Are you looking for a super fun, relaxed, and beautiful beach in Florida? Look no further than Vero Beach Florida. Not only does it have all that, but there are tons of things to do in Vero Beach too.
This sophisticated barrier island city is a haven for water sports, fishing, and all things nature. While you could happily spend all your time outside, there are also tons of indoor activities. There’s the Vero Beach Museum of Art, the Environment Learning Center, and many more.
With a charming downtown, ocean views, galleries, golf courses, art galleries, and parks, there’s something for all tastes. Check out these twelve things to do in Vero Beach for your next vacation.
Where is Vero Beach?
Vero Beach is on Florida’s Atlantic Coast on a barrier island across Indian River Lagoon. Vero Beach is a coastal town between Miami and Orlando – both can be reached in around 2 hours.
If you are flying in, the nearest airport to Vero Beach is Melbourne, Florida, which is 30 minutes away. We flew in and out of Orlando airport, which is 90 minutes away as it has more flight options and is typically cheaper too. Vero Beach was the final stop on our Florida family road trip.
How far is Vero Beach from Disney World?
Vero Beach is a fantastic destination that’s one of the best beaches near Disney World. It’s just an hour and 40 minutes drive to Disney from Vero Beach.
Is Vero Beach good for kids?
Vero Beach is a popular destination for the entire family. Often described as the ‘Hamptons of Florida,’ it is full of fun things to do in Vero Beach. There are beautiful beaches, museums, gardens, and wildlife areas to explore. If your kids like the outdoors and exploring, they will love Vero Beach.
What is Vero Beach known for?
It is a low-key vacation destination that’s best known for its beaches. This Florida vacation spot is an outdoor lovers’ haven. It has become one of our favorite coastal towns in Florida.
Does Vero Beach have a boardwalk?
Yes, Vero Beach has a beautiful boardwalk. Jaycee Beach has the longest section of boardwalk in the area. Make sure to check out Jaycee Park too. It’s a beautiful place to walk while taking in the beach scenery and natural beauty.
1. Mel Fischer’s Treasure Museum
Technically located in Sebastian, this day trip is a quick and easy drive from Vero Beach. The museum was opened in 1992 by the world-famous treasure hunter Mel Fischer.
Mel moved to Vero Beach back in 1963 when he started searching for the famous 1715 Fleet. Over the next seven years, he successfully salvaged it, and this is where the nickname “Florida’s Treasure Coast” comes from. His family is continuing to search for treasures. When we visited, they were actively looking for divers in Key West! They are currently working on four big salvage projects. If you are interested in joining the treasure hunters, Read about them here.
Come visit Mel Fischer’s Treasure Museum and see some of his finds over the years. There is even a 5lb gold bar that you are allowed to touch, precious metals, and much more. Make sure to stop by the gift shop. Our kids loved the book selection and gold treasure replica coins.
2. McKee Botanical Garden
The McKee Botanical Garden is another one of the best things to do in Vero Beach. We were surprised by it and spent way more time here than we anticipated. Stepping inside McKee Botanical Garden is like setting foot in a tropical paradise.
The botanical garden was started by Arthur McKee and Waldo Sexton. They purchased 80 acres of land, which was originally used for growing citrus. Then, seeing the potential of the land, they decided to hire a landscape architect.
During the 1940s, the gardens were one of the most popular attractions in Florida. Today the garden is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nature lovers will be overawed at the 10,000 or so species of plants on display.
If you are traveling with kids, let them explore the children’s garden. There are swings, a splash park, and a shipwreck too. This is the perfect place to bring the whole family for a fun day out. Make sure you don’t go to the children’s area until you are done exploring the rest of the botanical garden. We made the mistake of going there first. Our kids had so much fun and were both soaked from the splash pad!
3. See Manatees at Round Island Beach Park
One of the best things to do in Vero Beach is to see the manatees. These huge yet majestic creatures are an absolute pleasure to watch.
Round Island Beach Park actually consists of two parks. There’s the Riverside Park and the Oceanside Park. You can enjoy the walking trails, have a picnic, and of course, spot manatees. Either search for manatees from your kayak or on the observation boardwalks.
Obviously, we can’t guarantee you will see a manatee, but there’s a super high chance. Make sure you check every gray-colored rock to see if it’s a manatee!
4. Stay on the beach
We highly suggest staying in a hotel right on Vero Beach. On our most recent visit, we stayed at Kimpton Vero Beach, located on Ocean Drive, which was the perfect location for us. It is one of the best places to stay in Vero Beach.
We loved that we could walk to many of the best restaurants in Vero Beach. We could easily spend time on the beach or at our hotel’s pool. The Kimpton Vero Beach had everything we needed. We didn’t actually have to leave if we didn’t want to.
If you are traveling with kids like we are, it was a great location for us. We could see the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean on our balcony (thanks to the kids waking up early) and the sunset on the beach every night. Plus, being able to walk to local restaurants for dinner or breakfast is another perk. Loading kids up in the car is a hassle for a short drive.
