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Grand Oaks Resort, Florida

Many guests stay at this Ocala retreat for months at a time, a home away from home.

Exploring the world may be fun, but don’t your horses deserve a getaway too? You can bring your horses with you to the 400-acre Grand Oaks Resort near Ocala, in the heart of Florida’s horse country. You’ll have a comfy private cottage, and they’ll have their own barn and paddocks.

Although some guests bring 20 horses, the average guest travels with 2 to 6. Many of the 29 cottages have been designed so you can look directly into the attached cozy barns from your bedroom and check on your horses. The cottages range from one to six bedrooms, and some offer separate accommodations for grooms. For horse people who prefer to travel in luxury RVs with their animals, the resort offers 45 premium slips. Horse boarding options include self-board, full-board, and groom rentals.

Grand Oaks shares the lush, moss-draped grounds with the Florida Carriage Museum, one of the world’s largest collections that is open to the public. (See the EQ Winter 2014 issue.) The resort was originally a go-to destination for carriage drivers. Now under the ownership of Tom Golisano, the billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist, the property is becoming a tropical escape for equestrians of all disciplines. With over $3 million invested in footing and irrigation alone, there are facilities for dressage, reining, polo, racing, and hunter jumper shows. A 54,000-square-foot indoor arena with flexible footing, as well as outdoor arenas, cross-country and jump courses, and polo fields have just been added.

Besides the numerous nearby golf courses and the attractions of the Ocala area, there is an on-site salon, spa, Orvis outfitter, bar, and restaurant just a short stroll or ride away.

Stay for a week or stay for months, because Grand Oaks Resort is an equestrian destination unlike any other.

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