Is the Active Adult Lifestyle Right for You in Ocala, Florida?

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A palm tree beside calm blue water at Silver Glen Springs in Florida.
Let's explore Ocala to see if it's right for your retirement.

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    Florida has long been a popular place for active adults, especially when they’re in search of gorgeous weather, abundant activities, and reasonable housing prices. While many retirees tend to flock to the Gulf of Mexico coast or the Atlantic coast, there’s a lot of space between those two destinations.

    Central Florida is full of outdoor recreation, fine dining, and entertainment options. One of the region’s most popular cities, Ocala is just an hour from Orlando and 30 minutes from Gainesville. But what makes Ocala, Florida a good place to retire?

    Let’s find out. 

    Sunshine and Seasons in Ocala

    A wooden walkway over the water in Florida Natural Springs.

    Central Florida is a bit more seasonal than the coasts. There’s never a full winter, but the temperatures do head towards freezing from time to time in the winter. Not to worry though! You still won’t have to pack your snow shovels or your winter cloaks if you decide Ocala is a good place to retire. Outdoor dining and recreational activities are possible all year long.

    In the summer, the temperatures are hot and humid, but not totally uncomfortable. Central Florida is a lot greener than some of the other large cities throughout Florida, so while there’s no seabreeze to speak of, there’s plenty of shade and a lot of pleasant ways to cool off. 

    Average Temperatures

    Average summer temperatures during the day rest at around 90 degrees. At night, they drop to 70. In the winter, it hovers between the high 60s and low 70s during the day and the middle to high 40s at night.

    Rain and Storms

    Expect a lot of rain, but it keeps the Ocala region looking green and lush. Most of the rain falls in the summer months, and July can average nearly six inches. Sometimes, the rain and the wind are extremely tropical.

    Hurricane season impacts Florida from June 1 to November 30. Because of its central location, Ocala isn’t in the direct path of tropical storms, but strong winds and rain from the Atlantic or the Gulf can reach the area. Residents will want to heed all tropical storm and hurricane warnings and prepare themselves and their homes accordingly.

    Things to Do in Ocala

    Three horses in an open pasture in Ocala, Florida.

    Anyone looking for things to do in Ocala should start with the forests, springs, lakes, parks, and trails. The Ocala National Forest includes four wilderness areas, natural springs, hundreds of lakes, and trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Local residents and visitors enjoy canoeing, snorkeling, fishing, and nature photography. Wildlife commonly encountered include deer, alligators, gopher tortoises, hundreds of bird species, and black bears. Also, a trip to Silver Springs State Park is worth the visit, especially for visitors who enjoy the glass-bottom boat ride.

    For Equestrians

    Equestrian activities are extremely popular in Ocala. In fact, the area is known as “The Horse Capital of the World.” The Florida Horse Park hosts multiple equestrian shows and activities throughout the year, including polo and show jumping. The World Equestrian Center (with its luxury hotel, restaurants, and shops) is another popular destination for anyone interested in admiring horses. The Grand Prix on most Saturday nights draws a crowd in the open-air arena.

    For Golfers

    Golfers will enjoy the myriad of courses in and around Ocala. The Country Club of Ocala has an 18-hole championship course as well as a pool, tennis courts, and a world-class restaurant. The Ocala Golf Club has a variety of memberships available at different price points and local residents can also play for as little as $16 a day without a membership. Designed by Gordon Lewis, Candler Hills Golf Club is a par-72 championship golf course.

    For Lake Lovers

    Freshwater lakes in Ocala are ideal for fishing, boating, kayaking, and swimming. Lake Weir offers over 5,700 acres, and Orange Lake has largemouth bass, bluegill, and black crappie. Popular hiking trails are found at Ross Prairie State Forest, Silver Springs State Park, and the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway.

    For Culture Seekers

    The Appleton Museum of Art has a notable permanent collection as well as revolving exhibitions. The first Saturday of every month offers free admission, and there are ongoing events and classes available to local residents. There’s also the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing and the Fort King National Historic Landmark, which celebrates Florida’s military history and was built in 1827.

    Cost of Living in Ocala

    A corral with the shadows of the fence and trees on a sunny fall day in Ocala, Florida.

    The cost of living in Ocala is about 16% lower than the national average, and 7% lower than the average city in Florida. Housing is especially more affordable, and residents pay less for groceries, utilities, health care, and transportation. Active adults moving to 55+ communities in Ocala, Florida from more expensive states and cities will find that their money goes further.

    Taxes in Ocala

    Florida is a tax-friendly state. Residents don’t pay a state income tax, which includes Social Security benefits (or any other retirement income). Also, there’s no estate tax or inheritance tax. 

