Charity De Souza is a Florida native and travel enthusiast. Traveling to over 50 countries abroad and residing in 6, she has a passion for exploring new cultures. While Central Florida is where she calls home, her favorite travel memories include skydiving in Switzerland and watching the sunset in Morocco.
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Famous for its cultural attractions and idyllic coastline, Vero Beach’s lack of tourist crowds and tranquil landscapes makes it an appealing destination throughout the year. Located on the Treasure Coast, this sophisticated hamlet boasts miles of uncrowded beaches, a vibrant arts and culture scene and plenty of natural wonders to explore. From its historic downtown to colorful gardens and lush nature reserves, here are the best things to do in Vero Beach.
Vero Beach is home to an array of ideal spots where you can soak up the sunshine and enjoy a day of water sports with the entire family. Wabasso Beach Park has a quiet stretch of sand and calm waters that are great for swimming, Golden Sands Beach Park offers a family-friendly picnic area and lifeguards, while Jaycee Park boasts eight acres of oceanfront with a playground, boardwalk and large picnic area.
Treasure Coast Seaplanes offers one of Florida’s most unique eco-tours. Passengers embark on an exciting journey, as the amphibious aircraft enables adrenaline junkies to see Vero Beach by land, sea, and air. The tours fly low along the Vero Beach coastline toward Sebastian Inlet, offering a bird’s eye view of the area and the chance to take some truly breathtaking photos. As the tour continues, you’ll travel over Indian River Lagoon, which is the most biologically diverse estuary in North America and home to more than 10,000 species of plants and animals.
The Treasure Coast area, including Vero Beach, gives visitors and locals a unique craft beer experience with nine breweries and one winery, and is still growing. The tour takes you to from small nano-breweries to larger breweries and introduces you to a vibrant, diverse group of entrepreneurs who together are redefining the character of The Treasure Coast.
Full of native plants and tropical botanical plants, McKee Botanical Garden invites you to wander through its scenic pathways and enjoy its tranquil ambiance. Walk past a grove of regal palms or pass beautiful streams filled with flowers, as this garden is home to the state’s largest collection of water lilies. Designated on the National Register of Historic Places, the garden hosts art exhibitions, educational programs and special events.
If you’re looking for a dose of culture in Vero Beach, visit the Vero Beach Museum of Art. You’ll find regional, state and national art exhibitions in addition to a sculpture garden, studio art and a state-of-the-art auditorium. Admire full-size sculptures, art glass, paintings and other genres with a focus on American art and Florida artists, while seven studio classrooms and an art library hosts classes and workshops.
A 64-acre preserve that boasts 1.5 miles of elevated wooden boardwalks, the Environmental Learning Center is a great place to take the entire family. You have plenty of outdoor adventures at your fingertips, from exploring the peaceful lagoon, canoeing past beautiful vistas and hopping on a pontoon boat ride. There’s also an Interactive Museum with aquariums and hands-on exhibits such as a 145-gallon touch tank.
A great place to spot brown and white pelicans, the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 40 varieties of birds that can be seen from the historic jungle trail and boardwalk. Observe more than 200 varieties of fish, from sturgeon to pipefish, while Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and West Indian manatees regularly make an appearance. The refuge is also home to the elusive bobcat, river otters and marsh rabbits.
Learn real-life stories of sunken treasures at McLarty Treasure Museum, where they showcase an array of artifacts, tools and memorabilia. On July 31st, 1715 there was a fleet of 11 ships that were traveling from Cuba back to Spain and got caught in a hurricane, which resulted in a wreck off the Florida coast. Called the 1715 Plate Fleet, they were carrying silver and other treasures, and this museum contains many of the relics that were found in the wreckage.
Considered by biologists to be one of the most significant nesting area for loggerhead sea turtles in the Western Hemisphere, Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge is one of Florida’s most treasured areas. Make reservations to go on one of the guided turtle watches offered in June and July. Here visitors will be able to see as many as 1,000 nests per mile that total up to 20,000 each season.
A short drive from Vero Beach takes you to Sebastian Inlet State Park, one of the most popular parks for surfing on the East Coast. Earning its stripes as a bonafide surf mecca, Sebastian Inlet is also fantastic for saltwater fishing. Catch fresh snook, redfish, and bluefish from the jetties, try your hand at riding the waves, or pick up a sun-kissed tan sunbathing on the three miles of superb beach.
If you want to learn something new about the region’s history, visit the Vero Beach Heritage Center & Citrus Museum to see how the commercial cultivation of citrus was born. There are fascinating exhibits and relics to browse that study the history of the Indian River citrus industry. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, you can see photographs, memorabilia and crate labels.
If discovering the remains of ancient sharks, saber-tooth cats, mammoths, mastodons, sloths and giant armadillos sounds like an exciting adventure to you, visit Paleo Discoveries for a day of fun. You’ll meet at a local site and expert guides will help you find genuine Florida fossils that can be up to a million years old. The tours are walk-in or canoe tours in shallow rivers and streams that allow you to discover your own piece of history.
A perfect spot to have a day out with the family, Humiston Park is nestled against the ocean and offers a playground for kids. Take advantage of the on-site grills to have a family barbecue or relax under the shade and watch a colorful sunset. Located in the middle of Vero Beach’s shopping district it’s easy to combine a day of sunshine and retail therapy, while it’s also popular for hosting arts and crafts shows and festivals throughout the year.
Support the local community by catching a performance at the Vero Beach Theatre Guild, which has shows put on by local actors. There are five main-stage productions every year in addition to a summer production. This intimate theater ensures you’ll always have a good seat, where you can catch a comedy, drama or musical and experience the stellar performances at this local theatre.