Soooo we came across this article written about a year ago...and although it isn't exactly current, it's got the right idea baby! Xaque Gruber, the writer is on point and we applaud his take on Vero. Obviously, we care to comment and did. Enjoy!
While too many of Florida’s waterfront cities have succumbed to claustrophobic overdevelopment, tacky tourist traps, and high-rises, Vero Beach remains the 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 place we didn’t know still existed in the Sunshine State.
Unique in many ways, Vero is a quietly sophisticated coastal hamlet where blue collar workers happily coexist with billionaires. Among its offerings: a world class art museum, top shelf street shopping, scenic natural wonders, and the best Atlantic beach south of Georgia. While most flock to Miami, Orlando, Tampa or the Keys (let them), Vero’s under-the-radar charms makes it the real resort getaway. It’s unsurprising that Oprah recently strolled the town’s Ocean Drive shopping district in broad daylight completely unnoticed. WE SPIT OUT OUR COFFEE WHEN WE READ THAT! OPRAH?!? HERE?!? OMGGGG!
HERE IS THE LIST:
1. NATURAL WONDERS
Looking for peace of mind? It’s astonishing to me the lack of people on Vero’s perfect beaches. Walking long stretches of white sand, you’re likely to meet more pelicans, sandpipers, and turtles than humans. Speaking of turtles, over one fourth of the world’s sea turtles nest in Vero and surrounding beaches as they have since the dawn of time.
In fact, a late night turtle nesting tour is a must for any nature lover. In early June, I was fortunate enough to witness a coffeetable-sized Mama sea turtle lay her annual 120 eggs (which look just like ping pong balls) into the sand as shooting stars lit up the night sky overhead. Afterward, we watched the massive turtle schlep back into the blackness of the ocean for another lap around the Atlantic. The babies hatch two months later to begin their life at sea, and though few ultimately survive, the ones that do return to Vero Beach to the very spot where they were hatched. Incredible. PEOPLE THIS IS THE REAL DEAL, IT'S AN UNBELIEVABLE EXPERIENCE TO WATCH!!! We'd like to add how refreshing it is to witness the residents' commitment to conservation here. PEOPLE ACTUALLY CARE!!
The Sea Turtle Nesting Tour at Sebastian Inlet State Park:
The Indian River Lagoon, which runs between the mainland and the barrier island, is the most biodiverse lagoon ecosystem in Earth’s Northern hemisphere. Home to more than 3,000 species of plants and animals, it’s best explored by kayak with Florida Outdoor Center’s nature guide Kristen Beck. On my recent kayak voyage, a friendly dolphin swam over to check me out. http://www.kayaksetc.com/ South Beach Place also recommends doing a Stand-Up Paddle tour! So many awesome local companies here! a fav is Paddles by the Sea www.paddlesbythesea.com
If you’ve never taken an Airboat Tour, you’re missing out on an up close and personal Florida wildlife extravaganza. We glided over the marshy waters of the Blue Cypress Recreation area with Captain Lawrence Kyzer on his Florida Cracker Airboat. Alligators of every size swam around us navigating through cinematic swamps bursting with blooming lotus blossoms. If you’re lucky, you’ll also see osprey nesting, herons devouring catfish, and swamp rabbits darting about. Yes, swamp rabbits are real.
We'd love to add that some of our guests have used Gator Bait Airboat Adventures and had a fabulous time! (772) 766-2629
And if you prefer to experience Vero’s waterways with a cocktail in hand, allow Captain Bruce Jackson and his Moonraker (a forty foot luxury Manta catamaran sailboat) to deepen your appreciation for nature. The Moonraker’s crew will serve whatever food or drink you bring aboard. Smooth and relaxing sunset or moonrise cruises depart from the Vero Beach City Marina. Perfect for celebrating any occasion.
Don't forget about the epic fishing you can do here both off shore and in the Lagoon! We recommend Captain Aaron and Second Chance Charters! You can also bring in a prized Snook or Tarpon from off our beaches, no boat required. How cool is that??
