First time visitors to Florida might be excused if they were surprised that the state had rolling hills and lush, green pastures.
But less than one hour south of Gainesville – home to the University of Florida – lies Ocala.
Equestrians have long known of this beautiful area where thoroughbreds are reared and horse farms abound.
But recent years have also brought an influx of retirees drawn to the area’s quiet charm and plentiful Over-55 retirement communities.
Located off I-75, about an hour from the Gulf Coast beaches and the theme parks of Orlando, Ocala is also known as a thriving arts community. Linksters enjoy the proximity to more than a dozen golf courses. The area’s lakes are popular for fishing and boating and the area’s clear springs provide their own attractions.
Winter visitors can choose to rent or buy in one of the Over-55 communities; more than a dozen RV parks and campgrounds, cabins on area lakes along with several bed and breakfasts and two dozen traditional motels and hotels.