Campground.
Marion County Parks: Baseline Road Trailhead, Brick City Adventure Park, Marshall Swamp Trailhead and more.
Fort King National Historic Landmark
Given that Ocala/Marion County is the Horse Capital of the World™, the entire community is welcoming to furry friends, with many hotels that are pet-friendly. Check out our all the lodging and camping options in the destination at OcalaMarion.com/where-to-stay.