Ocala, Florida – Retirement Guide

Ocala, Florida   Retirement Guide

While many retirees relocating to Florida seek out the sandy shores and warm waters of the state’s coasts, a number of popular retirement destinations lie inland, as well. The beaches may be missing, but Central Florida still offers retirees warm, year-round weather often with a lower cost of living than many coastal towns.

For example, Ocala is one such affordable destination, known for its beautiful horse farms. Sprawling, idyllic horse ranches are scattered throughout the region, making it an ideal destination for those who love horseback riding. Tours of the horse farms, including a carriage ride through a number of the properties, are a favorite way to explore the ranches. Other equine events popular with locals include horse shows and rodeos.

Of course, Ocala offers residents diversions beyond horses. The town also houses the Ocala Speedway and the Museum of Drag Racing, Ocala National Forest, as well as Silver Springs – Nature’s Theme Park, which features historical displays, amusement rides and natural hot springs. One of the most popular attractions in the region is Crystal Springs, where it’s possible to have the extraordinary experience of swimming with manatees.

Pros: Horse farms in the vicinity; near Crystal River and swimming with manatees
Con: High crime rate compared to national average, not on the coast

At a Glance
Best For: Horseback riders
Population: 56,517
Cost of Living: 13.8% lower than national average
Median Home Cost: $92,000
Unemployment: 7.7%
Top State Income Tax: no state income tax
Crime Rate: 31.8% higher than national average

Retirees will find a nearby golf courses as well as a number of retirement communities that have sprung up in the Ocala region in recent years. The town’s cost of living is still nearly 14 percent lower than the national average, with a median home price below $100,000. Still, prices since 2012 have been steadily rising as the economy and housing market in Florida recovers.

Photo by Geoff Gallice via Flickr. All statistics were up to date as of publication. See these sources for the most current data.