There is really not much to do in Ocala, its horse country plus some nice golf courses, one shopping mall and depending on time of year some antique car shows. It is close to some of Florida's natural spring such as Silver Springs, Juniper & Alexander springs and not a far drive to Rainbow Springs. They do have some pretty good restaurants and The Villages are nearby which is a popular retirement community. I understand there is a lot to do there.
For a really old small Florida town look at Cedar Key about another hour past Ocala on the gulf. Not a beach community but just laid back with maybe some kayak / canoe trips to be found. Further south you closer to Orlando is Tarpon Springs, Homassassa springs and Weeki Wachee. You can google those places to see if they might interest you. Again these are old Florida attractions.
And one final option would be to head up to St. Augustine. Very historical, a bit more active and you don't have to stay on the beach altho there are beaches there. They have a decent outlet mall along with the historical walkable downtown area. Some golf courses nearby too.
Thank you so much for your quick reply. Much appreciated. We leave Clearwater on Friday , so this gives me time to google your suggestions !
if you have not been to weeki wachee i would suggest it highly, its not just spring swimming they also have mermaids and boat ride included in your i think $13 fee, its an all day thing if you want it to be
Cedar Key had some significant flooding damage not from this hurricane, but the one before it. You may want to call a few places there first.
Devil's Milhopper State Park
Museum Of Natural History at the University of Florida
At nearby Cross Creek you can visit the Cracker Home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who wrote the book, The Yearling.
Have dinner at the restaurant of the same name, The Yearling.
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