September 3, 2021
Vero Beach, Florida is on the Atlantic Ocean about 8 miles east of I-95 on State Road 60.
It's about an hour and a half north of West Palm Beach.
The modern history of Vero Beach, Florida begins with its establishment as a citrus shipping point.
Henry T. Gifford started the first post office in the area in 1891 and used the name Vero.
Most people think the name came from his wife, Sarah.
She suggested the new town be named Vero from the Latin word for "to speak the truth."
Vero Beach was founded in 1919 and its slogan back then was "Where The Tropics Begin."
It's not officially true, but the vegetation certainly looks different here than it does in the towns just to the north.
Read about the early families, Vero Beach Man, the Brooklyn Dodgers, Piper Aircraft, Johns Island, and more at our page at:
Travelers on Interstate 95 think the intersection of that superhighway with State Road 60 is Vero Beach.
Someone driving on US Highway 1 comes to what they believe is Vero Beach.
People who stay along the ocean on State Road A1A come to what they believe is Vero Beach.
They are all correct, all of these places are Vero Beach.
The city has three distinct areas:
The motto today is "Sunrises, Not High Rises", a sentiment that reflects the zoning laws and community attitudes against the mega oceanfront development so typical of much of the rest of Florida.
The only high rise on the ocean I know of in Vero Beach is the Village Spires.
It was built in 1973 against the protests of much of the Vero Beach population. They passed ordinances to limit the height of future buildings.
Although the project was extremely unpopular with Vero Beach residents back when it was built, today it is a well maintained complex of upscale condominiums.
The beach side area of Vero Beach looks subtropical, with abundant lush vegetation and fine Florida mansions.
The central beach area has its own little shopping district
in the area where State Road 60 meets the ocean.
Vero Beach has wonderful beaches. The main beach is accessible from the Central Beach Business District.
Many nice restaurants are in this district, along with a couple of motels and quite a few condos.
You will find the beach area of Vero Beach to be more laid back and not as touristy or junky as many other Florida beach side towns.
The beach neighborhood is on the barrier island separated from the mainland by a section of the Indian River Lagoon called "The Narrows."
This historic downtown neighborhood is around the intersection of US Highway 1 and State Road 60. These were the historic main north-south and east-west roads into Vero Beach.
The downtown area of Vero Beach, on the mainland, is more typical of small Florida towns with the old railroad station and a lot of small retail businesses and antique shops.
There is a large park in the heart of downtown and many historic businesses and apartment buildings.
The area west of Vero Beach straddling State Road 60 has a large regional mall and an outlet mall and many new sprawling subdivisions.
Modern Vero Beach is home to some of the most exclusive golf and marina oriented residential developments in Florida including Johns Island, The Moorings and Grand Harbor.
Vero Beach is reportedly home to more retired Fortune 500 CEO's than any other location in the world and has the fourth highest concentration of wealthy households in the U.S.
Most of these residents live on the exclusive barrier island that is divided from the mainland by the Indian River Lagoon.
Many of them refer to Vero Beach as "The Village". This designation as "Villagers" does not please some of the old time Vero Beach natives.
These wealthy transplants have helped to finance and create many cultural opportunities in Vero Beach.
The Vero Beach Theatre Guild started in 1958. The Vero Beach Concert Association began presenting concerts in 1966. Riverside Theatre opened in 1974, and the Center for the Arts in 1986.
Vero also has several entries in the National Register of Historic Places including the Vero Railroad Station, Driftwood Inn, McKee Jungle Gardens and the Old Palmetto Hotel.
Piper Aircraft Inc. has been building Piper airplanes in Vero Beach since 1957 in a plant at the municipal airport. Piper is the largest private employer in Indian River County.
Most business activity other than Piper is tourism or citrus based. Vero Beach's busiest tourist season is from December through April.
McKee Botanical Garden, 350 US Highway 1, Vero Beach FL 32962. 772-794-0601. This place is famous for its 18 acre subtropical jungle hammock.
