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When you visit Ocala and stay at the Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, you’ll feel like you’re in the Old South. Here are some reasons why we love this charming Florida town. Some of the best restaurants are in Ocala. There’s always something to do here. And there’s always something good to eat. 

Some refer to Ocala as the heartland of the Sunshine State, and it’s easy to see why. It’s located in the middle of Florida. Its simple pace and farming and equestrian lifestyle make it easy to feel like you’ve stepped back in time. And the stately oak trees with Spanish moss hanging from them complete the picture. 

In no particular order, here are the top 10 restaurants in Ocala: 

  1. Mark’s Prime Steakhouse & Seafood
  2. La Cuisine French Restaurant
  3. Ivy on The Square
  4. Braised Onion
  5. Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille
  6. Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar
  7. Big Lee’s Serious About Barbeque
  8. The Mojo Grill & Catering Co. 
  9. Brooklyn’s Backyard
  10. Tony’s Sushi

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Mark’s Prime Steakhouse & Seafood

This is one of the most talked about restaurants in Ocala. Reminiscent of an old steakhouse, Mark’s Prime Steakhouse & Seafood is truly one of the best restaurants in Ocala. The restaurant will give you a unique dining experience complete with mouthwatering entrées and premium wines. Perfect for a date night, Mark’s Prime is located in The Square,  the heart of downtown Ocala.

Why Plan a Visit:

What to Order:

Visit Mark’s Prime Steakhouse & Seafood at 30 South Magnolia Avenue, Ocala, Florida, 334471.

La Cuisine French Restaurant

La Cuisine French Restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Ocala, just one block from The Square. You’ll feel like you’re in a café in Paris. Enjoy authentic French fare and La Cuisine’s old world charm. This is a treat the whole family can enjoy.

Why Plan a Visit:

What to Order:

Visit La Cuisine French Restaurant at 48 SW First Avenue, Ocala, Florida, 34471.

Ivy on The Square

This popular local favorite is a must if you have a hankering for some delicious homemade southern food. Most of the meals are made with homemade recipes, too, so you know it has to be good!

Why Plan a Visit:

What to Order:

Visit Ivy on The Square at 53 South Magnolia Avenue, Ocala, Florida, 34471.

Braised Onion

Their motto is comfort food with an attitude. The atmosphere is fun and casual, so it’s great for a small, low-key gathering or a larger family reunion. 

Why Plan a Visit:

What to Order:

Visit Braised Onion at 754 NE 25th Avenue, Ocala, Florida, 34470.

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Harry’s Seafood, Bar & Grille

Located in the historic Marion Block building constructed in 1884, this is one of the best restaurants in Ocala. Its menu is Cajun-inspired and the décor doesn’t disappoint. 

Why Plan a Visit:

What to Order:

Visit Harry’s Seafood & Grille at 24 SE First Avenue, Ocala, Florida, 34471.

Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar

Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar has an atmosphere and a vibe that is celebrated throughout Ocala’s downtown Square. The custom-built smoker in the kitchen, variety of whiskey available and the rustic, brick and wood décor will put you at ease. This is a great option for a laidback meal or a larger get-together. 

Why Plan a Visit:

What to Order:

Visit Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar at 10 South Magnolia Avenue, Ocala, Florida, 34471.

Big Lee’s Serious About Barbeque

Owner of Big Lee’s Serious About Barbecue, Rashad Jones, is a little bit of a local celebrity. He won a show on the Food Network, called “Guy’s Big Project,” hosted by Guy Fieri. Jones also has his own show on the popular culinary channel as well. Be sure to check out “Eat, Sleep, Barbeque.”

Why Plan a Visit:

What to Order:

Visit Big Lee’s Serious About Barbeque at 3925 SE 45th Court, Ocala, Florida, 34480.

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Mojo Grill & Catering Co.

The minute you walk into this eclectic establishment, you know you’re going to have a good time. It’s bright, colorful and there’s rock ’n’ roll memorabilia everywhere. Who doesn’t love that?

Why Plan a Visit:

What to Order:

Visit Mojo Grill & Catering Co. at 2015 SW 17th Street, Ocala, Florida, 34471 or 4620 East Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala, Florida, 34470.

Brooklyn’s Backyard

This casual joint serves up American-style cuisine. This is where you go if you’re craving a mouthwatering burger and fries.

Why Plan a Visit:

What to Order:

Visit Brooklyn’s Backyard at 2019 East Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala, Florida, 34470.

Tony’s Sushi

Not only is Tony’s Sushi one of the best restaurants in Ocala, it is one of the most popular sushi restaurants in Central Florida. Meals are made with fresh ingredients and entrées also enjoy attention to detail that’s evident in the taste.

Why Plan a Visit:

What to Order:

Visit Tony’s Sushi at 3405 SW College Road, Ocala, Florida, 34474.

Stay at Luxurious Rentals at Golden Ocala While you Enjoy the Best Restaurants in Ocala

You can try all of these mouthwatering restaurants or just choose a handful of them. It’s up to you! There’s something here for everyone and, who knows? You may even discover your new favorite. 

