Ride Like Royalty at Ocala Carriage and Tours

Can't make it to London for that next royal shindig? Want to ride like a princess through the forest? Good news! You can at least ride into the wind in Central Florida, where Horse Country Carriage Company and Tours takes you through pastures full of Thoroughbreds, Paso Finos, Percheron Draft and…

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Alexander Springs: Ocala National Forest

Christa Thompson The Fairytale Traveler Alexander Springs has always been tops on my list of things to do in the Ocala National Forest. It's one among many of Florida's crystalline springs, where locals and visitors gather to enjoy its many offerings of eco-adventure…

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Five Great Natural Escapes Near Ocala

There's not a shortage of places to explore near Ocala. Multi-day hikes on the Florida National Scenic Trail, fantastic off-road biking and scenic paddle trips are all close by. Ocala is horse country, so it's a given there are terrific equestrian trails and camping here, too. These five places…

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Florida Scenic Highway: Black Bear Byway in Ocala National Forest

By Dalia Colon Where: Centered in Ocala National Forest, between Ormond Beach to the east and Silver Springs to the west. Length: 123 miles. How to get around: Car, off-road vehicle or mountain bike. Best time to visit: Winter. The mild weather is ideal for hiking, kayaking and camping. Fun fact:…

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Road Trip: Ocala National Forest

When you see the tsunami of subdivisions and strip malls rolling over Florida it’s hard to believe that there are still places where nature has the upper hand. In fact, one of the reasons I was so anxious to become the Off the Beaten Path Insider is to steer you toward these places. Whenever I…

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Gypsy Vanners in Florida, the Golden Retrievers of Horses

By Michelle Bearden It’s a sight to delight every equine lover: A sturdy black-and-white spotted mare with a flowing Beyoncé-like mane and feathered legs cantering gracefully across a verdant field. “Prettiest horse ever,” said Dennis Thompson, owner of Gypsy Gold Horse Farm in Ocala, now open…

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Tour Awe-Inspiring Ocala Horse Farms in Florida

By Lauren Tjaden Discover the secret world behind the gates of the most prestigious Ocala horse farms. The three young horses formed a semi-circle around me, leaning against the fence separating us. A bay colt pressed his whiskers into my ear, tickling me until I giggled…

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Conquering Florida: Ricky Carmichael Soars Over Ocala Canyons

By Terry Tomalin I stood on the ferry dock in Key West and watched as the captain strapped my rental kayak to the roof of the "fast cat." It is a two-hour boat ride to my final destination, Dry Tortugas National Park, some 70 miles to the west. My plan was to load my tent, sleeping bag and camp…

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Guide to Horseback Riding in Ocala

By Judy Wells Adults can indulge their equestrian fantasies and kids will find plenty of opportunities to horse around – even fingerpainting, with a pony as the canvas – with all of the horseback riding Ocala, FL offers. Rosalita's ears twitch forward; she knows what's coming, the highlight of the…

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