Just a short, scenic drive from Ocala, the country town of Williston offers these memorable destinations.
Cedar Lakes Woods and Garden is a labor of love created by owner Dr. Ray Webber, a retired endodontist, who bought the property in 1991 and spent many years turning an old limestone quarry into a spectacular water and garden sanctuary.
Webber cleaned out old mining debris and reinvented this natural wonder one wheelbarrow at a time, building a series of walkways at different levels all around the incredible water features where giant koi and catfish glide beneath the sparkling waters.
Since January 2014, Webber has graciously shared this secluded oasis with the public. Cedar Lakes is open daily for tours (except for Wednesdays) with a small admission fee. Don’t miss Gardens and Ghouls Spooky Halloween Walk on October 27 from 5:30 to 7:30pm. This family-friendly event features two trail options (a scarier one for adults and older kids!), food trucks, face painting, a scavenger hunt and more. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for kids.
A privately owned prehistoric spring, Devil’s Den is a premier scuba diving destination, drawing certified divers from around the world, as well as local snorkelers, who come to experience the pristine 72-degree water and stunning underwater views.
Divers enter at the surface, which is 120 feet in diameter, and can then swim with turtles and fish in the cavern beneath.
This underground spring inside a dry cave is fed by the aquifer and has been home to many extinct animal fossils dating back to the Pleistocene age. Many of the fossils are now on display at the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History.
Devil’s Den is open seven days a week. Come early if you plan to snorkel as space is limited. Equipment is available for rent, and there is also year-round lodging, including four cabins, plus RV and tent campgrounds.
Two Hawk Hammock’s serene and peaceful setting is the ideal backdrop for a country getaway. They offer year-round lodging, a country store, craft classes and seasonal events.
Mark your calendars for October 13 and 14 for the annual farm fest, the “Country Circus,” offering family-oriented fun for all ages. Now in its ninth edition, the Country Circus features such entertainment groups as the AscenDance acrobats, Gainesville Circus Center, Rainbow Tiger Circus and live music with Dusty’s Ragtime, to name a few of the acts.
In addition to music and cirque performances, the event includes arts, crafts and food vendors, kids’ activities and carriage rides. Camping, RV and cabin options are available for those wishing to spend the weekend with the Two Hawk Country Circus. The event runs from 12 to 5pm both days. Tickets can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com or at the door. Admission is $15 in advance, $20 at the door and are good for both days. Kids 12 and under are free.