    The property tax rate in Ocala is 1.26%, which is higher than the state average. However, benefits exist for homeowners who are 65 years of age or older and reside in Florida permanently. There are also income requirements for a homeowner to be eligible for the reduction or elimination of property taxes. 

    The sales tax in Ocala is 7%, which encompasses the Florida state sales tax of 6% as well as the extra 1% that Marion County taxes.

    Ocala Health Facilities

    A country road in Central Florida on a sunny day.

    Health care is a huge concern for active adults looking for the best retirement destination. Ocala provides plenty of medical centers, hospitals, and both preventative medicine and treatments for chronic and existing conditions.

    HCA Florida Ocala Hospital has one of the largest networks of care in Florida. With several locations, this medical facility provides more than 500 beds, an emergency care center, wound care, and imaging. They also serve patients needing neurological care, cardiovascular specialties, and weight loss surgery. Also, AdventHealth Ocala provides a long list of modern services, including bariatric care, surgery and robotics, orthopedic care, and a specialty in lung health and heart and vascular care.

    Restaurants and Shopping in Ocala

    The gazebo in the historical downtown square in Ocala, Florida on a sunny day.

    Ocala has some appetizing restaurants, and all manner of cuisine is covered. Just off Interstate 17 is Amrit Palace Indian Restaurant, which offers north Indian food such as kabobs and biryani. Ivy on the Square is a notable restaurant too, not only because of its mouth-watering southern-inspired menu but also because it’s located in downtown Ocala, in a building that dates back to 1890. Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille is a fun, lively place to be seen, where there’s New Orleans-inspired food and fancy cocktails.

    Paddock Mall is where most residents shop, and Shady Oaks Shopping Center offers large retail chains like Burlington Coat Factory and Best Buy. Downtown Ocala offers a number of locally owned shops and boutiques too, including Serendipity Boutique, marley mae market & paperie, and AGAPANTHUS, a boutique for accessories and home decor.

    Ocala Homes for Sale

    Active adults looking for 55+ communities in Ocala, Florida will find there are plenty of options. There are gated communities and new construction neighborhoods. There also are condo communities ideal for downsizing, and homes on golf courses or with water views.

    Here’s a sampling of what can be found when it comes to Ocala homes for sale.

    On Top of the World – Ocala, FL

    High $100ks – Mid $600ks

    Aerial view of the amenities at On Top of the World in Ocala, Florida.

    This 55+ community of attached and single-family homes takes up a lot of space in Ocala. There are 10,000 homes in this well-known community located just a few miles from Interstate 75.

    Residents enjoy a golf course, a restaurant, and other amenities including a fitness center, and a whirlpool spa as well as retail, social, and entertainment offerings at Circle Square Commons. There’s also a lifelong learning center, a library, a woodworking shop, tennis courts, shuffleboard, horseshoe pits, and more.

    Villas have two bedrooms and two bathrooms and range from 1,092 to 1,577 square feet. Single-family homes come in a variety of models between 1,220 and 2,888 square feet. They have two or three bedrooms, two or three bathrooms, and some floor plans include a den or home office.

    Ocala Preserve – Ocala, FL

    Mid $200ks – Mid $500ks

    Aerial view of an outdoor patio on the grounds of Ocala Preserve in Ocala, Florida.

    New and resale homes are available at Ocala Preserve, a 55+ community where buyers can choose spacious single-family homes or low-maintenance attached homes. Five collections are available that showcase intentional attention to design, with laminate counters, stainless appliances, and gourmet kitchens. 

    The Oak House is the community clubhouse, where residents can enjoy a restaurant and bar as well as a private dining room. There’s a fitness center, a culinary studio, a game room, and a concierge ready to help residents with anything they might need. There’s a pool, a veranda, and more than 10 miles of walking and biking trails, many of which include scenic lake views.

    Oak Run – Ocala, FL

    Mid $100ks – High $300ks

    Exterior view of the Palm Grove Club on the grounds of Oak Run in Ocala, Florida.

    At Oak Run, there are five clubhouses and the Royal Oaks Golf Club, which offers 18 holes of championship golf on a par-72 course. Pickleball, shuffleboard, and tennis courts are also available. Inside the clubhouses, residents enjoy a ceramics studio, a fitness center, a restaurant, and an indoor pool. There’s an outdoor pool too, and plenty of well-landscaped grounds to enjoy on walks, runs, and bike rides. 

    Buyers can find more than 3,000 homes; Some are single-family residences and others are attached ranch-style duplexes. Most homes have single-level living, open floor plans, and private outdoor space featuring covered lanais.

    Stone Creek – Ocala, FL

    High $200ks – Mid $500ks

    Exterior view of the clubhouse at Stone Creek in Ocala, Florida.