The Environmental Learning Center, a 64 acre natural lagoon island preserve located off the Wabasso Bridge is an excellent place for the whole family to visit and learn about Florida’s complex intracoastal ecosystem. http://www.discoverelc.com
One of Vero’s most lushly wondrous outdoor spaces is McKee Botanical Gardens, which National Geographic listed as one of the 22 Most Soothing Places of Surprise and Sanctuary in North America. Their annual life-size dinosaur exhibit is the closest thing you’ll experience to Jurassic Park. http://www.mckeegarden.org/index.php
. DELICIOUS DINING
Vero’s restaurants hold special thrills for seafood lovers with fresh local fish that you might never have heard of - and won’t likely find in other parts of the country: permit, pompano, cobia, unicorn filefish, tripletail, snook, fresh water crappie, or any one of the 15 species of Grouper.
The finest Grouper dish to be had in Vero is at The Tides (3103 Cardinal Drive), Chef Leanne Kelleher’s intimate, upscale dining destination. It’s no wonder 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 beurre blanc. If seafood’s not your thing, you cannot go wrong with any of the entrees at The Tides. And the wine list has received the Award of Excellence from The Wine Spectator for 15 consecutive years. WE CANNOT AGREE MORE..THIS PLACE IS DELICIOUS!!
Are you a crab or lobster fan? Roll up your sleeves, get your bib on, and hit the no frills The Crab Stop (2263 14th Ave) - a crab and lobster feast without peer.
Other recommended area restaurants include Citron at the Village Shops, Maison Martinique, Scampi Grill, Osceola Bistro, and The Ocean Grill designed by one of Vero’s most colorful founders, Waldo Sexton. All use locally sourced ingredients and deliver course after course of culinary bliss. CITRON FOR BRUNCH IS EVERYTHING! ASK FOR GRAPEFRUIT JUICE WITH CHAMPAGNE (OUR INVENTION) SCAMPI GRILL IS AMAZING AND YOU NEEEEED TO SIT ON THE PATIO AT OSCEOLA BISTRO!
And there’s an embarrassment of riches in Italian dining: Trattoria Dario, Amalfi Grille, and Avanzare. Or try Pomodoro (3055 Cardinal Drive) for the best eggplant parmigiana you’ll ever taste. WE NEED TO MENTION SCAMPI GRILL AGAIN HERE! CLASICALLY ITALIAN.
For Asian cuisine, Siam Orchid (762 21st Street) covers many bases and does it well: sushi, Thai curries & soups, and Japanese dishes.
My favorite brunch spots are The Lemon Tree (3125 Ocean Drive) for quality comfort fare and The Patisserie (1910 Old Dixie Highway) featuring the best breads, soups, coffees, sandwiches and gourmet pastries in town. http://www.patisserieverobeach.com SADLY, PATISSERIE HAS CHANGED OWNERSHIP BUT HAS A PROMISING NEW VENTURE AS "FRERES PATISSERIE" BEST PART IS THE LOCATION, DOWNTOWN VERO IS BECOMING A HOT SPOT
In need of a beer? Orchid Island Brewery (2855 Ocean Drive), Vero’s only microbrewery, is a small family run pub offering delicious home-brewed ales infused with Indian River County citrus. http://orchidislandbrewery.com
Just a bit north on Route 1 is the charming riverfront district of Sebastian, home to one of the area’s hot spots, Captain Hiram’s, featuring fresh local seafood and tasty cocktails all with a Caribbean flair. Not your average eatery, Captain Hiram’s (named for a real life soldier who perished at Normandy) is a hotel, gift shop, banquet hall with sweeping water views, outdoor concert venue, and even a wedding stage at water’s edge.
