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Looking for an alternative from the typical spring break spots? Whether you’re looking for something for the entire family, thrill-seeking adventure or rest and relaxation, Ocala/Marion County offers something for just about everyone.
Just 40 minutes outside of historic Downtown Ocala, the Ocala National Forest holds endless possibilities for hikers, nature lovers and adventure seekers to enjoy. From boardwalks to biking and hiking trails ranging from beginner to advanced, to more than 100 miles of designated equestrian paths, the second largest national forest in Florida offers exciting additions any itinerary. For those wanting to spend a night under the canopy of ancient oaks and bright starlight, camping sites are located within the forest, allowing you to close out your day of exploring in the most relaxing way.
Another charming spring break location is Silver Springs State Park, located in eastern Ocala. As one of the largest artesian springs in the world, visitors will love the historical and cultural artifacts, wildlife and vegetation. Silver Springs is home of the famous glass-bottom boats: where people get the opportunity to see thousands of fish, turtles and alligators. Adventurers can canoe or kayak the 1.1-mile trip around Ross Allen Island and explore unique habitats.
Another perfect stop during your vacation is KP Hole, a public park that rests on the banks of the Rainbow River. The six-mile long river is known for its clear glass-like water, with underwater visibility of over 150 feet. Its clarity makes it perfect for finding a wide array of underwater species. Aside from its attractive scenery, KP Hole park is famously known for tubing, kayaking, canoeing and diving. Tubing down the river is a four-hour trip, while kayaking or canoeing usually takes half the time, making it a memorable way to spend the day with a group.
Rainbow River itself is formed by Florida’s fourth largest spring, Rainbow Springs, which is surrounded by lush state park grounds perfect for campers and nature enthusiasts. Take a walk through the gardens and be sure to visit the iconic waterfall, lined with pink, purple and white azalea flowers during this time of the year. Float along the springs’ crystal clear water, or kayak or canoe through the mossy cypress trees. If you have time, go tubing on a two-hour trip around the park—the perfect way to spend part of your tropical spring break.
If you’re fueled by adrenaline-pumping off-road adventures, the Santos Mountain Bike Trails fits the bill. They are one of only six bike trails in the U.S. offering more than 60 miles of off-road area covering the county’s beautiful landscape. For more experienced mountain bikers, the Vortex Bike Trails have a vertical drop of about 20 feet, options for higher jumps and more challenging trails. The 49 Ave. Trails are another must-see in the region, lined with remnants of historic ship canal “diggings” that exist today as miniature valleys.
To finish off your trip, soar through the county’s limestone canyons on the longest, highest and fastest zip lines in Florida, including the longest zip line over water in the U.S., at the Canyons Zip Line and Canopy Tours. You can also explore the one-of-a-kind grounds on horseback, weaving through nature trails to reach breathtaking sights.
This is just a glimpse of what Ocala/Marion County has to offer this spring. Explore all of the unforgettable activities and attractions available to you and ensure you don’t miss a thing by planning out your spring break adventure using the county’s itinerary builder.