Ocala, a small agricultural and manufacturing center, is about halfway between Gainesville to the north and Orlando to the southeast. With its attractive tree-lined streets and Old South–style homes, it more resembles a typical Southern city than a Florida city or beach town. Ocala is the capital of Florida’s thoroughbred industry, and ranching and horse-breeding are popular.
Just east of town is the Ocala National Forest, a preserve of Florida pines, cypress, and hardwood trees with water and plenty of recreation. The area has above average historic and natural interest. Manufacturing is mostly light, with household goods, auto parts and some electronics manufacturing, and recent employment trends are favorable. Cost of living and housing, following Florida trends, has increased. The location is a bit isolated from Orlando’s services and amenities, 75 miles away.
The level area is characterized by a mix of open land and areas of medium-size trees, some tropical in nature. Summers are warm and humid with maximum temperatures averaging a little more than 90 degrees. Winters are mild with daytime temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s, but with some occasional freezing. Rainfall is appreciable in every month but most comes from summer afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Ocala does not have a serious hurricane risk because of its inland location.