14 Top Things to Do in Vero Beach, Florida

Small Town on Florida Barrier Island - Aerial
halbergman / Getty Images

Located on Florida's east coast, halfway between West Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral, Vero Beach is a hub for those looking for a place to relax. With access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon, the city offers plenty of opportunities for water adventures. Vero Beach blends the historic and the modern, too, as it was home to the first integrated Major League Baseball spring training site in the South. Truly, there is something to do for everyone visiting this city on the Treasure Coast of Florida. Here are the top things to do while in Vero Beach.

01 of 14

Enjoy the Outdoors at Sebastian Inlet State Park

Sebastian Inlet State Park, Florida, USA.

Jill Bazeley / Flickr

Florida, USA

Wildlife lovers have plenty to enjoy at this 1,000-acre Florida state park, located on a barrier island 6 miles north of Vero Beach. Search for the more than 190 varieties of birds that visit the island every year (ask for a checklist at the ranger station). Also, keep an eye out for nesting turtles, dolphins, manatees, and the most endangered whale in the world, the right whale, which sometimes appears offshore in January and February.

For adventure seekers, check out the three Florida "mountain" biking trails or try surfing in one of the few locations in the state where you can catch a wave. There are also two jetties for fishing, or visitors can relax on the park's 3 miles of beach.

Think there's too much to do all in one day? There's a campsite with water views that can accommodate RVs and tents. Campers should remember to take a look at the skies. The park's secluded location allows for star gazing you wouldn't be able to enjoy anywhere else nearby.

02 of 14

Visit the McLarty Treasure Museum

Description of the lost Spanish treasure fleet of 1715 at McClarty Treasure Museum State Park

Jon. D. Anderson / Flickr

13180 North A1A, Vero Beach, FL 32963, USA
Phone +1 772-589-2147

Shipwrecks, pirates, and lost treasure are as much a part of Florida history as theme parks and spring break. Visitors to the McLarty Treasure Museum will learn of 11 Spanish ships that were destroyed in a 1715 hurricane, during which only 1,500 people survived and the gold and silver cargo sank into the ocean. Taking refuge off the coast of Vero Beach at the site of the current museum, the survivors, with help sent from St. Augustine, worked to salvage the lost riches.

The shipwreck survivors' story of fending off nature and pirates is told in detail at the museum via a movie and artifacts, while the boardwalk out back shows the same view the survivors had more than 300 years ago. McLarty Treasure Museum is located inside the Sebastian Inlet State Park and requires park admission fees along with an additional $2 per person entry to explore the museum.

03 of 14

Take a Private Boat Tour of the Indian River Lagoon

Orange Morning
Chad Elberson / Getty Images

Get to know Vero Beach from a place that gives it life—the Indian River Lagoon. Made up of three separate rivers, the lagoon goes through the city and is home to 370 varieties of birds and 2,200 animal species, including green and leatherback sea turtles, roseate spoonbills, manatees, and dolphins. While you could set out on the water on your own, exploring the area via a guided tour allows you to enjoy time with friends and family without having to know boating laws or rules. Select a wildlife cruise to learn more about the animals in the air, water, and surrounding land, or choose a sunset cruise to end the day.

Private boat rentals are typically covered to help protect you from the sun. Operators also allow food and drinks onboard, and well-behaved dogs are welcome. A few established choices in the area include Treasure Coast Cruise, River Explorer Boat Tours, and Vero Tackle & Watersports.

04 of 14

Explore the Vero Beach Museum of Art

Vero Beach Museum of Art

Courtesy of Vero Beach Museum of Art

3001 Riverside Park Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963-1874, USA
Phone +1 772-231-0707

Opened in 1986 and located on the Indian River, the Vero Beach Museum of Art (VBMA) showcases a wide variety of art mediums, ranging from sketches and glassworks to sculptures and photography. Visiting exhibits have featured American folk art and Picasso showcases, while permanent exhibits include several pieces by Dale Chihuly. Considered the premier art venue of the Treasure Coast, VBMA also hosts music events, a children's arts festival, and onsite art classes for the public. Children under the age of 17 are admitted for free, and on the last Saturday of every month, everyone can enter at no cost.

