A family man with a chronic case of wanderlust, Adam Porter cruises America’s highways and byways looking for the best and “best-kept secret” RV getaways.
Sunrise in Vero Beach
Vero Beach is defined by water. Bisected by the Indian River Lagoon System, bridges connect the downtown area with the iconic ribbon of surfside asphalt known as A1A. This is a prime destination for beachcombing, boating, fishing, surfing and basking in the sunshine.
The community is a true microcosm of the “real” Florida. Ranchers, snowbirds, beach bunnies and savvy travelers from all walks of life converge here in a happy hegemony that remains inclusive and inviting. Visitors can easily transition from boutique shopping and museum hopping, to fishing, boating and surfing, to investing serious energy in doing absolutely nothing.
We’ll help you split up your weekend itinerary with tried-and-true tourist must-sees and local favorites.
Stone Bridge at McKee Botanical Gardens
WHAT TO SEE IN TOWN
McKee Botanical Garden (www.mckeegarden.org)
Stroll through this cultivated jungle’s incredibly diverse botanical collection and it will soon become clear why McKee was awarded for Outstanding Achievement in Landscape Architecture. When you go, don’t pass up the phenomenal photo op on the classic Stone Bridge. The gardens are located at 350 U.S. Highway 1. Call 772.794.0601.
Museum of Art (www.verobeachmuseum.org)
This is the largest cultural arts facility of its kind on Florida’s Treasure Coast, offering a vivid feast of regional, national and international art exhibitions. My wife appreciated the wide selection of American Impressionist art, while my son and I were mesmerized by the kinetic sculpture, perpetually moving thanks to the breeze off the water. Grab a bite in the café or bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at the adjacent Riverside Park. We did the latter, and the combination of natural and artistic beauty was unbeatable. Located at 3001 Riverside Park Dr. Call 772.231.0707.
Museum of Art
Vero Beach Book Center (www.theverobeachbookcenter.com)
The center is heaven for bibliophiles of all ages. Adults can browse through a selection that rivals big-box stores but maintains the charm of a small bookshop. Down the red brick trail is the Children’s Book Center, which features two stories of books and games for kids and teens. (The model train sets were of particular interest to my little guy.) The second floor is split between YA books and paperbacks taken in on trade. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of good used books that would make perfect beach reading. Located at 2145 Indian River Blvd. 772.569.2050.
Vero Beach Polo (www.verobeachpolo.com)
Enjoy a truly unique — and surprisingly affordable — sports and tailgating opportunity at the local polo club. Games are fast-paced and entertaining, and visitors can back their vehicles (not RVs) into designated spots just a few yards from the playing field. No grills, but you can picnic and pop the cork (or cap) on your favorite beverage. Games are played from January through April. Matches usually start at 2 p.m., but plan to arrive early because spots fill up fast. The Polo Grounds are located along 12th St. between 74th and 82nd Aves. Call 772.778.2224.
Vero Beach Polo
SHOPPING & DINING
The best shops and dining are along a 4-block stretch of Ocean Drive just south of where State Road 60 turns into Beachland Boulevard. This is a pedestrian-heavy zone between the beach and resorts, so be cautious when driving — and watch for one-way connecting streets. Most of the other folks are not from here either, and we witnessed two near-misses while parking to pick up some dinner. Dining highlights along the strip include:
- The Lemon Tree (www.lemontreevero.com) — Indulge in incredible Belgian waffles and croissant sandwiches big enough for two. Good service, short waits (even at busy times) and terrific food. Located at 3125 Ocean Dr.; call 772.231.0858.
- The Island Café — While there are a few small outside tables, takeout is the name of the game here. Great sandwiches and platter specials, and terrific fish and chips. Located at 3101 Ocean Dr.; call 772.234.8840.
- Citrus Grillhouse (www.citrusgrillhouse.com) — This casual seaside bistro serves Mediterranean-influenced fare. The seasonal menu uses regionally grown produce. Located at 1050 Easter Lily Ln.; call 772.234.4114.
- Mulligan’s (www.mulligansrestaurant.net) — This family-friendly beachside bar and grill has five locations, including Vero Beach and nearby Sebastian. Enjoy live calypso music on the weekends. The Vero Beach restaurant is located at 1025 Beachland Blvd.; call 772.492.6744.
WHERE TO STAY
Tanglewood Village (www.tanglewoodvero.com)
Restricted to ages 55+, so not family-friendly. But if you happen to be of that particular vintage, you will find this resort convenient, the work campers who manage it helpful and the long-term residents very friendly. About a block away from South Vero Mall and a public bus stop.
- Full hookups: water, sewer and electric (50-amp)
- Wi-Fi and cable TV accessible
- Pull-through sites and big-rig access
- Lots of shade trees
- Heated pool
- Pets allowed
Call 772.567.9173 for reservations. Located at 1060 S. U.S. 1 Vero Beach, FL 32962. GPS: 27.5829978, -80.3769063
Vero Beach Kamp RV Park (www.verobeachkamp.com)
This cozy, no-frills park is family-friendly and close to all the adventures on your itinerary. Sites are grass and the driveway is sandy. The pool and playground are kid magnets. Stop by the bakery on the corner; you’ll be glad you did.
Round Island: Kayak, cooler, fishing poles, just watch out for manatees
- Full hookups: water, sewer and electric (50-amp)
- Cable TV
- Big-rig access
- Treed sites, pool access
- Family-friendly and pet-friendly
Call 772.589.5665 for reservations. Located at 8850 U.S. 1,
Sebastian, FL 32958. GPS: 27.7544528, -80.436779
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