Activities and attractions in Vero Beach Atlantic Coast Central
Swimming, fishing, boating, surfing, scuba or sky diving are only a few of the recreational opportunities available to you in Indian River County. There are 19 private and public golf courses convenient to every community. Like tennis? There are numerous public tennis courts through out the county as well as private tennis clubs and housing developments built around tennis. Need More? Try our hiking and biking trails, riverside camping and seaside picnic facilities all available to you year-round.
You will never be stuck for a place to eat in Indian River County. The Vero Beach dining experience can be found beachside as well as on the river and mainland. Travel north or south along Hwy A1A to reach other well known eateries including the two restaurants located in the Disney Resort.
Travel over the bridge to dine at one of the many restaurants on Royal Palm Pointe or visit the Historic Downtown area for a variety of cuisines. All along US Hwy 1 as well as Rt. 60 you can find most any type of eating establishment that will please the whole family.
Shopping in Indian River County is truly an exhilarating experience. From its charming independently owned shops along the beaches and mainland to the quaint shops in Sebastian's fishing village environment. Historic Downtown Vero Beach is home to many fine shops and eating establishments while Route 60 west to I-95 is where you can find the larger malls and shopping centers.
Free from the overcrowding found in other tourist communities, Vero Beach, Sebastian and Indian River County are indeed a shoppers dream.
Water is the main attraction in Indian River County and the catalyst for two of its biggest sports: boating and fishing.
The miles of calm waters, protected from the Atlantic Ocean by the barrier islands, provide residents and tourists with many types of boating opportunities. If you don't own a boat, deep sea fishing boats can be chartered along the Indian River County coastline. Leisure cruises operate out of both Vero Beach and Sebastian. And for those who like airboating, Stick Marsh in the northwest corner of Indian River County provides just the opportunity. Canoes and kayaks can also be rented from various places including areas around the Sebastian Inlet Park.
If you have a boat and it is not moored at a marina, there are places in Indian River County that provide free launching ramps and parking spaces:
Riverside Park, MacWilliam Park, East Oslo Road, Round Island Park, Sebastian Yacht Club on Indian River Drive, Dale Wimbrow Park, Donald MacDonald Park, Wabasso Causeway, Fellsmere Grade, Blue Cypress Lake (Route 60 west of Vero Beach), and St. Johns Marsh - Barney Green (CR 512 west to Fellsmere).
If you are new to boating and have not launched a boat before, the State of Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission/Boating has put together tips on boat launching and other safety information.
The waters off Vero Beach and all of Indian River County provide year-round enjoyment for people of all ages. For saltwater fishing, besides the deeper, offshore waters, Sebastian Inlet is a premier location. Boaters can cruise the shallow waters or anchor near the jetties where grouper, snapper, and king mackerel abound. Further out, dolphin, wahoo, tuna and marlin keep fishermen busy. To try your hand at Offshore Fishing.
For those without boats, the Sebastian Inlet Park has two jetties reaching into the Atlantic. Surf fishing and walking along the miles of shoreline also provide great recreation.
Inland lakes and the Sebastian River produce large mouth bass, black crappie, bluegills, and other gamefish. The best locations are Blue Cypress Lake which covers 6,554 acres at the western end of Indian River County--about 25 miles from Vero Beach on Route 60. The Stick Marsh a 6,500 acre reservoir in the northwest corner of Indian River County which has been named one of the Top Ten Black Bass Lakes in Florida by the Florida State Game Commission; and anywhere along the St. Sebastian River.
Surfing and Skim Boarding
Three miles of Atlantic beach offer some of the best surfing on the East Coast. One of the most consistent surf breaks in Florida is Sebastian Inlet's first peak, located next to the north jetty. Another hot surf spot is Monster Hole--located about 1/3 mile off the beach, on the south side of Sebastian Inlet. The contour of the ocean floor rises up and when the surf is big, the waves form long lines, giving a long ride. Sebastian Inlet
Diving & Snorkeling
Vero Beach and Indian River County have some of the most unique places to dive.
Diving & Snorkeling
Great diving sites extend from the Sebastian Inlet to Round Island, including coral and artificial reefs and the site of the 1715 wreck of the Spanish galleon in the south end of Vero Beach.
