The Hidden Glamping Florida Gem Helping Drive Tourism To Ocala
With a nearly two-year stint of limited travel, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, cities that heavily relied on tourism dollars are anxious to rebound. As more residents start to plan cross-country travel, county leaders are focused on reestablishing their cities as go-to destinations and for Ocala, Florida, this tactic is working. In 2021, Ocala reported record-breaking tourism numbers, largely due to the development of the World Equestrian Center.
Referenced as a haven for the rider, horse, and spectator, the new billion-dollar property hosted its grand opening earlier this year. The World Equestrian Center is the largest equestrian complex in the U.S. and features luxury accommodations, seven restaurants, 18,000 square feet of retail space, 22 outdoor arenas, and four climate-controlled indoor arenas. The center sits directly next to the Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club, which is home to championship golf and tennis, as well as fitness, spa, and fine dining offerings.
Horse Capital of the World
More than a decade ago, Ocala was named the horse capital of the world, making the city a perfect location for the World Equestrian Center. The city is home to a vast collection of thoroughbred farms, training facilities, and competition arenas. Those that follow major racing events, such as The Kentucky Derby, are likely to have seen a winning horse that was raised and trained in Marion County.
Additionally, the city hosts various training sessions and events for the United States Eventing Team.
The World Equestrian Center fosters the growing popularity of horse tourism, as it provides an expansive space for visitors to learn, enjoy, and support equestrian sports. As the property continues to attract droves of guests, Ocala is compelled to ensure there are ample accommodations available across the city.
While visitors are likely to engage in outdoor recreation, including golf, horseback riding, and hiking, during the day, many aren’t looking for a traditional Florida camping experience when nightfall arrives. Instead, glamping is a more attractive option.
Florida glamping mixes resort-like amenities with the beauty of natural destinations. A great option in Ocala is Enchanted Oaks Camp and Farm. The property offers air-conditioned tiny homes, lakefront tiny homes, or full-size apartments in an air-conditioned barn. Guests are steps away from fishing or can take a drive to surround golf courses and equestrian centers.
For those looking for a little added luxury, The World Equestrian Center has on-site lodging that gives guests a direct view of equestrian events from their balconies. The 248-room hotel has a shopping pavilion located on the ground floor, as well as casual and fine dining establishments. The facility also includes an RV park for those who prefer to take the road trip route to the center.
If you find yourself itching for vacation and love the idea of spending your days around horses, Ocala is a must-visit destination. The World Equestrian Center hosts year-round events that appeal to the whole family, with a “Winter Wonderland” celebration taking place this holiday season. For more information, visit www.worldequestriancenter.com.