The best food artisans, farms, and local markets.
Countryside Citrus Beach Store
The family that owns this Ocean Drive farm store has been growing citrus in Indian River County since the late 1880s. The quaint shop sells everything from honeybells and mandarins to grapefruit and red navels by the bag or the bushel, as well as homemade citrus-based ice cream and slushies.
This sweet shop marked by a pink door and awning just two blocks from the beach specializes in 65 flavors of homemade cupcakes. Owned by a brother and sister, they rotate their daily menu with roughly 12 different flavors, including favorites like crème brûlée, lemon cake with raspberry swirl, and bananas foster.
Orchid Island Brewery
“From Indian River groves to glass” – that’s the motto of this three-barrel brewhouse that specializes in beers treated with local citrus. Its 12-tap tasting room tucked inside an Ocean Drive courtyard rotates regularly, dependent upon what citrus is available for the current roster of beers. Our favorite: Star Ruby, an IPA zested with ruby red grapefruit.
Patisserie Vero Beach
Behind the counter of this small French bakery, serving soups and sandwiches, are racks upon racks of the area’s best handmade ciabattas, focaccias, and baguettes. Baked daily using as many local and organic ingredients as possible in a steam-filled oven, the results are breads that can’t be beat: hard crusts and soft, dense, chewy interiors.
When simply “seeing” a destination just won’t do.
Feature Adventure: Take a Dive
No scuba lessons needed to dive The Breconshire wreck – just basic snorkel gear and a sense of adventure. Located 400 yards from Vero Beach in 10 to 15 feet deep water (sometimes, you can even see the boat’s bow in low tide), the British steamship that sunk in 1894 after striking a reef is the area’s most accessible dive. And with much of the algae-lined structure intact, it serves as a hidden city of angelfish, eels, rays, spiny lobsters, and nurse sharks. Costa d’Este provides snorkel gear, fins, and a kayak during their Saturday 11 a.m. tours to the wreck.
Surfing Sebastian Inlet | Sebastian Inlet Surf Shop
Florida's Best known Wave
Sandy-bottomed jetty with several consistent breaks; find the biggest waves at First Peak, less-intense and less-crowded breaks to the north. Need a board? Sebastian Inlet Surf and Sport has you covered with killer deals on soft tops, longboards, and stand-up paddleboards. They also offer a two-day surf experience to jump-start your path to surfing stardom.
Airboat Tours | Gator Bait Airboat Adventure Tours
An Alligator Adventure
See live alligators on Gator Bait Airboat Adventure's one-hour tours aboard a 24-foot-long airboat. These boats travel through the Blue Cypress Conservation Area marsh, home to alligators and swamp waterfowl. They guarantee you'll see a gator, and if you're lucky, you'll get to meet one of the local monsters, Big Bubba, King Kong or Wally Gator.
Kayaking Indian River Lagoon | Adventure Kayaking
Immerse Yourself in Natural Florida
Discover a diverse estuary full of Florida's wide array of wildlife on Adventure Kayaking's three-hour tour through mangrove backwaters and seagrass beds. Expect to encounter manatee, dolphins, and osprey as you embark on your adventure through one of Florida's premier kayaking destinations. Tours in the Indian River Lagoon are offered daily year-round.
Like a Local
Quirky, under-the-radar highlights only a local could recommend.
Grind + Grape
This ocean-side coffee, dessert, and wine bar satisfies from sun up to sun down. In the morning, expect French-pressed coffees, espressos, and lattes, along with breakfast pastries; come evening, it serves small bites, flatbreads, cheese, and charcuterie, plus 100 varieties of wines and champagnes, 25 different bottled beer, and six drafts. Live music is also offered on their patio every night of the week.
Vero Beach Museum of Art’s “Selfie Spots”
While photography is usually frowned upon in museums, this neoclassical-styled venue encourages it. Posted on the floor in certain spots across the galleries hosting regional, state, and national art exhibits, you’ll find white vinyl dots inscribed with “#VBMA, Selfie Spot.” Indicating prime spots to take a snapshot, they invite visitors to see themselves inside the collection – and to promote it via social media.
Osceola Bistro Courtyard
If looking to dine outdoors, locals will point you to this casual eatery in Vero Beach’s old downtown, where a menu with an emphasis on fresh-caught local fish is served in a European-style courtyard. Lush palm trees, plantings, and large clay pots of herbs envelop tables on the brick patio centered around a large stone fountain.
Farmer's Market Oceanside
Look no further than this Saturday market at Humiston Park for nearly any and everything you would need as a local or vacationer. Offering produce, baked good, fresh fish and beef, orchids and air plants, locally grown kombucha, coffee, treats (for humans and dogs alike), and live music, it’s a great way to spend the morning before you spend your afternoon lounging beachside at Costa d'Este.
How to spend 36 hours in Vero Beach, with Costa d’Este as your base camp.
7:30 p.m. | Laugh out Loud at Riverside Theater
An evening out doesn’t get any livelier than the Comedy Zone at the area’s only professional theater. Just a five-minute drive east of Costa d’Este, the night of laughs comes complete with dinner and drinks. Come early to experience the live music outdoors and to take advantage of the full lineup of comedians.
6 a.m. | Sunrise Adventure
Every Saturday, the hotel offers a special paddleboard or kayak excursion for guests who are able to make it out of bed and to the front desk before sunrise. As you paddle around the shoreline, you might be lucky enough to spot turtles crawling back to the ocean or dolphins catching their morning meal. The experience ends with breakfast on the beach.
11 a.m. | Stroll McKee Botanical Garden
Sadly, only 18 acres of what used to be an 80-acre tropical jungle garden in the 1940s remains in this hidden Vero Beach gem. Still, it feels like a little slice right out of the Amazon: wildly twisting trees with elaborate root systems stand guard among the paths, accented with little ponds, and 10,000 native and tropical plants.
3 p.m. | Shop Ocean Drive & Dinner
The stretch of Ocean Drive from Humiston Park north to where it intersects with Banyan Road has some great boutique shopping (and within easy walking distance of Costa d’Este), including Simon Pearce pottery at Veranda and Lily Pulitzer in The Lazy Daisy on Azalea Lane. Most of the stores close down by 5 p.m., so explore for a couple hours and then grab dinner on your way back at Ocean Grill, a historic 1941 wooden building perched precariously over the Atlantic.
9 p.m. | Drinks around the Fire
If you haven’t taken advantage of your complimentary “check in” mojito at Costa d’Este’s Cabana bar, now’s the time. Enjoy it at the bar’s new patio-based fire pit, surrounded by lounge chairs beside the beach.
11 a.m. | Brunch at Costa d’Este’s The Wave Kitchen & Bar
The creative Cuban flair that makes this chic restaurant’s dinner menu so popular is also found at brunch. Try the paella de pollo, dulce de leche–stuffed French toast, or empanada de pollo. Bottomless bloody Marys made from a homemade tomato juice mix come garnished with a pickled shrimp.
- Like a LocalQuirky, below-the-radar highlights only a local could recommendRead More
- The WeekenderHow to spend 36 hours here, with the resort as your basecamp.Read More
A Gemstone Collection Hotel
Costa d'Este, 3244 Ocean Dr Vero Beach, FL 32963 P: (722) 562-9919 Toll Free Reservations: (877) 562-9919