There are four artificial reefs along the beaches of Indian River County, about 200-300 feet off shore. The first, deployed in 1987 by FP&L, is located along the south beach of Vero Beach at a depth of 38 feet. The remaining three were placed in 1999 by the Indian River County Government and are located at depths of 66, 71 and 73 feet along the beach front of Vero Beach.
This unique habitat is a nursery for all types of marine life – turtles, lobsters, manatees, rays, sharks, and over 200 species of fish and the Oculina Varacosa, Oculina Diffusia, fire, and a few other types of coral. The reef begins at about the Sebastian Inlet and runs unbroken to Riomar. It then picks up again off Sandypoint and extends a little south of the Ft Pierce Inlet. This reef, which parallels the coastline, is located very close to shore and extends out about a half mile.
The reefs foundations are exposed limestone formations which rise up from the bottom in various shapes and sizes. Some areas can be seen at low tide like the Riomar reef. The limestone ledges in some areas jet up from the bottom like huge monolithic outcroppings with vast caverns that disappear into the abyss. The ledges are very pronounced in the Vero Beach area with some of the highest 'Relief' --as referred to by engineers -- found anywhere. This habitat is most unique and is not found this close to the coastline anywhere else.
Parks and Camping
Whether you prefer to spend your vacation in a setting closer to nature, or if you just want to spend a night or two shedding the trappings of civilization, Indian River County is a great place for being outdoors.
The St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park can be reached without a boat. There are five primitive campsites in the preserve. North entrance is on CR 507 just north of the C54 canal. South Entrance is on CR 512, just west of CR 510.
If you're looking to be surrounded by water, the picturesque Islands in the Indian River are what you're looking for. Many rules and regulations apply and there's no electricity, but what can replace the sound of water lapping gently on the shore as you close your eyes for a sound sleep? For details about camping on the Islands in the Indian River Lagoon, visit Verobeach online
Only islands designated as "Active Recreation" are suitable for overnight camping. To coordinate camping activities on the islands North of Vero Beach contact the DEP office at 3783 N. Indian River Drive, Cocoa FL or visit Florida's Department of Environmental Protection website for general information.
There are 29 Parks throughout Indian River County maintained by the State, Cities, or the County (a complete list is given below). These areas provide residents and visitors a place to unwind and have fun and each has something unique to offer. Parks and amenities are listed by the city or area in which the park is located. There are Beach Parks, River Parks, and Interior Parks. For those near water, please see the water safety guidelines and Beach Flag Advisory.
VERO BEACH/VERO BEACH AREA
Vero Beach Parks on the Indian River
Vero Beach Inland Recreational Parks
SEBASTIAN AND SEBASTIAN AREA
Parks on the Ocean
Parks on the Indian River (in or near Sebastian)
Parks on the San Sebastian River
Inland Recreational Parks in Sebastian
WABASSO & WABASSO AREA
Parks on the Ocean
Things To Do
What to do for a day, a weekend, a week. Check on the attractions listed below. See what's being launched at the Kennedy Space Center
1916 Grant Historical House & Fisherman's Park
The Grant Historical House is a restored cracker home that was moved to the Indian River in 1916. This scenic 7.48-acre community river park, located off U.S. Hwy 1 adjacent to the Indian River Lagoon, is a perfect wayside park for travelers and a convenient site for community events. The shaded pavilion and grill with restrooms nearby, the 2,000' walking path, and the 630' riverfront boardwalk invite picnics and leisurely strolls. While a 200' fishing dock accommodates fishing, and although boat launching is not allowed, boaters may tie up to the dock to access the restrooms and picnic area. The Grant Historical House is open 10am-4pm, Tuesday through Friday; the park is open from sunrise to sunset. 5795 US Hwy 1, Grant, FL 32949.
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc. (HBOI) is one of the world's leading not-for-profit oceanographic research organizations dedicated to exploring the earth's oceans, estuaries and coastal regions, for the benefit of mankind. They are located at: 5600 N. US Highway 1, Fort Pierce, FL 34946.
Indian River Citrus Museum
The museum traces the history of the local citrus industry from its beginnings, from Spanish explorers through today's high-tech processing and marketing techniques. See historical photographs, old farm tools, tools, antique citrus labels, industry archives, original harvesting equipment and gift shop. There are also guided citrus tours. Inside the Heritage Center at 2140 14th Ave., Vero Beach, FL 32960 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
McKee Botanical Garden
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, McKee Botanical Garden is an 18-acre subtropical garden. Its unique hammock supports a dense and diverse botanical collection as well as several restored architectural treasures. The Gardens are located at 350 US Highway 1, Vero Beach, FL 32962. Closed Mondays. Tues-Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 12pm-5pm. Admission: $6 adults; Seniors (65+) $5; Children (5-12) $3.50. Under 5 free. Members: free. Visit the McKee Botanical Gardens.
