On the east coast of Florida, Vero Beach is a small coastal town two hours southeast of Orlando. Called the Treasure Coast, Vero Beach offers activities that can satisfy everyone’s interests. Golf courses, walkable eateries, lively breweries, nature excursions, water sports, spas, boutiques and outlet shopping can all be found in this charming community. It is especially great for families.
The town has a quaint feel and is both peaceful and elegant, which is why I chose to spend Mother’s Day weekend in Vero Beach with my family.
Here are some tips if you’re planning a trip to Vero Beach:
Where to Eat in Vero Beach
- The Lemon Tree – Serving breakfast and lunch, this cozy breakfast spot is friendly, casual and yummy.
- Cobalt Restaurant – Cobalt offers an elegant evening out that is also surprisingly kid-friendly. Within the Kimpton hotel, this bar and restaurant provides unobstructed views of the beach and ocean, fresh, local seafood dishes and craft cocktails. Crayons, coloring paper and a kids-menu are offered to families. Their Red Snapper meal was especially delicious. Later at night, the bar area becomes quite lively with music and entertainment too.
- Mulligan’s – With ocean views, this large, loud and brightly-colored seafood restaurant chain is a quintessential tourist spot, but you know what? I liked it and my boys enjoyed it too. I was also told by a local that it’s a good spot for breakfast. TIP: The Firecracker Shrimp appetizer is amazing and so was the Lobster Melt.
- Orchid Island Brewery is a great place to visit for farm-to-table food, beer and entertainment. This craft brewery incorporates local Indian River citrus into IPA’s and sour beers.
Where to Stay in Vero Beach
Features beautiful beaches, studios and multi-bedroom villas for families. The kids’ amenities are of course spectacular including a fun waterslide, mini-golf, playground and daily activities. For an additional charge per child, there is the Disney Discovery Club, which is a 3-hour supervised evening program includes imaginative arts and crafts, exciting sports activities, games, movies and even dinner for kids 4-12. Take the time out for an adult dinner in town or at the resort, or pamper yourself and book a spa appointment. Also, the beachfront character breakfast on Saturdays is worth booking even if you’re not a guest at the hotel.
AAA Four Diamond award-winning resort is a true find. It’s a gorgeous oceanfront property that is kid-friendly but doesn’t necessarily scream kids. It’s still relaxing for adults and they cater to both. It’s also right where you need to be – within walking distance to the restaurants and shops mentioned above. The luxurious two bedroom suite also provided plenty of room the four of us. Provided amenities within their resort fee of $27 per day include beach chairs and umbrellas set up for you on the beach, valet parking, morning tea and coffee, as well as a complimentary wine hour each night in the lobby, all of which made our stay extra delightful and worry-free. It’s also pet-friendly.
Having stayed at both resorts, I recommend them equally. Both are great for families and have similar pool, beach and dining amenities and even offer beach view yoga for mom in the mornings. Kimpton, however, is a bit more luxury and closer to the downtown area, but Disney Vero Beach has the evening kids club for some adult time. You can’t go wrong either way.
Things to Do in Vero Beach
- McKee Botanical Garden has tropical plants and waterlily-filled streams worth taking in. TIP: Children under three are free.
- Vero Beach train museum – The last train pulled out of the Vero Beach train station in 1968, but the station has been restored and highlights the city’s transportation history. A miniature replica of the train that once charged the Florida coastline now takes up a good portion of the restored Vero Beach Train Station. Kids and history buffs will love it.
- Shopping – Close by is the Vero Beach Fashion Outlet Mall just west of I-95 on State Road 60 and the Historic Downtown is a newly revitalized area of shopping, dining, antique stores and art galleries. Plenty of small specialty shops along Ocean Drive on what is called the “Miracle Mile.” Strolling along, people watching and window shopping can prove just as enjoyable on this mile too.
- Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary – On the Barrier Island located adjacent to Riverside Park, which has an open to the public playground that’s great for kids, we enjoyed strolling along the pedestrian bridge over to this unexpectedly peaceful memorial reserve with views of the causeway.
- Vero Beach Museum of Art also within the grounds of Riverside Park this museum houses regional, state and national art exhibits and includes a sculpture garden.
- Paddleboarding & Kayaking Rentals are aplenty along the beach. My husband and sons took a 3-person kayak out from our hotel’s beach to where a shipwreck is marked by a flag. The bow of the boat can be seen during low tide and scuba divers exploring the easy dive area as well. Disney’s Vero Beach hotel also offers clear bottom kayak rentals for ultimate sightseeing.