Fine art, quality theatre, cinema, and opera, Vero has all of these in spades. The town’s historic downtown features at least a dozen fabulous art galleries. Worth exploring is the monthly First Friday Gallery Stroll held from 6 - 9pm the first Friday of every month. http://mainstreetverobeach.org/stroll.html
I was stunned when I first visited The Vero Beach Museum of Art (3001 Riverside Drive) because for a relatively small town this is one impressive place. Meticulously curated exhibits, painting and sculpture collections, film screenings, library, and art classes for all ages - there is something for everyone. This is the nation’s largest art museum created by private funds, which speaks to the art-mindedness, dedication and affluence of Vero citizens. http://www.verobeachmuseum.org/ SERIOUSLY THIS ISN'T SOME SMALL TOWN MUSEUM..IT IS WORTH A VISIT!
Directly across the street from the Museum of Art is The Riverside Theatre, Florida’s largest professional Actor’s Equity theatre. It features a distinguished array of Tony Award winning musicals and plays, impressive lecturer series, stand up comedy at their Comedy Zone series, Howl At The Moon dueling piano cabaret shows, and an adjoining children’s theatre.http://www.riversidetheatre.com/
The Vero Beach Opera Guild offers opera concerts in venues all around town including onscreen at Vero’s Majestic 11 Cinema. Metropolitan opera soprano Deborah Voigt, has partnered with the VBO Foundation to mentor young opera singers and she also hosts an international vocal competition in Vero. http://verobeachopera.org
Film lovers have much to rejoice about with the annual Vero Beach Wine and Film Festival, which made its inaugural splash in June 2016. http://vbwff.com
The Majestic 11 (940 14th Lane) offers Hollywood’s latest blockbusters for a five dollar movie ticket. AMC Indian River 24 Stadium Theatre features a roomy multiplex experience at the Indian River Mall (6200 20th St).
For foreign and classic film buffs check out the Vero Beach Museum of Art’s specially curated monthly film lineup as well as the museum library’s extensive film collection to rent. Yes, the best video rental store membership in town is in the heart of the art museum!
This is not a town of cheap tourist shops. In fact the shopping selection in Vero rivals nearby Palm Beach. Noteworthy are the upscale boutiques on and around Ocean Drive as well as the elegant and unique Village Shops on Route A1A. http://villageshopsverobeach.com
Nearby Indian River Mall has Dillard’s, Macy’s, and 70 specialty stores. The Vero Beach Outlets (1824 94th Drive - just west of Highway 95) features over 60 designer and brand name stores boasting big discounts.
The Ocean Drive Farmer’s Market (ranked #11 in the U.S. by Clean Eats Magazine) happens each Saturday from 8am to 12Noon. Vendors offer a wide array of delicious food options, fresh produce, gift items, baked goods. Worth investigating. http://www.verobeachoba.com/#!farmers-market/cev TAKE ONE OF OUR COMPLIMENTARY BIKES TO THE MARKET AND MAKE SURE TO GET A CHOCOLATE CRIOSSANT OR SOME AMAZING CONCH FRITTERS! YOU MUST VISIT THE "SOAP LADY" WHILE YOURE THERE! THE HAND MADE SOAPS ARE SULFATE FREE AND COME IN SO MANY SCENTS AND COLORS. YOU'LL FIND MINI VERSIONS OF HER SOAPS IN ALL OF OUR GUEST BATHROOMS!
5. BEAUTIFUL BEACHSIDE HOTELS
WE CERTAINLY CANNOT ARGUE WITH THE WRITER HERE! FROM THE COSTA D'ESTE HOTEL TO THE PRESTIGE HOTEL, ALL OF OUR NEIGHBOR HOTELS PROVIDE A UNIQUE EXPEREINCE THAT ONLY THEY CAN. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO EXPERIENCE VERO BEACH AT SOUTH BEACH PLACE, GET TO KNOW US, OUR RETRO VIBES, OUR LAID BACK AMBIANCE AND I PROMISE YOU WILL LOVE IT HERE!