The McLarty Museum offers displays of items taken from the shipwrecked Spanish Plate Fleet of 1715. Through audio presentations and dioramas, museum visitors learn about Spanish ships and their cargos: gold, jewelry, silver, pewter, dyes, spices, silks, and minerals. An observation deck built like a Spanish galleon was recently added. A 45-minute movie, "Treasure: What Dreams Are Made Of," chronicles modern salvaging efforts. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Admission is $1. Children under 6 are free. The McLarty Museum is located at 13180 N. SR A1A, Vero Beach, FL 32963.
Manatee Observation and Education Center is a waterfront wildlife observation and nature education center located on Florida's east coast in downtown Fort Pierce. The Center lies just west of the Atlantic ocean and overlooks the nationally recognized Indian River Lagoon, a saltwater estuary and Moore's Creek, a freshwater creek and historical resting spot for the Florida manatee. The Manatee Center is located at 480 North Indian River Drive, Fort Pierce, FL 34950. Admission: $ 1.00 per person; Children under 6 free with Adult; Members free.
Mel Fisher Treasure Museum
Shipwreck artifacts and treasure from both the Atocha which sank off Key West in 1622 and the 1715 Fleet which sank off the Treasure Coast between Sebastian Inlet and Fort Pierce. Admission: $5 adults; $4 seniors; $1.50 children. Under 6 are free. Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. 1322 U.S 1, Sebastian, FL 32958.
A 298-acre park located east of US 1 on Oslo Road. The rustic trails, observation towers and platform and canoe dock at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area are open to the public from dawn to dusk each day. Trained nature guides share their knowledge of history, flora and fauna during special guided walks which begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the park entrance on the north side of Oslo Road, east of U.S.1 behind the Vero South Shopping Plaza.
Sebastian Fishing Museum
The museum is devoted to educating the public on the rich cultural history of Sebastian's fishing industry. Inside the museum are replicas of a fish house and dock, the traditional heart of the industry. A 24-minute video presentation explores the history and vast diversity of the wildlife within the Indian River. The Museum is located at the Sebastian Inlet State Park, south side of the Sebastian Inlet Bridge off SR A1A. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Museum is free. Park admission fee of $3.25 per car applies.
Sebastian Fishing Museum Talks
Come to the Sebastian Fishing Museum for an interpretive program. You might learn about sea turtles, land crabs, seabeans, or wildlife rescue from a park ranger. You might learn how to fish for snook or flounder, how to smoke your catch, or how to make a castnet. You might take a walk with a ranger along the beach or through the hammock. Programs are free with normal park entrance fee.
Smithsonian Marine Station
The Smithsonian Marine Station (SMS) is a research center specializing in marine biodiversity and ecosystems of Florida. Research focuses on the Indian River Lagoon and the offshore waters of Florida's east central coast, with comparative studies throughout coastal Florida. The Station is a facility of the National Museum of Natural History and is a part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. For more information visit the SMS Web site. Address: 701 Seaway Drive, Fort Pierce, FL 34950.
St. Lucie County Marine Center
The St. Lucie County Marine Center houses the Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit and cares for their maintenance and management. The exhibit shows that a marine ecosystem is a complex community of plants and animals interacting with each other and their environment, and that humans can think of themselves as an integral part of the larger ecosystem known as earth. Address: 401 Seaway Drive, Fort Pierce, FL 34950.
Navy SEAL Museum
On the original training site of the first U.S. Navy Frogmen is a showcase that honors Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs), Scouts and Raiders, Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs), and Sea, Air, Land Teams (SEALs). Many outdoor displays from a Vietnam era Huey helicopter to SEAL Delivery Vehicles (SDVs) and even Apollo training space capsules are available for visitors for an up-close view. Inside the unique museum is a theater that runs films of the very tough SEAL training and other frogman operations. History and world geography comes alive in the context of the wars and conflicts in which America's most extraordinary fighting men were involved. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children 6 - 12, free under 6. Open 10 to 4 Tuesday - Saturday, 12 - 4 Sunday. 3300 N. A1A, N. Hutchinson Island, Ft. Pierce, FL 34949 The Navy SEAL Museum is next to Pepper Park which has a lovely ocean beach. Bring the family and spend the whole day!