    Buyers looking for a home on a golf course can also consider Stone Creek, a gated 55+ community that’s home to Stone Creek Golf Club. Covering 187 acres, this 18-hole championship course is scenic and includes multiple ponds at various holes. Additional amenities include a pool, a clubhouse, a fitness center, and an indoor lap pool. Residents can book massage services, play a game on the softball field, or bike around the paths and trails that wind through the community. 

    Attached and single-family homes are available at Stone Creek. The twin attached villas have 1,548 to 1,709 square feet. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached two-car garage are standard with these models. Single-family homes offer 1,133 to 2,634 square feet with one to five bedrooms, one to four bathrooms, and either an attached two- or three-car garage.

    SummerGlen – Ocala, FL

    Mid $200ks – Mid $400ks

    A palm tree beside the clubhouse at SummerGlen in Ocala, Florida.

    Over 1,000 single-family homes can be found at SummerGlen, a gated 55+ community that employs an activities director to ensure residents can enjoy activities, events, and local outings. There’s a gardening club and a singles group as well as ongoing socials, swimming classes, and travel discussions. 

    Amenities at SummerGlen include a clubhouse, restaurant, tennis courts, and fitness center. There’s a pet park, scenic lakes, and an outdoor pool with plenty of seating around the patio. An 18-hole golf course is challenging for all playing levels and it’s landscaped around old oak trees. Homes are available in single-family models with 1,377 to 2,575 square feet, two to four bedrooms, and two or three bathrooms. Open floor plans are available, and many homes have been updated.

    Ocala Palms – Ocala, FL

    High $200ks – Low $300ks

    Exterior view of the clubhouse at Ocala Palms in Ocala, Florida.

    Another golf course community, the gated, 55+ neighborhood of Ocala Palms is attractive to buyers because of the affordability of these single-family homes. They have 1,050 to 2,654 square feet, with open floor plans and features such as golf course or water views. Homes have two or three bedrooms and bathrooms. 

    Amenities include a clubhouse, pools, a library, a sewing studio, and a card room. An onsite activities director helps residents to plan social events such as coffee socials and bus trips.

    JB Ranch – Ocala, FL

    Low $300ks – Mid $300ks

    The outdoor pool on the grounds of JB Ranch in Ocala, Florida.

    New and resale single-family homes are available at JB Ranch, a gated 55+ community with a clubhouse, a fitness center, a pool, bocce ball, and pickleball courts. The HOA takes care of all landscaping and lawn care. 

    It’s an intimate community, with only 346 homes. These homes offer 1,504 to 2,034 square feet, two or three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached two-car garage. Open floor plans include a large great room and a primary suite with a walk-in closet and dual sinks in the bathroom.

    Marion Landing – Ocala, FL

    Mid $100ks – Mid $300ks

    Exterior view of the office at Marion Landing in Ocala, Florida.

    With 600 single-family homes, Marion Landing provides 55+ residents with opportunities for social fun, healthy living, and even downsizing. Single-family homes have models starting at 864 square feet and going all the way to 2,400 square feet. Two or three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached two-car garage are standard in most models. 

    Amenities include a Lifestyle Center, with an exercise room, a craft room, and a ballroom. There’s also a fishing lake and tennis courts as well as a pool and spa.

    Cherrywood – Ocala, FL

    Mid $100ks – Low $800ks

    Exterior view of the entrance to Cherrywood in Ocala, Florida.

    A 55+ community with 700 single-family homes, Cherrywood is a comfortable community with amenities that include a billiards room and library as well as a fitness center that often offers exercise classes. Outside, there’s a pool and spa as well as tennis courts, shuffleboard, and bocce. 

    Homes are available in dozens of models, with 800 to 2,281 square feet. Clubs are a big deal at Cherrywood and cover everything from tennis to sewing to quilting. A monthly newsletter lets residents know of special events, such as casino trips and holiday parties.

    Pine Run Estates – Ocala, FL

    Low $100ks – High $200ks

    Exterior view of a community building on the grounds of Pine Run Estates in Ocala, Florida.

    Pine Run Estates is a 55+ community that embraces simplicity and low-maintenance lifestyles. Homes have 800 to 1,800 square feet and two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached carport or garage. 

    Amenities include two clubhouses, a pool, a sundeck, a fitness center, and a game room. The desirable location of Pine Run Estates puts the community in a peaceful, residential neighborhood that’s close to Downtown Ocala and everything the area provides.

    Remember that when you’re ready to move, 55places can help you find the perfect active adult community in Ocala, Florida.

    Discover what’s next.

    To learn more information or connect with a real estate expert, contact us today.

    Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

    Financing is the difference!

    Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

    55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and 55places.com.
    Details here.

    We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

    Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Get Weekly Updates

    I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting optout@55places.com. Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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