In the heart of Northern Florida lies the historic, old world city of Ocala. It's name means "big hammock" in an ancient Timucuan Indian language and the atmosphere in Ocala has always centered around relaxation. A centrally-located small city of 56,517 residents, according to 2010 facts from the U.S. Census Bureau, Ocala is a wonderful place for those wanting to reside in a quieter side of Florida but also live in close proximity to the beach and other travel destinations in the state. With its ideal location for commuters and hometown feel, many Floridians are itching to find Ocala apartments for rent so that they can be a part of this thriving community.
This city's formation was a direct result of the Indian Wars between the Seminole tribe and European settlers in the early 1800s. By mid-century, Ocala became one of the leading business hubs in the state due to its rich farmland. Once the Civil War came to northern Florida, the city's population dwindled to just 200 people, and the city was forced to reinvent itself. Once the community began to rebuild, Ocala became known as the "Brick City" due to its production of bricks and other fire-resistant materials.
In the early 1900s, Ocala developed its own modern style of architecture that would come to define the historic downtown today. Once Florida developed itself as a playground for aristocrats during the roaring '20s, people began to fall in love with Ocala's sense of charm. Soon, the areas of Tuscawilla Park began to develop as more Americans started making their way to Florida as residents, not tourists.
The story of Ocala after World War II is similar to other American cities. With the development of the interstate highway system, suburban sprawl and the mid 20th century baby boom, many American sought refuge in the quiet communities outside of the metropolises, and Ocala grew into the charming, family-friendly city it is today.
Popular with local students, the College of Central Florida is a public community college that offers associate and bachelor degrees and other accreditation for students from every walk of life. Since the city of Gainesville is within commuting distance, many young residents in the area also attend the University of Florida, one of the most respected universities in the nation for academics and athletics.
Although healthcare is the top industry in the Marion County area, there are several other top employers, including manufacturers Lockheed Martin and E-One, Inc. and a support services hub for AT&T. Since citizens here have a 20 minute median travel time to work according to the census, Ocala apartments should be easy for commuting no matter what part of town you work in.
Ocala has seen a rise in median household income of over $5,000 per year from 2000-2009. Despite this spike in salaries among Ocala's residents, the area has a staggeringly low cost of living index at 86.2, nearly 14 points below the nation's average. With the opportunity for more income and less expenses, it shouldn't come as a shock that Ocala is an attractive and affordable city to many people.
One of the best art museums in the Sunshine State is located right in the heart of northern Florida. The Appleton Museum of Art offers exhibits in photography, painting and sculpture from regions all over the world.
If you love the great outdoors, Silver River State Park is a wonderful place for hiking, kayaking and biking. Showcasing the unique marshland landscape of Florida, there are several campgrounds and cabins in the area for residents to relax on a day trip or stay overnight.
If you are looking for an apartment for rent or a house rental in Ocala, Fla., search for rental properties at Rent.com®.