Vero Beach, Florida, is a popular destination for vacationers and snowbirds who flock to its beautiful beaches, upscale shops, and trendy restaurants. But for those looking to escape the crowds and experience something a little different, there are plenty of off-the-beaten-path activities to enjoy in and around Vero Beach.
1. Explore McKee Botanical Garden
Located just a few miles from downtown Vero Beach, the McKee Botanical Garden is a hidden oasis of lush flora and fauna. Spread across 18 acres, the garden features a variety of habitats, including a bamboo grove, a rainforest, and a desert landscape. Visitors can stroll through the gardens, take a guided tour or attend special events like concerts, art shows, and festivals.
2. Paddle the Indian River Lagoon
The Indian River Lagoon is a 156-mile-long estuary that stretches from Ponce Inlet in Volusia County to Jupiter Inlet in Palm Beach County. It’s home to more than 4,000 species of plants and animals, including dolphins, turtles, and manatees. Paddling the lagoon is a peaceful and scenic way to explore the area’s natural beauty. Visitors can rent kayaks or paddleboards from local outfitters or join a guided tour.
3. Visit the Vero Beach Museum of Art
The Vero Beach Museum of Art is a cultural gem that often flies under the radar. The museum features a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, as well as rotating exhibitions from local and national artists. Visitors can also attend lectures, workshops, and music performances in the museum’s auditorium.
4. Catch a Show at the Riverside Theatre
The Riverside Theatre is a professional theater that presents a variety of performances, from Broadway musicals to plays, to concerts. The theater also hosts a children’s program and educational events. The intimate 650-seat venue offers an excellent view of the stage from every seat.
5. Hike Through Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge
Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is the first national wildlife refuge in the United States. The refuge is a critical habitat for more than 30 species of birds, including brown pelicans, roseate spoonbills, and wood storks. Visitors can explore the area’s trails and boardwalks, watch for wildlife, and learn about the refuge’s conservation efforts.
While Vero Beach is known for its high-end resorts and trendy boutiques, there’s much more to experience beyond the main tourist attractions. From exploring botanical gardens to paddling the Indian River Lagoon, there are plenty of off-the-beaten-path activities to enjoy. So next time you visit Vero Beach, be sure to check out these hidden gems and escape the crowds.