When you stay at any of our luxury vacation rental homes at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, you’ll also have access to three onsite restaurants, after you pay an amenity fee. 

Golden Ocala restaurants include:

Ocala is a hidden gem. Located in Central Florida close to major cities like Orlando and Gainesville, the City of Ocala can sometimes be overshadowed by them. However, from its charming and historic downtown to the abundant nature activities around the city, there are lots of things to do in Ocala, Florida. You’ll have no trouble making the most of your Ocala vacation with these fun-filled suggestions. Let us know how you decide to spend your vacation and which parts of Ocala you love the most!

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Things to Do in Downtown Ocala

Ocala is located in Marion County and in the early 1840s, it was the very first town in the county. It has grown leaps and bounds since, but you can still see historic buildings and remnants of the past, especially in the city’s architecture. One of Florida’s original downtown centers, there are a handful of delicious restaurants centered around downtown Ocala’s historic Square. These include Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille, Mark’s Prime Steakhouse and Pi on Broadway.

There are also a variety of events and things to do in downtown Ocala each year. On the fourth weekend in October, the Ocala Art Festival comes to town. It’s full of fantastic art, food trucks, hands-on activities, artwork from Marion County Students, and beer and wine are also available. The event is two days long, which means double the fun; and artists come from all over the country to participate.

There is also the annual Harvest Fest Music and Food Truck Festival. It’s located at Tuscawilla Park, which is not far from downtown Ocala. Events in year’s past have featured live music and prominent artists. There will also be unique and mouthwatering fare from area food trucks.

The Brick City Beer and Wine Festival is also a big deal. It’s a fun-filled day of trying beer and wine from local breweries and wineries. Set among towering oak trees, there will be live music, too. The festival is also one of Ocala’s most popular events each year.

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Silver Springs State Park

Ocala’s Silver Springs State Park is one of Florida’s most treasured natural attractions. In fact, many consider it Florida’s first tourist attraction. Dating back to the late 1800s, it’s not only one of the largest artesian springs that’s ever been discovered, but popular movies “Tarzan” and “Creature from the Black Lagoon” were also filmed there. Silver Springs State Park in Ocala is also known for its crystal clear water. The 30-minute glass bottom boat tour is definitely one of the things to do in Ocala, Florida you don’t want to miss. The glass-bottomed boat ride runs every 30-45 minutes, every day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Silver Springs State Park features one of the last uninhabited spring-fed rivers in the Sunshine State and it is one of the largest springs in Florida. You can find the Spring Side of the park off of State Road 40.

You never know what you might see on the glass bottom boat tour. Some people have reported seeing props from old movies and a centuries-old North American dugout canoe. In addition to the boat tours, Silver Springs State Park also offers canoes, paddleboards, and kayaks for rent. If staying on land is more your style, there are hiking trails, too. Walk amongst towering trees and view Florida as it used to be. There’s a rumor that you might even see a monkey or two.

The park also features various exhibits that will give you a glimpse into Florida’s history and the natural wildlife in the area. If you get hungry, you can grab a bite at Spring Side Café or Paradise Treats. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash. Also, swimming in the springs is prohibited.

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Horse Riding in Ocala

Ocala is also known as one of the Horse Capitals of the World and many people visit here each year to attend tournaments or purchase thoroughbreds for races. If you opt to stay in the Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, it is located near the World Equestrian Center, which is expected to open in 2020.

If you decide you love the luxury community so much, Golden Ocala residents have the opportunity to get a luxurious barn rental to care for their horse. Another option is to select to have full board for staff care. Each barn also has a paddock for turnout.

Ocala is also a great place to visit and enjoy for the whole summer, and while you’re here you can take advantage of the equestrian atmosphere and learn how to ride a horse, or get more practice at it if you have some experience.

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Where Can I Get Horse Riding Lessons in Ocala?

Horseback riding is one of the top things to do in Ocala, Florida, and there are a variety of places you can get lessons from:

Whether you’re an experienced horseback rider, or you’re just starting out, Ocala is an ideal place to experience an equestrian escape (and not just because it’s the Horse Capital of the World). Gallop and run through rolling hills and open fields, or journey through the city’s trails lined with oak trees and other types of beautiful Florida foliage. Experience Old Florida the way it’s meant to be experienced.

Horseback Riding Ocala, FL

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Ocala Museums

Ocala is also a cultural hub and if you’re a fan of museums, there are a variety of things to do in Ocala, Florida. Be sure to checkout the Appleton Museum of Art, Silver River Museum and the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing.

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Things to Do in Ocala, Florida near your Ocala Vacation Rental

Now that you have the ultimate guide for things to do in Ocala, Florida, you’re ready for your next visit. There are more events in the summer and fall months, but the good thing about Central Florida is that the weather is perfect all year round. Whether you’re visiting Ocala and it’s majestic rolling green hills to ride horses (or learn how to), visit downtown Ocala, or Silver Springs State Park and take in the area’s natural beauty, Royal Shell has some of the best vacation rental accommodations around. Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club sets the standard for luxury in Ocala and offers guests a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation. Give us a call today to secure your stay at Golden Ocala, or check out our website to learn more.

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