Blanketed by velvety paddocks where sleek-limbed horses neigh in the misty morning air, the outskirts of Greater Ocala look like the US Dept of Agriculture–certified 'Horse Capital of the World' should look. There are about 1200 horse farms in Marion County, with more than 45 breeds represented.
Downtown Ocala, however, ain't so grand – there's a reason locals call it 'Slocala.' ('Strip-Mall-Cala' would also be accurate, if not as clever with the wordplay.) But it's not the downtown you're here for – this rural city is surrounded by beautiful clear springs and the best backyard in Florida: Ocala National Forest.