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05 of 14

Take a Stroll on the Indian River Lagoon Greenway

Vero Beach, FL 32962, USA
Phone +1 772-794-0701

Open to bike riders, walkers, and joggers, the Indian River Lagoon Greenway is a public trail system maintained by the Indian River Land Trust and offers a glimpse into the region's unique ecosystem. Trails include the 1-mile, out-and-back boardwalk, which leads to an overlook of the Indian River Lagoon, and the roughly 2.5-mile Loop Trail. Whatever trail you take, expect to see plenty of wildlife, including birds, as well as mangrove forests. Motorized vehicles are not permitted. Dogs must be leashed while on the trail and scooped after. The trails are open year-round, rain or shine.

06 of 14

Sip a Brew at a Local Brewery

Walking Tree Brewery

Walking Tree Brewery / Facebook

Home to hundreds of breweries, Florida has become one of the top places in the country to enjoy locally created beer. That includes the three in Vero Beach. Located in the historic Diesel Plant, American Icon Brewery serves IPAs, milk stouts, and pilsners alongside its menu of burgers, pizzas, and appetizers. Utilizing local Florida fruits and with a 540-barrel capacity, Sailfish Brewing Company's selection of IPAs, stouts, and sours make a statement in its taproom and kitchen. And housed inside a 1945 aviation supply warehouse, Walking Tree Brewery is as dedicated to producing excellent beers as it is to protecting the local waterways. Several of its beers have been selected Best Florida Beer medal winners, including its Barnacled Manatee Barleywine and Prop Root English Pale Ale.

07 of 14

Birding at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge

White Pelican Fishing Trio
Kenneth Keifer / 500px / Getty Images
Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Vero Beach, FL 32963, USA

The first national wildlife refuge in the United States, Pelican Island has been protecting wildlife on the Treasure Coast for 120 years. The small island, along with the 5,400 acres of land and water surrounding it, offers nesting and feeding opportunities for the birds that call it home.

Bring a pair of binoculars and head out on the walking trails featuring salt marshes and mangroves. The observation tower and boardwalk area also give an overview of the preserve and the river. Anhingas, brown pelicans, ibis, kingfishers, warblers, and roseate spoonbills are some of the 130 different bird species you may observe. Keep an eye out for other wildlife that lives here, including the protected gopher tortoise, manatees, and dolphins.

08 of 14

Shop for Clothes, Antiques, and Other Souvenirs

Vero Beach Outlets

Courtesy of Vero Beach Outlets

Visitors who love shopping and finding great deals will want to head to the Vero Beach Outlets. With brands such as Coach, Addidas, Crocs, Kay Jewelry, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Michael Kors having stores there, finding high-quality gifts and treats is simple. There's even a free VIP club visitors can join for even more savings.

Have an affinity for vintage goods or one day dream of purchasing an item that can pay for your retirement? The Wildwood Antique Mall of Vero Beach has 130 antique dealers who sell lighting, clothes, art, plates, and other pieces. Head over when you need a break from the sun or are just looking for something different to pass the time.

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09 of 14

Go Fishing

Vero Beach, FL - fisherman fishing

Rune / Flickr

Whether you prefer freshwater or saltwater fishing, the Vero Beach area has plenty of ways to catch something for sport or dinner. Looking to reel in some deep-sea treasures? Hire a charter boat and spend the day catching swordfish, mahi-mahi, and wahoo. Want to stay closer to land for your meal? Visit one of the local jetties or piers for redfish and flounder. If you're looking to catch some largemouth bass, head about an hour south and hire a guide at Lake Okeechobee.

10 of 14

Visit the Indian River Citrus Museum

Heritage and Citrus Museum

Courtesy of Indian River Citrus Museum

2140 14th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960-3432, USA
Phone +1 772-770-2263

Citrus has been a part of Florida since the 16th century when the Spaniards brought it over, and one of the best places to get it is in Indian River Lagoon country. The citrus industry here grew to such prominence in the late 1800s that the United States government restricted the name "Indian River Citrus" to the tangy fruit grown only within a 200-mile radius.

