Ocala is located in North Central Florida in Marion County just outside of the Ocala National Forest which is the second largest National Forest in the state. The Florida Trail, also referred to as the Florida National Scenic Trail, runs near Ocala and through the National Forest.
In the 16th century, the area was occupied by the Timucua group of indigenous people. Their village was called Ocale from which the modern city derives its name. Hernando De Soto is recorded as having passed through the area in 1539 and referred to the region as Ocale. Ocale is not mentioned again in any records and is thought to have been abandoned after De Soto’s visit.
Fort King was built in 1827