This dense and diverse botanical garden also includes several restored architectural treasures.
The garden is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a historic Florida landmark.
Indian River Citrus Museum and Heritage Center. Though citrus certainly grows well in Florida, its journey to reach Florida began in southeast Asia.
Thanks to a Spanish law requiring that Spanish sailors bring orange seeds with them to plant in the new world, citrus arrived first in the Caribbean and then Florida.
Early settlers recognized the ideal local growing conditions surrounding the Indian River Lagoon.
Today, only fruit grown in this thin 200 mile stretch of land may be legally referred to as “Indian River Fruit” - just like champagne can only come from the Champagne region of France. Our fruit is that special!
To learn more, come visit the Indian River Citrus Museum – just inside the Heritage Center, in historic Downtown Vero at 2140 14th Ave. It’s refreshingly interesting! More info at veroheritage.org.
Vero Beach Original Community Building. In 1935 the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) paid the labor costs while the City paid the material costs, and Vero Beach’s first Community Building was built.
During WWII, Vero Beach was home to 27,000 men and 900 women involved in the war effort and the Community Building became the Servicemen’s Center.
After the war, the building became more of a true community center for all ages, hosting teen dances and adult gatherings.
In the 1980s, the building fell into such disuse and disrepair that some say the only thing holding it together was the termites. The Indian River County Historical Society led by Millie Bunnell fought to save it from demolition.
In 1993, the Heritage Center was fully restored and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Later that same year, the Indian River Citrus Museum opened its doors inside the former WWII servicemen’s lounge.
Vero Beach Museum of Art, 3001 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach FL 32963. 772-231-0707. This museum is the main visual arts venue in the entire Indian River region.
Its neoclassical structure is located in beautiful Riverside Park on the Indian River Lagoon.
It has numerous exhibitions, collections, gallery tours, studio and classroom art and humanities education for youth and adults, cinema, community events, lectures, seminars, concerts, dramatic performances and cultural celebrations.
Italian Grill, 2180 58th Avenue, Vero Beach FL 32966. 772-567-6640.
Out west between downtown and I-95 near the big regional mall. Great pasta and other Italian dishes, fine Italian dining, good wine selection, nice ambience.
I love their grilled chicken and sausage. Pizza appetizers are good too.
Ocean Grill, 1050 Sexton Plaza, Vero Beach Florida 32963. 772-231-5409.
This restaurant has beautiful views of the ocean and the food is better than average but not quite great.
I have eaten there for 40 years and never had a bad meal. It is a must place to visit in beachside Vero.
The area round the I-95 interchange at State Road 60 has several decent chain motels, including Country Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Express, and Howard Johnson Express.
These motels are 8 miles away from downtown Vero Beach, however, and I prefer the places below closer to town.
We have included a link to Booking.com at the end of this page, but we also have a couple of favorites we recommend.
The two places I recommend below are both in beachside Vero.
The Caribbean Court, 1601 S. Ocean Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32963. 772-231-7211. This 18 room place has beach access and a heated pool.
It is located in the choice beach area of Vero Beach. Antique furnishings, hand-painted tiles and original artwork give the room a Caribbean feel.
Enjoy live music, tapas and spirits at Havana Nights Piano Bar and the extraordinary cuisine of Maison Martinique Restaurant.
The Driftwood Inn, 3150 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32963. 772-231-0550. This is a time share resort with rooms available to rent.
It is built entirely from ocean-washed timbers and planks, housing some of the world's most beautiful art objects, antiques, and artifacts.
It's located in the central beach district, directly on the Atlantic Ocean.
The Driftwood offers casual dining either inside or poolside at Waldo's Open Air Deck, named after Waldo Sexton, the unique pioneer responsible for building and furnishing the place.
Disney's Vero Beach Resort
North of Vero Beach on the barrier island near Wabasso is Disney's Vero Beach Resort.
It is directly on the ocean and offers Disney's guests visiting Florida an authentic beach experience.
It opened in 1995 and has been successful from its earliest days.
Some other local history is at these links: