Get ready to discover the 30+ best things to do in Vero Beach, FL – all recommended by a local. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or want to soak up the charm of our town, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in and maximize your time here in our little paradise. But first, a foreword.
Introduction to Vero Beach
Welcome to Vero Beach, Florida! Whether you’re here for a specific reason or simply looking for a stunning and underrated destination on the East Coast, you’re in for a treat. Our town may be lesser commercialized, but it’s undoubtedly one of the prettiest places you’ll ever visit.
As proud residents of this little slice of paradise, we love sharing our home with friends and tourists. And we’re thrilled to provide you with the ultimate guide to experiencing the best of Vero Beach, straight from a local’s perspective.
Nestled on the Atlantic Coast in Central East Florida, Vero Beach is part of the renowned Treasure Coast. Known for its beautiful beaches and historic Dodgers’ spring training facility, Vero Beach holds a special spot in our hearts.
Moving to Vero Beach, conveniently located halfway between Melbourne and West Palm Beach, has been a decision we’ve never regretted. Whenever we describe where we live to those who aren’t familiar, we mention our coordinates in Vero Beach.
1. Heavenly Beaches
The obvious choice for the best things to do in Vero Beach would be to visit its 22 miles of pristine and beautiful beaches along Florida’s Treasure Coast. Vero is known as the “gateway to the tropics,” and South Florida enjoys the same climate.
We don’t have the crowds in Vero Beach like some other Atlantic Coast beaches, but what we lack in people makes up for sea turtles. You’ll see their nests marked with orange triangles up and down the beaches. There are hundreds.
You know you’ve scored something as impressive as winning a jackpot if you see them hatch and head to the shoreline.
The most visited beaches are Humiston, Jaycee Park, South Beach, and more secluded spots like Turtle Trail. Humiston has fun playground equipment, and Jaycee is great for picnics and spotting wild rabbits. All are good for swimming and sunbathing, but remember that we have rip currents, which can be dangerous.
We get asked if Vero Beach is nice by many of our readers, and as you can see for yourself, it is stunning.
Near the Beach Offerings and Parks
Vero Beach offers a more serene and peaceful atmosphere, unlike other crowded Atlantic Coast beaches. And while we may have fewer people, we make up for it with something special – sea turtles! As you stroll along the shore, you’ll spot their nests marked with vibrant orange triangles. It’s a sight to behold. And if you’re lucky enough to witness the hatchlings making their way to the sea, it’s like hitting the jackpot!
There are several popular beaches to choose from in Vero Beach. Humiston, Jaycee Park, South Beach, and Turtle Trail are among the most frequented. Humiston boasts fun playground equipment, perfect for entertaining the little ones.
Jaycee Park is a fantastic spot for picnics and spotting wild rabbits. And all of these beaches offer swimming and sunbathing opportunities. However, we remind you to be cautious of rip currents, which can be dangerous.
Royal Palm Pointe Park is one of our favorites, with fountains, a splash pad, picnic tables, and ultimate Intracoastal views.
2. Indian River Lagoon
Discover the beauty of the Indian River Lagoon, nestled between the barrier island and downtown. You can enjoy exciting activities like boating, jet skiing, water skiing, and kayaking. And for those looking for a leisurely stroll or a bike ride, two stunning bridges await you, offering breathtaking views and photo opportunities.
If you prefer to admire the bridges from the land, head to A.W. Young Park or Royal Palm Pointe. These fantastic parks provide picnic facilities and spacious areas for social distancing and a chance to observe the bridges from a different perspective.
Royal Palm Pointe is especially popular for fishing and dolphin watching, and it even has an awesome splash pad for the little ones to enjoy.
3. Riverside Theatre
Come experience the excitement at Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, where I volunteered for several years. This vibrant venue is known for its fantastic programming, including six Broadway-style shows per season, a hilarious comedy zone every other month, and an entertaining dueling piano show.
For the upcoming 2023-2024 season, they have a stellar lineup you won’t want to miss! Enjoy captivating productions like Kinky Boots, Jersey Boys, and Million Dollar Quartet.
But the fun doesn’t stop there! On weekends before the shows, free music sets the mood and delicious food is available for purchase right outside the theater. It’s the perfect way to start your evening of entertainment.
And right next door, you’ll find the highly-acclaimed Children’s Theatre, guaranteed to delight both kids and adults alike. It’s no wonder they receive rave reviews and attract enthusiastic crowds.
4. Vero Beach Museum of Art
Welcome to the Vero Beach Museum of Art, boasting a wide-ranging collection of beautiful artwork. There are rotating galleries featuring state, national, and regional art, along with interactive art classes, a charming museum store, and a delightful cafe (catered by Wood n Spoon).
For those on a budget, mark your calendars for the one day each month when admission is free. Additionally, join in for a monthly art talk, where docents delve into captivating discussions about specific gallery artworks.
I always find myself drawn to the stunning works by Dale Chihuly, but I also recommend checking out the eye-catching soup can piece by Andy Warhol. Take advantage of the outdoor sculpture gardens, perfect for some fresh air and visual inspiration.
Please note that the museum is closed on Mondays.
5. BigShots Golf
BigShots Golf is the ultimate recreation center, offering two floors of state-of-the-art fun. This popular attraction features course-simulation golf, arcade games, and delicious food options, like grilled chicken satay and duck confit flatbread.
It’s the perfect place for the whole family to enjoy. If you’ve never experienced incredible golf centers of this nature before, get ready to be pleasantly surprised by just how enjoyable and addictive they can be.
6. Historic Dodgertown
Visit the Jackie Robinson Training Complex, formerly known as Dodgertown, easily one of the best things to do in Vero Beach! This iconic complex was a hub for the Dodgers’ spring training for many years until 2008. People still often inquire if the team practices here, showing this place’s lasting impact and popularity.
But Dodgertown has undergone a revitalization, and it now offers even more than before. You’ll find comfortable lodging, a 6,500-seat stadium, and spacious meeting areas alongside state-of-the-art training facilities.
But it doesn’t stop there! The Jackie Robinson Training Complex is not just limited to baseball. It hosts tournaments and training sessions for various sports, including softball, lacrosse, rugby, football, rowing, swimming, and soccer.
Teams from all around the world come here to hone their skills and enjoy top-notch facilities.
7. Environmental Learning Center
Discover the captivating Environmental Learning Center (ELC), a must-visit destination offering dynamic museum exhibits, interactive learning experiences, and exciting outdoor rentals. Explore the wonders of nature through invigorating boat rides, thrilling kayaking adventures, or engaging guided excursions.
The ELC also boasts delightful hiking paths that are perfect for all ages. Whether you’re a kid or an adult, you’ll find something truly enriching during your visit. Take advantage of their incredible lineup of events and seasonal activities.
On a personal note, even at two years old, our granddaughter loved visiting the ELC and playing with the hands-on displays, participating in the programming, and taking nature hikes.
8. McKee Botanical Garden
Wander through the breathtaking McKee Botanical Garden. Created by the talented Waldo Sexton, a local artist, and philanthropist, this stunning garden spans over 18 acres of tranquility and natural beauty. Whether you’re a passionate photographer or simply looking to immerse yourself in nature, McKee Gardens is the perfect spot.
Discover the wonders of native plants and trees, and revel in the enchanting lily ponds, bamboo forests, and captivating garden art. You’ll also find some extremely rare plants there, like shampoo gingers. No matter how often I visited, I always found new things to photograph and enjoy.
Vero Beach is home to some of Florida’s most unique and fascinating wildlife, including the beloved manatees. These gentle giants are a sight to behold, and there are several locations in the city where you can spot them in their natural habitat.
Head down to the Indian River Lagoon or my favorite, Round Island, to see these incredible creatures up close, or take a guided tour with one of the local tour operators. While at Round Island, 7.5 miles south of 17th St and A1A, bring a picnic or kayak; both are perfect for this natural habitat with a wheelchair-accessible walkway.
Either way, bring your camera, as these encounters are a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
10. Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge
Another great way to immerse yourself in the local natural beauty is to visit the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, the first of its kind in the country. This stunning sanctuary is home to over 30 species of birds and a variety of other wildlife.
Take a guided tour or explore the refuge on your own to discover the many wonders of this great find. You can enjoy a nice walk or hike in this spacious, picturesque setting; parking is easy and accessible.
11. Fondue at Kilted Mermaid
For a unique and delicious culinary experience, pop into Kilted Mermaid. This cozy gastropub offers an impressive selection of craft beers, wines, and cocktails and a remarkable fondue menu that will satisfy your cravings.
Kilted Mermaid’s laid-back, casual atmosphere makes it the perfect spot to relax with friends and family after a long day of exploring. Live adventurously — go for both the cheese and chocolate fondues.
For more dining choices, check out this 40+-Vero Beach restaurant guide.
12. Breakfast at C.J. Cannon’s
C.J. Cannon’s is a Vero Beach staple serving up delicious breakfast dishes for over 20 years. This charming diner-style eatery is known for its homestyle cooking and generous portions, making it a must-visit spot for anyone looking to start their day off on the right foot. It is also at the Vero Beach Airport, so you can watch the private planes land and take off.
Try some of their signature dishes, like the Pineapple Upside Down Waffle or Eggs California or Benedict.
13. Filthy’s Nightlife
Head to Filthy’s Fine Cocktails and Beer for a night out on the town. This trendy bar and lounge offers an impressive selection of craft beers, cocktails, and other libations, as well as live music and other forms of entertainment, such as a DJ on weekends.
Whether you’re looking for a perfect date night place or a lively spot to dance the night away, Filthy’s is the place to be.
14. Ocean Drive Boutiques
Vero Beach is home to various unique, locally-owned boutiques, and there’s no better place to shop for one-of-a-kind treasures than Ocean Drive, parallel to the beach. This charming street is lined with shops that offer everything from handmade jewelry to locally sourced goods and high-end home decor.
Whether searching for a souvenir to take home with you or just looking to browse, you will find something special on Ocean Drive, including rafts, sundries, t-shirts, and beach gear.
15. Vero Beach Book Center
Vero Beach Book Center is a must-visit destination for bibliophiles and those needing a good beach read. This independently-owned bookstore is one of the best in the state, with a massive selection of books, magazines, and other literary delights to choose from.
Stop in to browse the shelves, attend an in-person author event, or bring the kids in for the treasures found on the second floor that are even good enough to satisfy your Christmas shopping needs.
16. Indian River Citrus Museum
Learn about the fascinating local industry with a visit to the Indian River Citrus Museum. This fascinating museum celebrates the rich history of Vero Beach’s citrus industry, exploring everything from the early pioneers to the modern-day growers. Indian River is the citrus capital of North America—nearly eight million bushels of citrus ship from this location around the world annually.
Admire vintage orange crate labels, explore exhibits on everything from growing to harvesting, and sample some of the fresh, delicious fruit the area is known for.
17. Vero Beach Outlets
If you’re in the mood for some serious retail therapy, head to Vero Beach Outlets. Located just off I-95, this outdoor shopping complex offers an impressive selection of well-known brands and popular stores, with everything from fashion to home goods.
Columbia, Coach, and Restoration Hardware are some of the more popular designer and retail shops.
18. Walking Tree Brewery
Craft beer enthusiasts will want to experience Vero Beach’s very own Walking Tree Brewery. This modern brewery in Aviation District serves up an impressive selection of beers, including IPAs, stouts, and sours. Try their signature beer flight and sample some of their best brews, such as the White Walking Tree IPA and the Circadian Rhythm Coffee Porter.
Take a brewery tour to learn about brewing and see where the magic happens.
19. Crab Stop
Love seafood? Head to the Crab Stop for some of the freshest in town. This beloved restaurant is in Royal Palm Pointe and has been a locals’ favorite for years. Pick up some garlic crabs (their claim to fame!), fresh shrimp, or locally-caught catch-of-the-day fish, and don your bib for some serious eating!
My standing order is the Snow Deluxe Table Combo (great to share), with a pound of potatoes, two corn coblets, three clusters of snow crabs, a lobster, and a dozen jumbo shrimp. It is finger-licking good!
20. Poinsettia Groves Market
Are you craving a sweet and healthy snack in Vero Beach? Look no further than Poinsettia Groves Market on Route 1. This family-owned business has been serving delicious citrus fruits, jellies, and marmalades since the 1940s. Stop by year-round and sample some of their juicy grapefruit, sweet oranges, or tangy tangerines.
Poinsettia Groves also sells gift baskets and ships fruits across the country, a popular thing to do when visiting Indian River County. Psst…you can get #28 at this stop.
21. Costa d’Este Beach Resort
If you’re looking for a luxurious place to rest your head in Vero Beach, look no further than Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa. This oceanfront hotel, owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, has all the amenities to make your stay unforgettable, including private balconies with ocean views, a full-service spa, and on-site restaurants.
The hotel’s rooms are designed to provide a relaxing and tropical atmosphere, reflecting the essence of Vero Beach. Celebrated as one of the best beach resorts in Florida, Costa d’Este is worth the splurge. Do the Conga with Gloria, as I like to say.
22. Coffee House 1420
Coffee House 1420 is a mandatory stop in Vero Beach for all the coffee lovers out there. This cozy community coffee shop on 14th Avenue serves up the perfect cup of joe. Try their signature cinnamon toast latte, Chef Michael’s cappuccino, or one of their seasonal drinks.
Coffee House 1420 also offers delicious pastries, sandwiches, and bowls, making it a suitable breakfast or lunch spot. They are closed on Sundays.
23. Downtown VB Art Galleries
Downtown Vero Beach is a hub of art galleries featuring local and international artists. Stroll along 14th Avenue and 21st Street, and discover the beautiful works showcased in the galleries. Some must-see galleries include there and around Vero are:
- Gallery 14 (contemporary art from around the world)
- Flametree Clay Art Gallery (functional pottery and sculptures)
- Laughing Dog Gallery (paintings, photography, and mixed media)
- Highwaymen Galleries (collection of African-American artists who painted the Florida landscape in the mid-twentieth century)
First Friday of each month, bring the evening art stroll in downtown Vero, with galleries staying open late.
24. Casey’s Place
Casey’s Place is a family-owned restaurant on 14th Avenue that has been bringing people together for over 35 years. Casey’s serves up some of the town’s best pulled pork, tuna salad, and burgers. Their Cajun-seasoned fries perfectly complement their sandwiches, and the sweet tea will have you coming back for more.
25. Veteran’s Memorial Island Sanctuary
Anyone should appreciate the serene experience of feeding the squirrels at Veteran’s Memorial Island Sanctuary. This 20-acre park located on a barrier island off Vero Beach is a haven for animals, wildlife, and nature lovers. Take a stroll through the beautiful nature trails and spend some time observing the native birds, turtles, and alligators.
The highlight of the park is feeding the fearless squirrels by hand. They are so used to people feeding them that they will come right up to your feet looking for a bite.
26. The Village Shops
During your Vero Beach visit, don’t miss the Village Shops on A1A, known as the “Jewel of Indian River County.” With boutiques, restaurants, and outdoor seating areas, this shopping complex is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
Browse the latest fashion items at Coastal Comforts, gifts, and seasonal items at Noteworthy by Design, seek out unique home decor from Elegance by the Sea, or indulge in gourmet wines and foods at Alimentari Gourmet Market. The Village Shops on A1A will not disappoint!
27. Disney’s Vero Beach Resort
If you’re a Disney fan, you won’t want to miss the Vero Beach Disney Resort. This oceanfront resort, a Disney vacation club timeshare or private pay vacation destination open to the public for spa treatments and dining, is perfect for families and couples looking for a relaxing beach vacation with a touch of Disney magic.
The Disney property offers many activities, including fishing, kayaking, tennis, and themed character dining. You can also enjoy the resort’s gorgeous pool, first-class spa, and restaurants, which offer delicious food and stunning ocean views. Don’t miss buying your Disney trading pins from the gift shop.
Fancy a Mickey waffle? They’ve got those, too.
Disney Vero Beach Resort is special to us since our daughter’s wedding was there.
