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Is the Ocala area a good place to live?

tiel

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We are in the process of selling our home, and want to move out of the snow belt. We have looked at a number of areas in different states, and kind of like the Ocala, FL, area. We’ve done some research online, but we’re wondering what people who have been or lived there like or dislike about the area.

Any comments will be truly appreciated!
 

elaine

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I grew up in Gainesville about 30 minutes away. Ocala used to be a cow town. It has definitely evolved! It has a significant horse breeding industry now. I'd describe now as a larger "town" with a bit of sprawl. It's not far from the Villages. NE Florida has weather like S. GA. Very hot in summer with no ocean breeze and it can freeze in the winter, although cold days would be a couple then back up to above 50. Ocala is the freeze line--below getting towards Orlando rarely freezes while Gainesville will have several freezes in the winter. No ice, no snow except every 20 years or so. I loved living in Gainesville.
 

rapmarks

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We rented for about eight weeks. They don’t heat the pools there and it was sixty degrees so even on a nice day, you couldn’t use the pool. We golfed, but always in sweatshirts or jackets.We moved further south, so we have nice winters. Summers are hot and humid in both places.
 

Talent312

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I have a brother who lives there in one of those ritzy gated subdivisions.
You're next to some great natural areas: Ocala Natl. Forest, Silver Springs, etc.
It's a sophisticated little town with an art gallery and performing arts theatre.
BTW, you're also close to The Villages, a huge retirement community.
 

tompalm

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It is a small town, but close enough to other places for an easy day trip. You can do Disney, St Augustine, Gainesville and see a lot of other places with an easy 1-2 hour drive. Rent an Air BnB for a month and look around before buying anything. You really need to live somewhere and decide for yourself. I would want a larger city, but that is just me.
 

Glynda

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Brewster Green (two weeks).
We have friends who own a huge horse farm there. An Olympic winner trains other hopefuls at their farm in the Winter. It’s lovely to ride through “horse country” with it’s old Oak trees and pastures of green with fencing. I was born and raised in Ft Myers and left for college with no desire to ever live in FL again but if forced to return it would be Ocala or Gainesville.
 

rapmarks

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I thought it was more blue collar than sophisticated.
we liked one community and the sales person told us they had a cancellation at the Christmas party and why don’t you two go. It was our last night of a twelve week trip to look around the area. We liked the community, but the party turned it around. When we sat down the people tried to chase us off but finally realized we were replacing their friends. Then one woman tried to sell us her house. I explained we were interested in a specific model. She got mad and insulted us the rest of the evening. We did come back in the winter and looked some more.
 

rhonda

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I hear ‘Ocala’ and immediately think ‘horses!’
We haven’t been there yet ... but have friends and industry contacts with ranches there.

If we move to Florida, that will be the first area to consider. Truth be told, I’ve hit “❤️“ on many Ocala listings on Zillow over the years. Someday ... perhaps ... except I do love mountains, which I have now. I want more space and fewer neighbors.
 

bbodb1

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@tiel - as someone who was born on the Gulf Coast, I cannot overemphasize how much the humidity and heat of that area can be oppressive.
Are you absolutely sure you want to / and can stand the days of June / September with temps around 100 degrees, 90+% humidity, and heat indexes in the 120 range?

If that sounds delightful (or bearable) to you, more power to you and best of luck with your search in this area but if you have the option available, please try before you buy!
 

elaine

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In Gainesville, 30 miles away, which I love, mainly for the great UofF atmosphere and childhood friends, it's literally 90+ degrees and 90%+ humidity from May 1-Oct 1. I'm not kidding. Not near either coast.
 

chapjim

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Thunderstorm every afternoon at 2:05??
 
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bbodb1

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tiel

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Thank you to all who commented. Will respond more later when we have a few moments to relax and consider what’s been said.
 

johnnythatsmyboy

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Thank you to all who commented. Will respond more later when we have a few moments to relax and consider what’s been said.
We moved to Ocala in February after living in Leesburg, FL, about an hour south of Ocala, for 6 years. We love it. I say I traded oak trees for palm trees. Living in Ocala for me as a midwestern makes living in Florida enjoyable.
 
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