Vero Beach Museum of Art
This renovated and expanded 55,412 sq. ft. arts facility features five art galleries, sculpture garden, and education wing that includes seven studio classrooms, an art library, seminar rooms, and a 3,800 sq. ft. outdoor studio and foundry, a 250-seat state-of-the-art auditorium, museum store, and exceptional public spaces for art installations and public programs. The CFTA is located at 3001 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, FL 32963. For more information, visit Vero Beach Museum of Art.
Vero Beach Railroad Station Exhibit Center
The museum has a permanent model railroad display depicting a journey through Indian River County and other changing displays. Hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. No admission fee. 2336 14th Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960.
Within an Hour
Andretti Thrill Park
Offers Go Kart Tracks, Water Rides, Children's Rides, Miniature Golf, Inside Games - Arcade, Laser Runner and Slot Cars. Activities are priced individually or as a package. Open 7 days a week. Weekdays until 10pm, weekends until midnight. 3960 South Babcock St.
Melbourne, FL 32901.
Astronomy courses; pictures of asteroids, eclipses and special Hale-Bopp archive. Laser light shows. Call the Planetarium for hours and view the list of shows. 1519 Clearlake Rd., Cocoa, FL 32922.
Brevard Museum of Art & Science
The Brevard Museum of Art and Science features exhibitions by internationally and nationally known artists as well as Florida artists representing a variety of styles, periods, and media. The Museum complex includes the Harris Auditorium, two Museum Shops, the Foosaner Educational Wing, Science Center and Art Museum. Located in Old Eau Gallie, one of Brevard County's historic districts and one block from the Indian River. 1463 Highland Avenue, Melbourne, FL. Visit their web site for exhibitions and calendar of events. Museum Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Blowing Rocks Preserve
is a magnificent 73 acre barrier island sanctuary located on Jupiter Island, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon. Blowing Rocks protects a variety of natural habitats, including beach dune, coastal strand, mangrove wetlands, tropical hammock and oak hammock. The Preserve is located on Jupiter Island - South Beach Road (CR707) - and is open to the public from 9:00am to 4:30pm daily except major holidays.
Situated on 56+ acres, the Zoo has over 460 animals representing 119 different species from Latin America, Native Florida, Asia and Australia. Open 10:00 am-5:00 pm daily. 8225 N. Wickham Road (Wickham Road exit off I-95. visit the Brevard Zoo website.
Florida Ranch Tours
Tours of a 60-year old, 20,000 acre, working cattle ranch and citrus grove. Located 12 miles west of I-95 off Orange Ave (SR 68), Fort Pierce, FL 34950.
Forever Florida Ranch
The Crescent J. Ranch, a working cattle ranch and nature preserve, offers wilderness tours, hose riding, overnight trail rides and petting zoo. Tours are 9am, 12p, 3p, and 6p seven days a week. The Ranch is located on 441, Kenansville, FL 34739. Just south of route 192. Or visit their website at Forever Florida Ranch.
Fort Pierce Jai Alai
The world's fastest ball game, Jai-Alai originated in the Basque Country of Northern Spain. The game was played outdoors using the church walls as the first playing courts.
Jai-Alai in America originated in Miami and has been in Ft. Pierce since 1973.
1750 S. Kings Highway, Fort. Pierce, FL 34950
FPL Energy Encounter
Hands-on exhibits show how energy is produced. For overview, marine-life programs, and calendar of events visit the FPL Energy Encounter website. 6501 S. State Road, A1A, Gate B., South Hutchinson Island, Fort. Pierce, FL 34950. The College of Sea Turtle Knowledge is open through June 4 from Wednesday and Sunday from 10am-3pm. Summer hours (June 10-Aug 1) are 10am-3pm Tuesday through Friday.
House of Refuge - Stuart
Built in 1875, oldest structure in Martin County built as a haven for ship-wrecked sailors and travelers. Model ship collections, tropical and native fish aquariums, changing exhibits relating to the colorful history of the structure and the Florida coast. 301 SE MacArthur Blvd, Stuart, FL 34994
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and the Florida History Center and Museum
The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse was completed in 1860 just before the civil war and is maintained by the Florida History Center & Museum in cooperation with The United States Coast Guard. 805 N. US Hwy 1, Jupiter, FL 33458.
