Where Can You Find "The Real
Florida?" Right Here, Naturally
Thousands of square miles of unspoiled
recreation areas and natural wonders are the hallmarks of our corner of the Golden
When Spanish explorers arrived in our area they believed that they had finally found
the legendary fountain of youth here at Marion County's fabled Silver Springs.
The entire region is dotted with 200 springs, spring-fed lakes, streams and rivers that
are a boater's, fisherman's, diver's and snorkeler's paradise.
Now, don't get us wrong, Marion County isn't just a great place for water sports - as
you can see by the map we're surrounded by Public Parklands and Preserves, like The Cross
Florida Greenway along the northern border of Marion Oaks.
The Cross Florida Greenway is a unique federal and state project that utilizes the
right-of-way of the defunct Cross Florida Barge Canal which was cancelled for good by
President Nixon in 1971. Today this linear park and nature trail follows the original
proposed route of the barge canal from Palatka, on the St. Johns River to Yankeetown on
the Gulf Coast.
This major public works project is well underway creating a series of pedestrian
underpasses and overpasses, like the major, landscaped footbridge over I-75, just 1.5
miles north of our Exit 67. When completed in a few years, hikers will be able to walk
from coast to coast without encountering vehicular traffic.
All but three of Marion County's 25 parks have docks and boat ramps, including a pier
for the handicapped at Rodman Reservoir on the Oklawaha River.
The huge, 430,000 acre Ocala National Forest and the Withlacoochee State Forest,
feature mile upon mile of nature trails, like the Withlacoochee Trail , a over 70 mile
long, paved bicycle path, where you can get out and explore the real Florida wilderness.
With an abundance of deer, wild hog, wild turkey and waterfowl, the game preserves
within these State and National Forests are also a favorite with outdoor enthusiasts and
This Sportsman's Paradise is a Famous for Spectator Sports Too.
Within a 90 mile winner's circle you can cheer your favorite major league professional
sports teams with the WNBA's Orlando Miracle, the NBA's Orlando Magic, the NFL's Tampa Bay
Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars, the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, and Major League
Baseball's newest team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Our part of Florida is also a major
center for Major League Spring Training with more than a dozen teams and their minor
league affiliates scattered throughout the region. The most famous stadium, Legends Field
in Tampa, is the winter home of the New York Yankees.
Millions of motor sports fans race to our area each year to see the Gator Nationals in
Gainesville and, of course, the world-renowned Daytona Motor Speedway, the world's racing
capital and the birthplace of NASCAR. And right next door to Marion Oaks you'll find the
world's only Museum devoted to the sport of Drag Racing. It's owned and operated by the
King himself, our Marion Oaks neighbor, Big Daddy Don Garlits.
Click the image below to Go to the
Don Garlit's Page
Our college sports programs are a source of pride to the entire state.
Here in the Golden Triangle you'll find South Florida's Bulls, Central Florida's Knights,
and one of America's premiere collegiate powers, the Fighting Florida Gators.