5. Visit the Environmental Learning Center
The Environmental Learning Center, or ELC, makes for a fantastic educational day out. This Vero Beach attraction will keep your kid’s minds and body’s entertained for hours.
The ELC helps visitors learn about the Indian River Lagoon and related conservation efforts. Located on Wabasso Island, this 64-acre nature preserve is a super fun Vero Beach activity.
While there, you must explore the 1.5 miles of boardwalks. The nature trails wind in and around the preserve providing spectacular views and opportunities for wildlife viewing. Some of the boardwalks had nice side rails so we could let our 1-year-old walk freely, but most of them did not, so we had to carry her or use our stroller.
Inside the learning center, there is an awesome touch tank. The kids (and adults) will love this interactive experience. You can also take an exciting pontoon boat tour on the lagoon. This pontoon tour includes a two-hour guided tour. You can also rent see-through canoes and go on kayak tours.
6. Vero Beach Museum of Art
Are you searching for some indoor Vero Beach activities? Why not visit the Vero Beach Museum of Art? This is not your typical art museum. There is a really fun kids’ art zone for kids. Our son Atlas loved the art zone. I had to peel him out of there after an hour because we had somewhere else we had to be.
This museum of art actually comprises of five different galleries. Not only is this a top Vero Beach attraction, but it’s one of the best museums in the area. At the gallery, you can expect to see pieces by Florida and national artists.
There are a ton of different mediums to look at and interact with. There are paintings, glass art, photographs, videos, and sculptures. Art lovers will revel at the 50,000 square foot of art space on display. There are more than 800 art pieces on display, so there’s plenty to see!
Head outside, and you can visit the sculpture garden, which opened in 2007. There are also a number of community outreach programs to connect the public with art.
7. Airboat Ride
This is one of the best things to do in Vero Beach for adventure lovers. You can take a guided trip with Cracker Airboat Rides. This adventure outfitter has been providing enjoyable trips for nearly two decades.
You’ll be taken down the St. Johns River on an airplane engine-powered boat. You can take the nine or eleven-seater boat at top speed!
Not only is this a super fun trip, but it’s also educational. Your guide will tell you about the local wildlife and plant species.
This is the perfect family fun adventure that will keep everyone entertained.
8. Go Fishing
If you love fishing, you’ll want to head to Vero Beach. Where to fish depends on what and how you want to catch.
There are opportunities to go boat, kayak, and paddleboard fishing. There are also traditional forms like shore and wade fishing.
If you want to catch sheepshead and tarpon, then head to the mangroves. If you want to try surf fishing, check out the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.
There are plenty of fishing charters and guides in Vero Beach who will take you to the best spots. Whether you are an old hand or new to the sport, Vero Beach is great.
9. Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge
The Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is another top Vero Beach attraction. It is also the U.S.’s first-ever national wildlife refuge dating to 1903.
This is the perfect location to see both brown and white pelicans. Whilst brown pelicans can be seen year-round, white pelicans appear between fall and early spring.
There aren’t just pelicans at this wildlife refuge. There are more than 40 varieties of birds, making it a great place for bird watchers. A vast array of fish, including sturgeon, mackerel, and bluefish, also live in the refuge.
It’s not just birds and fish found at Pelican Island. Bobcats, river otters, and marsh rabbits have also been spotted on the island. The Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge also actively protects the local sea turtles.
10. Riverside Theatre
Visiting the Riverside Theatre is a fantastic indoor thing to do in Vero Beach. This theater is a top local performing arts venue. So, why not catch a show when you are in the city? You could have a theater trip date night or visit with the family.
There are numerous Broadway and off-Broadway shows hosted by the theater. If musicals and shows aren’t your thing, then there’s also comedy and live music. If you are looking for an academically rewarding trip, attend one of their guest lectures.
11. American Icon Brewery
What can be better than visiting a brewery after spending the day at the beach? The American Icon Brewery is in the heart of historic downtown Vero Beach. This is one of the main attractions in Vero Beach for adults, but if you are like us, a traveling family, bring the kids too!
Believe it or not, this building was previously the Vero Beach Municipal Power Plant. Now it’s been restored but also preserved to reflect the city’s history.
The American Icon Brewery prides itself on its interesting hand-crafted beers and tasty food. They have also recently been voted ‘Best Brewery in the Treasure Coast. They have nine craft beers permanently on tap, with other unique flavor combinations being added.
12. Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area
The Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area has more than 400 acres of land. There are so many activities to do at Oslo Riverfront you’ll be there all day.
One of the best things you can do in this nature area is explore the trails. There are so many that you’ll have most of them to yourselves. You can wander through oak trees, mangrove wetlands, and native plants. It’s a seriously beautiful place to walk whilst connecting to nature.
For those interested in birding and wildlife, this is a top Vero Beach activity. While in the wetland area, keep your eyes peeled for Florida’s manatees.
One of the best things about Oslo Riverfront is that it’s free to enter. This is great if you are on a budget and looking for a fun activity.