Sand and Sea at Vero Beach

There may be literally thousands of beach towns on Florida’s winding coastline, but Vero Beach should definitely be near the top end of everyone’s list. It’s the perfect place to get away to.

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I’ve returned from a 1-night stay at Vero Beach Hotel & Spa (a Kimpton property), a beachy boutique hotel just steps from the sea. This little getaway served as somewhat of a substitute for a summer family vacation; my parents and I usually set sail on a week-long Caribbean cruise once school ends, but we had no luck finding a suitable trip this year.

IMG_0495Vero is a small town along Florida’s Treasure Coast (Melbourne to the North, Ft. Pierce to the South) famous for its golden sand, turquoise water, and ubiquitous sea turtle nests. A two hour drive transported us to a more laid-back version of Miami Beach.

IMG_0487Once we pulled into the hotel, our car was valet parked for free. While we waited for our room to be ready, we donned our bathing suits and sunscreen and claimed a trio of lounge chairs and an umbrella on the edge of the pool deck facing the ocean. The sun was shining, the water was a bright shade of baby blue, and a brisk breeze was blowing through the swaying palm trees. For a while I just reclined in my chair, resting from a particularly boring drive.

Soon it was time to dive into the roaring surf. The water was at a perfect temperature, and I bodysurfed the day away. After I had my fill of saltwater I headed back to the pool to relax. Soon our room was ready, and I got ready for the evening.

The promise of fried seafood and Indian River views lured us 30 minutes North to Squidlips, an overwater joint in the city of Sebastian. Calamari, fish tacos, fish & chips, and fried shrimp satisfied my grease fix while Cravings, a bakery and ice cream parlor back in Vero, satisfied my ice cream sandwich fix.

IMG_0499To walk off dinner and dessert, we headed out onto the sand again, the sky pulsating with blues, oranges, pinks, and yellows as the sun set behind the town. Though I was facing East most of the time and I didn’t once see that fiery disc, it was one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve seen in a while. And we just kept walking, passing where we had parked the car until we reached the hotel, just a few blocks North. It’s so easy to get around just by walking on the sand that I’d argue that the beach might be Vero’s main thoroughfare, as opposed to any paved roads.

The next morning, we woke with the sun (okay, shortly after the sun) and walked down the beach and into town for breakfast at The Lemon Tree. A little diner serving up breakfast favorites like waffles, eggs, pancakes, and oatmeal, The Lemon Tree’s food just tastes fresh and wholesome; it’s the perfect breakfast place. I had three buttermilk pancakes and scrambled eggs, along with a glass of freshly-squeezed local orange juice.

The rest of the day was a repeat of the first: swim, rest, swim, rest, etc. Not a bad routine to get used to.

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If You Go…

  • From Florida’s Turnpike (SR-91) southbound, exit at SR-60 (Yeehaw Junction) and take 60 all the way to the beach–don’t get off until you hit water!
  • Vero has some great restaurants, including The Lemon Tree, Ocean Grill, and Cravings, but head northwest across the Indian River to Sebastian for seafood joints galore
  • Squid Lips in Sebastian doesn’t take reservations, so get there early on weekends to avoid a wait
  • Vero Beach Hotel & Spa has rooms both with and without views (those rooms have motel-style entrances), so be sure to pay attention when booking
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