Marion County is located in the Central Highlands Region of Florida. This region is comprised of beautiful rolling hills, an abundance of wonderful pastureland, and a mild climate. It has become renowned for its suitabilty for Horse Ranching. Several horses from Marion County have competed in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes.
Originally what is now known as Marion County was part of Alachua County, Hillsborough County, and Mosquito (now Orange) County.
Marion County was created on March 14, 1844. It was named for General Francis Marion, of South Carolina, also known as the "Swamp
Fox" during the Revolutionary War. Marion County drew many of its earliest settlers from South Carolina. One hundred years
after its creation Marion County boasted a population of 35,132 persons. Within Marion County are the following cities/towns:
Marion County has two significant natural sites. First, near Ocala, are the beautiful springs which attract thousands of visitors annually - Silver Springs. Secondly, is the Ocala National Forest, which covers 389,000 acres of land. Established in 1908, it is the oldest National Forest east of the Mississippi River and southernmost in the continental U.S. It is the largest existing area of Sand Pine, or Scrub Pine.