Melbourne Greyhound Park
Melbourne Greyhound Park is open year round 7 days a week. Live greyhound racing is here November thru April. The best in simulcast wagering is always available. Bet on Greyhounds, Thoroughbreds, Harness Racing and Jai-Alai. Located just a short drive from all major Florida Attractions. The park is located at 1100 N. Wickham Rd, Melbourne, FL 32901
Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Station
The Kennedy Space Center website gives information on launches, ticket prices, tours, exhibits and press information.
Marine Life Center of Juno Beach
The Marinelife Center is a non-profit education and conservation facility dedicated to the conservation and preservation of our marine environment. 4200 U.S. Hwy 1, Loggerhead Park, Juno Beach, FL 33408. Admission is free, donations are suggested.
New York Mets/St Lucie Mets
Thomas J. White Sports Complex, Peacock Blvd, Port St. Lucie, FL 34986
Spring training during March. St. Lucie Mets home games, April - August.
Valiant Air Command - Warbird Museum
6600 Tico Road, Titusville, FL 32780
Historic military aircraft and memorabilia museum. Warbird Airshow in March.
Less than Two Hours
Central Florida Zoological Park
21-acre Zoo nestled in a lush forest of palms, tall pines and stately live oak. View elephants, hippos, mandrills, lemurs, leopards, cougars, reptiles, and many more exotic animals from an elevated boardwalk. 3755 N.W. Highway 17-92, at I-4 (exit 52) at Sanford, FL 32771
Church Street Station
Florida's number one nighttime dining, shopping & entertainment complex. 129 W. Church St., Orlando, FL 32801
Located in the center of Florida, about 75 miles west of Vero Beach. Home to
Bok Tower, a national historic landmark and home of the annual International Carillon Festival. Other attractions include Depot Museum, featuring local history and railroad memorabilia, Spook Hill where objects appear to defy gravity as they roll uphill, and the National Historic District, Downtown Lake Wales. Visit the historic Lake Wales website for more information.
Sea World of Florida
When you arrive at Sea World, what you discover is a world class theme park that is a stunning tribute to the wonders of marine life. Unlike other theme parks, Sea World is not broken up into lands or themed areas. The park itself is one big, focused theme. No matter who you are, you would be hard pressed not to be impressed by Sea World. Some of the "don't miss" events are: Journey to Atlantis; Terrors of the Deep; Manatee's -- the Last Generation?; Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island; and Shamu Stadium. For details visit the Sea World website. 7007 Sea World Dr., Orlando, FL 32801
Universal Studios Escape
Two enormous theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Islands of Adventure); plus shopping, dining and live entertainment. 1000 Universal Studios Plaza Orlando, FL 32801
Walt Disney World Resort
The World's #1 Vacation Destination. Explore. Visit Mickey and friends and all the theme parks -- Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Water Parks, Downtown Disney and more! Make reservations online using the above connection. Lake Buena Vista, west of I-4,
Two Hours Plus
Cross Creek -- The Majorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historical Site
Visit the home of internationally acclaimed writer Majorie Kinnan Rawlings whose tale of "The Yearling" won a Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 1939. The grounds are open 9am-5pm daily. Guided home tours are held Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10am and 11am. And hourly from 1-4pm. House tours cost $6 for adults and $2 for children. Under 2, free. Located east of Gainesville, FL on CR 325.
Fantasy of Flight Air Museum
The World's Greatest Aircraft Collection. Fantasy of Flight is a tribute to the innovation and imagination of the pioneers of flight. Featuring many rare and vintage aircraft, this popular attraction transports you back to the hey-day of aviation. Welcomed by the nostalgic art-deco architecture, you will reconnect with your childhood belief that you really can fly, only at Fantasy of Flight! The museum is located at 1400 SE Broadway Blvd, Polk City, FL 33868. Just off I-4 at Exit 21.
Built by well-known sculptor Howard Solomon, the castle contains galleries of his art and more than 80 interpretive stained glass windows. The Boat in The Moat, also built by the artist, is a replica of a 16th century Spanish galleon and houses the Castle's restaurant. Tours Daily. Closed Mondays & the months of July, August and September. Adults: $10.00 incl tax. Children under 12: $4.00 incltax. Visit the web site for more information.