Discover more about this rich history at the Indian River Citrus Museum. Full of artifacts and authentic historic citrus crate labels, the museum paints a picture of when citrus was king in the Sunshine State. Open Tuesday through Friday, the museum is always free, although donations are welcome.

11 of 14

Head to the Beach

Scenic View Of Beach Against Clear Blue Sky
Dana Rogers / EyeEm / Getty Images

Anyone interested in soaking up the sun's rays and enjoying the salt air has plenty of opportunities to go to the shore. With 10 public beach areas, the city has options for every type of beach lover. Treasure Shores Park is more secluded, whereas Wabasso Beach Park offers a grocery store to grab a bite to eat, a reef to snorkel in, and a popular surfing location. If you have kids in tow, check out Humiston Beach Park. Voted one of the top beaches for families in the United States, it has playground equipment, restaurants, and beach access. Nature lovers, meanwhile, can head to Ambersands Beach Park, located inside the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge and featuring a habitat area for endangered green sea turtles.

12 of 14

Hit the Links

Putting green at American Golf Club Vero Beach

Courtesy of American Golf Club Vero Beach

Home to 13 golf courses, some of which are open to the public, Vero Beach offers plenty of opportunities for golfers to spend time teeing off. Sandridge Golf Club is a county facility with two courses, including one with a par-4 hole considered one of the hardest in the southern part of the state. A mile from the ocean, American Golf Club of Vero Beach has 27 holes, along with a driving range and a 19th hole to grab a drink and a bite to eat. And with both an 18-hole course and a shorter executive course, Vista Plantation Golf Course gives players of all levels time on the greens.

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13 of 14

Pay Your Respects at Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary

100 Dahlia Ln, Vero Beach, FL 32963, USA

Sitting on a barrier island off the mainland, Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary was created by the county in the 1960s to honor those who served in the United States Armed Forces. With tributes to Indian River County residents who died in combat, the sanctuary's paved shaded walkways, benches, and access to sit on the sand offer a peaceful place for quiet reflection.

14 of 14

Stroll the Grounds of McKee Botanical Garden

Cycas Siamensis (Cycas Panzhihuaensis) at Mckee Botanical Gardens in Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida USA
Norm Lane / Getty Images
350 US-1, Vero Beach, FL 32962-2906, USA
Phone +1 772-794-0601

On lands purchased initially to create a citrus grove, McKee Botanical Garden is both a historical tribute to roadside attractions and a peaceful place to enjoy plants and nature. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the garden (formerly known as McKee Jungle Gardens) was one of the most popular attractions in Florida in the 1940s. After other attractions entered the state, however, it saw a drop in attendance and revenue, and eventually closed for two decades.

Fortunately, local preservation efforts in the early 1990s saved 18 of the original 80 acres by exposing the overgrown trails. The garden reopened in its current iteration in 2021 and is today home to more than 10,000 plants, a children's garden, and an onsite cafe that offers a full menu of salads, sandwiches, and desserts.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is Vero Beach best known for?

    With access to the Atlantic Ocean and subtropical temperatures, Vero Beach is known for its outdoor activities. With plenty of golf courses, the opportunity to fish for sailfish or tarpon, reefs to snorkel, and plenty of places to take out a watercraft, there's always an activity to find in Vero Beach.

  • Does Vero Beach have a boardwalk?

    There are multiple public boardwalks in Vero Beach; some are located in parks, while others are on the beach. Jaycee Park is home to the longest boardwalk in Vero Beach and allows visitors to stroll and access the beach. The park next door offers pavilions and a playground. There are also restrooms and several restaurants nearby.

  • What is there to do in Vero Beach at night?

    Families can visit Safari Golf & Game to play putt-putt golf, enjoy batting cages, and hit up the game room. Adults wanting to get out in the evenings can visit local breweries, and cigar bars, or enjoy a night out at The Comedy Zone.

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14 Top Things to Do in Vero Beach, Florida