Vero Beach is an upscale, yet low-key East coast town with gorgeous beaches that spends half its time welcoming snowbirds and half enjoying the fact that they are gone. It is part of what is known as Florida’s Treasure Coast, made up of Vero Beach, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Jensen Beach, Hobe Sound, and Hutchinson Island. Vero Beach is a popular eco-tourism destination as well. It has many land development restrictions so it still has a retro feel that is intentional. I love living in Vero Beach because of the things there are to do as well as the close proximity to other major Florida cities.
Piper Aircraft is the largest employer in Vero, where they produce aircrafts and offer flight lessons. From my house, I can hear dozens of planes from flight school lessons as well as chartered flights, daily. Piper Aircraft tours are given Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10-1PM. Many of the snowbirds arrive in private planes at Vero’s Regional Airport, soon to start having direct flights to NYC areas.
The LA Dodgers made Vero Beach their home for spring baseball training from 1948-2008. Today, the 79 acre Dodgertown complex stands in perfect shape, and hosts baseball camps for all ages and concert events. Most other social events in Vero take place on the Indian River County Fairgrounds, Ocean Boulevard, or at Riverside Park. Vero’s pet owners also have their very own off-leash dog park on Indian River Drive.
Ocean Boulevard, which runs parallel to the Atlantic Ocean, is lined with designer apparel and other shops along with a few restaurants. The shops are adorned with gorgeous home accents, stylish or classic clothing, upscale shoes, and gifts, but I warn you; they are pricey. My favorite beachside stores include the J M Stringer Gallery of Fine Art, Lazy Daisy, and A Pampered Life. Vero is also home to the Vero Beach Outlets, a fine set of discount stores located near I-95 with Williams Sonoma and Columbia Sportswear stores, only 2 of the 50 or more stores available. The major hotels are the Vero Beach Hotel, with a noteworthy happy hour and menu, and Coste d’ Este, owned by the amazing Gloria Estefan. They are both beachfront hotels.
Nature lovers will enjoy a visit to our McKee Botanical Gardens or stopping to feed the manatees at the north side of the Vero Beach power plant. For the more cultured visitor, I recommend the Riverside Theatre (I volunteer there!) for one of their 6 off-Broadway shows during the season or the bi-monthly Comedy Club that bills top name entertainment and packs people in from miles around. The Vero Beach Museum of Art is right around the corner as well.
Dining options are plentiful in Vero Beach. For breakfast, my picks would be Mulligans Beach House (on the oceanfront), Baci (the best menu), or Lemon Tree, on Ocean Boulevard. For lunch I love dining oceanfront at Waldo’s Waterfront Grill, in the historic and funky Driftwood Hotel. Try the Traveler’s Shrimp with a variety of coconut, fried, and stuffed shrimp with monterey jack cheese. Suggested dinner options include the Ocean Grill for an expensive and delicious classic meal, Nino’s (on the beach) for Italian fare (I recommend the Cannelloni- it is perfect!), or Johnny D’s for quick eats such as a Chicken Caesar Salad or brick oven pizzas. Other eateries to try include Classic Cupcakes, The Patisserie, and Kata, for original Asian dishes and sushi.
Vero Beach is home to the Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, which is a Disney vacation club time share or private pay vacation destination that is open to the public for spa treatments and dining. They offer a seaside Sunday brunch and have Pirate character dining Monday nights with a bounty of barbecue items along with Pirate Goofy and Donald. The spa at the Disney Beach Resort is delightful, offering traditional services as well as some more exotic. My favorite spa technician is Brenda, who does the best deep tissue massage I have ever had. Better yet, Florida residents get a discount!
If you want to get out and explore Vero’s nature options, I recommend going kayaking at Round Island Beach Park (I almost always see manatees there). For fishing, try Sebastian Inlet for premier saltwater fishing or the Sebastian River for freshwater fishing. My husband and I en cajoymping only a few minutes outside Vero Beach at the Sebastian Inlet State Park. This is also a wonderful place for boating or kayaking.
Famous people from Vero Beach include author Carl Hiaasen, country music star Jake Owen, and Melody Pittman, writer of this blog. Well a girl can dream can’t she? So if you are looking for a beach vacation, without the stress of big crowds and a hectic pace, you should visit Vero Beach. You may even be lucky enough to find washed up treasure on the shores from the eleven 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleets that were shipwrecked during a hurricane. Thus far only $4.5 million has been recovered on our shores in gold coins.