Alyssa has been writing about exciting travel topics for Trips to Discover since 2013. After living the big city life in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Alyssa sold the bulk of her possessions and became a digital nomad, living full-time in her camper and working from wherever she could find an outlet and an internet connection for her laptop.
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During my travels in Florida, I’ve learned that the Sunshine State offers a lot more than just beaches and Disney World. A great example of Florida’s diversity is the town of Ocala, which is in north-central Florida destination known for being the “horse capital of the world.” There are hundreds of horse training centers and thoroughbred farms here, as well as the World Equestrian Center, state parks, and a natural forest that’s perfect for getting out in nature.
To experience this unique part of Florida for yourself, here are some of the best hotels to book in Ocala, Florida.
The Hilton Ocala puts you in the heart of Florida’s horse country and is set on six acres of land. There is a resident Clydesdale horse here, and the hotel grows its own ingredients for the Market Kitchen and Bar in the Chef’s Garden. The Hilton has a resort-style pool and many other amenities, including a fitness center, business center, connecting rooms, streaming TV, free parking, and meeting rooms. Pet-friendly rooms are available here, and the pet fee is $25 per day for dogs weighing up to 75 pounds.
The Country Inn & Suites in Ocala is located just off I-75 and allows visitors to explore the scenic rolling hills of the region with a comfortable place to come back to at the end of the day. This is a pet-friendly hotel that offers complimentary coffee and cookies in the lobby. There is a heated indoor pool at the hotel and also a fitness center and a 24-hour business center. Guests will enjoy free hot breakfasts, including signature waffles, each morning to start the day. Ocala International Airport is about 10 minutes away from the hotel.
Another top hotel in Ocala is the Comfort Suites Ocala North, which is just off I-75 and near the Golden Ocala Equestrian Center. The hotel is a close drive from all the local attractions, including Wild Waters Water Park, the Ocala National Forest, and Appleton Museum of Art. The hotel has a seasonal outdoor pool, spacious suites, and free parking. Other amenities include an exercise room, free Wi-Fi, free hot breakfast, and elevators. This is a pet-friendly hotel where you can bring up to two pets weighing up to 70 pounds for a $30 fee per night, per pet.
Also located just off I-75, the Hampton Inn & Suites Ocala is a Hilton-brand hotel that is just a mile from the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing. It is also eight minutes from the Florida Horse Park and Gypsy Gold Horse Farm. When you stay here, you’ll get free hot breakfasts in the morning, free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, outdoor pool, and business center. You can bring up to two dogs and cats weighing up to 20 pounds to this hotel for a $75 non-refundable fee.
You can be comfy and cozy while staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Ocala for your next trip to Florida. This hotel has everything you need to feel at home, including microwaves, mini-fridges, high-speed Wi-Fi, ergonomic workstations, and signature Marriott bedding. There is a restaurant onsite that serves breakfast and dinner options, coffee, and evening cocktails. You can take a dip in the outdoor pool and work out at the 24/7 fitness center. During your stay, make sure to check out all the outdoor recreation opportunities, including Silver Springs State Park, Rainbow Springs, and Ocala National Forest.
One of the most epic places to stay in this part of Florida is the Equestrian Hotel, which is located at the heart of the World Equestrian Center and is a prestigious venue that you’ll never forget. The hotel has a grand lobby with chandeliers and Italian porcelain, and you’ll find many more worldly treasures across the hotel’s five stories. There is an art gallery showcasing the works of local artists here and luxurious rooms and suites to really treat yourself to something special. There are 248 rooms and suites here, and many of them overlook the Grand Arena. Amenities at the Equestrian Hotel include a resort spa, swimming pool, fitness center, full-service salon, and walking trails.
TownePlace Suites by Marriott Ocala offers residential-style hotel rooms that have full kitchens. This is a great feature if you plan to stay in the area for a while, like to cook, or are traveling with kids. The hotel is just minutes from the World Equestrian Center and Florida Aquatic Swimming and Training Facility. It has a zero-entry, outdoor saltwater pool to help you enjoy the Florida sunshine. It is a pet-friendly hotel with studio and one-bedroom suites that have separate living and sleeping areas. In the rooms, you’ll have Wi-Fi, smart TV packages, and adjustable workspaces. Meanwhile, the hotel serves complimentary full hot breakfasts to guests too.
Located just off Highway 40, the Hilton Garden Inn is close to historic downtown Ocala, the Tuscawilla Historic District, and Ocala Civic Center. It has an indoor/outdoor bar, a fitness center with a Peloton bike, and two levels of outdoor terrace space. Other things this hotel offers are an onsite restaurant, room service, a business center, and free Wi-Fi. The Hilton Garden Inn is a pet-friendly hotel that allows up to two dogs or cats weighing up to 75 pounds for a $50 fee for one to four nights or a $100 fee for five or more nights.
Another option for your Ocala trip is to stay at this Microtel Inn close to the Silver Springs amusement park and Museum of Drag Racing. It is off I-75 at exit 341 and is a pet-friendly hotel that is part of the Wyndham brand of hotels. Guests enjoy free hot breakfasts daily and can swim in the outdoor pool. The hotel offers free Wi-fi, guest laundry facilities, suites with sofa beds, and refrigerators and microwaves upon request.
This Ocala hotel is located on Pine Avenue and gets all the essentials right to make travelers feel at home. Guests will get grab-and-go breakfasts, Wi-Fi, a 24-hour gym, 24-hour coffee, and free parking during their stays. The IHG-brand hotel’s rooms have 55-inch TVs, and there is a 24-hour market where you can grab a snack. You’ll be just a short drive from the popular attractions of the area in Ocala, including the Ocala Civic Center and Appleton Museum of Art.
Located just over five miles from central Ocala and the historic downtown square, Homewood Suites by Hilton is a hotel that many Ocala travelers enjoy. It is ideal for extended stays and offers connecting rooms, free hot breakfasts, an outdoor pool, and a fitness center. Another perk of staying here is the free Wednesday evening socials. This is a pet-friendly hotel for up to two dogs or cats when you pay a $75 fee for one to four nights or a $125 fee for five or more nights.
Here’s a Marion County hotel with a central location just minutes from the Ocala International Airport. It is a popular choice for business and leisure travelers and has over 11,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel is great for group events that include 10 to 250 people. It has a “kids stay and eat free” program to cater to families too. Children age 11 and under can eat free per adult ordering off the main menu in the onsite restaurant. Amenities offered here include a pool, fitness center, in-room mini-fridges and microwaves, flexible workspaces, and Wi-Fi.
The Residence Inn in Ocala is an ideal place for extended stays in town. It has modern amenities and spacious suites with fully equipped kitchens. The suites have separate lounge areas and Wi-Fi, and the hotel offers complimentary breakfasts each morning. There’s an outdoor pool, hot tub, and 24-hour fitness center at the hotel. You can bring up to two pets weighing up to 50 pounds to this hotel for a $75 fee per stay. Daily parking onsite costs $10.
This hotel in Ocala offers an outdoor heated pool and is ideally situated in the “horse capital of the world.” It is a highly rated hotel located on Silver Springs Boulevard in neighboring Silver Springs. Here you’ll also find a complimentary hot breakfast buffet, fitness center, and business center. The rooms have 40-inch flatscreen TVs and work desks, while mini-fridges and microwaves are also available. Breakfast is served daily from 6:30 am to 9:30 am. Guests can bring up to two pets per room to this hotel for a $30 fee per night. There is a pet walking area onsite at the hotel as well.