Vero Beach is a little Florida city, with Atlantic-facing beaches on a barrier island beyond the Indian River Lagoon. While too many of Florida’s waterfront cities have expired to claustrophobic overdevelopment, tacky traveler traps, and high-rises, Vero Beach remains a breath of fresh air. Though classified as a city, Vero, with a strict policy that no building can exceed four stories, feels more like a seaside village. It’s the rare point we didn’t know still existed in the Sunshine State. Unique in several ways, Vero is a quietly sophisticated coastal hamlet where blue-collar workers happily coexist with billionaires. With its offerings: a world-class art museum, top-shelf street shopping, scenic natural wonders, and the best Atlantic beach south of Georgia at Vero beach.
New ideal destination at Vero beach
If you see for peace of mind? It’s amazed to me the lack of people on Vero’s best beaches. Walking long expanses of white sand, you’re likely to meet more sandpipers, pelicans, and turtles than humans. Talking of turtles, over one-fourth of the world’s sea turtles nest in Vero and surrounding shores as they have since the dawning of time. A late night turtle nesting trip is a must for any nature enthusiast. In early June, I was lucky enough to witness a coffee-table-sized Mama sea turtle lay her annual 120 eggs (which look just like ping-pong balls) into the sand as shooting stars lightened up the night sky overhead. Afterward, we watched the large turtle schlep back into the blackness of the ocean for another lap around the Atlantic. The babies hatch two months later to start their life at sea, and though some finally survive, the ones that do reverse to Vero Beach to the very place where they hatched. Incredible.
Vero’s restaurants hold unique thrills for seafood fans with fresh local fish that you might nevermore have heard of – and won’t likely see in other parts of the country: permit, pompano, cobia, tripletail, unicorn filefish, snook, freshwater crappie, or any one of the 15 varieties of Grouper. The most beautiful Grouper dish to be had in Vero is at The Tides (3103 Cardinal Drive), Chef Leanne Kelleher’s familiar, upscale dining destination. It’s no surprise they’ve collected dining awards for their pan seared potato crusted local grouper – with jumbo lump crabmeat, roasted shiitake mushrooms, shallots, and Indian River citrus. If seafood’s not your task, you cannot go wrong with any of the access at The Tides. And the wine list has won the Award of Excellence from The Wine Spectator for 15 consecutive years
Beautiful art, quality theatre, opera and cinema, Vero has all of these in spades. The town’s historic downtown characteristics at least a dozen marvelous art galleries. Worth searching is the monthly First Friday Gallery Stroll held from 6 – 9 pm the first Friday of each month. Because for a nearby small town, this is one excellent spot. Meticulously curated exhibits, film screenings, painting and sculpture collections, library, and art classes for all ages – there is something for everyone. It is the nation’s most prominent art museum built by private funds, which speaks to the art-mindedness, devotedness, and affluence of Vero citizens.
If you need to go anywhere in Florida from Vero Beach, Go Florida Shuttle could be a reliable and comfortable ground transportation.
It is not a town of low visitor shops. The shopping variety in Vero rivals nearby Palm Beach. Noteworthy are the upscale boutiques on and around Ocean Drive as well as the beautiful and different Village Shops on Route A1A. The Ocean Drive Farmer’s Market (ranked #11 in the U.S. by Clean Eats Magazine) occurs each Saturday from 8 am to 12Noon. Vendors give a broad array of good food options, fresh produce, gift items, baked goods.
What do Gloria Estefan and Walt Disney have in common? For one, they’ve both built fab four-star resorts in Vero Beach overlooking the Atlantic. Estefan’s Costa D’Este rises like a white art deco sand dollar and brings a uniquely stylish splash of South Beach Miami panache and excellent cuisine to Ocean Drive. Just north of Costa, the minty seafoam-colored Vero Beach Hotel and Spa is a beautiful fortress of tranquility with two ocean-view eateries: the relaxed poolside Heaton’s Reef, and the casually elegant Cobalt.