Ocklawaha is a small town, established in 1884, in southern Marion County on the north shore of Lake Weir. Lake Weir is one of the most popular lakes for water sports in Marion County and covers approximately 5700 acres with 9 miles of shoreline and is easily accessed through the Carney Island Park & Boat Launch. Carney Island, located on the west side of Lake Weir, was once a citrus orchard and is now a Marion County park. The park offers picnic areas, a boat launch, hiking trails, a swimming beach, and offers numerous opportunities to observe wildlife.
Ocklawaha may be best known for the shootout between federal agents and Kate "Ma" Barker and her gang in 1935. Ma Barker and her son Fred were part of the Barker-Karpis gang that had committed multiple crimes in Oklahoma, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Florida. When the FBI discovered their hideout in Ocklawaha, they surrounded the home on the morning of January 16, 1935. The agents ordered them to surrender, but Fred opened fire; both he and his mother were killed by federal agents after an intense, hours-long shootout. In October of 2016, the home was moved across Lake Weir to Carney Island for preservation.
Weirsdale was founded in 1892 and was once known for its Citrus Groves until a series of freezes in the 1980s wiped out a large number of trees. There are still a few groves in the area that offer fresh-picked fruit from November through April. Located on the south side of Lake Weir at the intersection of Highway 42 and County Road 25, this one-light town brings a little culture to the area through the Orange Blossom Opry which is located in what was originally the Weirsdale School Gymnasium.