28. Try a Honeybell From Peterson Groves
Peterson’s Groves and Nursery is a local citrus farm that offers delicious fruits, namely citrus, including oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes. The farm also sells a unique Honeybell, an extra juicy citrus fruit that tastes like a mix of sweet (like a mandarin orange) and sour (like a grapefruit).
The refreshing honeybell is anticipated year-round and is a huge seller in the Indian River. Be sure to try one if you are here during the first part of the year.
29. Sebastian Inlet State Park
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the town and immerse yourself in nature, head to Sebastian Inlet State Park, a pet-friendly area a few miles south of Vero Beach. We love this beautiful park with various overnight options, including tent and RV camping. Enjoy the park’s hiking trails, fishing pier, and sandy shores. You may also want to do an airboat tour on your visit.
Sebastian Inlet is a great place to unwind, reconnect with nature, and enjoy some peace and quiet.
Check out these dynamic Sebastian restaurants!
30. Waldo’s at the Driftwood Hotel
For a delicious lunch or dinner, head to Waldo’s at the iconic Driftwood Hotel (another Waldo Sexton-designed property), where you can try their famous fish tacos. These tacos are made with fresh local fish, crispy cabbage, and a flavorful sauce and are served with a side of chips and salsa.
The restaurant also offers a nice selection of cocktails and beer and has the best beachfront address in Vero Beach.
I go for the Traveler’s Shrimp, with three kinds of shrimp that will knock your socks off. Try the coleslaw and pasta salad as your side items.
31. Vero Beach Fishing
Vero Beach is known for its exceptional fresh and saltwater fishing opportunities. Whether a seasoned angler or a beginner, you can enjoy a guided fishing trip and catch some of the most sought-after fish in the area, including snook, redfish, tarpon, and trout.
The fishing charters are available throughout the year and can accommodate groups of all sizes. Pack plenty of sunscreen and stay hydrated in the hot Florida sun. I recommend freshwater fishing on the Sebastian River. You may need help reeling them all in!
32. Standup Paddleboarding
Head to Sea Sup Go Paddle & Surf Company, where you can rent standup paddleboards and explore the gorgeous waterways of Vero Beach. Paddleboarding is a great way to get some exercise, soak up the sun, and enjoy the beauty of the natural surroundings.
The company offers guided tours, lessons, and rentals, so you’ll have a great time whether you’re a novice or an experienced paddler.
33. Riverside Cafe
Riverside Cafe is a popular seafood restaurant on the Indian River Lagoon. It attracts tourists and locals alike with its mouth-watering dishes and casual beachy vibe. The restaurant serves an abundance of seafood options, all expertly prepared, but burgers and quesadillas are always my go-to items.
Weekends are bumping’ at Riverside Cafe when the nightlife crowds swell to capacity. You might even see Vero Beach native and country music star Jake Owen if he is in town visiting.
34. Diving in the Treasure Coast Waters
Vero Beach offers some of the best diving opportunities in Florida. The Treasure Coast waters are home to numerous shipwrecks, underwater caves, and colorful marine life, making it a popular destination for diving enthusiasts.
You may also want to search for treasures lost in the underwater world after a tragic shipwreck years ago, hence our city’s nickname.
Fun Fact: A fantastic $4.5 million has been recovered in gold coins from the eleven 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleets shipwrecked during a hurricane.
What is Vero Beach Like?
Vero Beach is an elegant best-kept secret, mixed with a bit of hometown feel and great weather. With the country’s largest population of retired millionaire CEOs (primarily residing at John’s Island), Vero Beach has enormous wealth. That translates to a great selection of thrift and consignment shops with incredible merchandise.
I have never counted, but our town probably has nearly 100 resale shops. If you are looking for treasures and bargains, try Habitat for Humanity, Kaleidoscope Consignments, Humane Society Thrift Shop, and Hope Resale Boutique.
Vero Beach: Florida’s Treasure Coast Gem
I’m lucky to have lived in this gorgeous slice of paradise for a decade, and I can’t wait for you to visit! Life doesn’t get in a hurry in Vero Beach, and we appreciate and conserve our precious scenery and natural attractions.
I hope you love our town and make special travel memories here. Welcome!
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