A 3-Day Vacation Guide to Vero Beach and Sebastian, Florida
Need a break from the Northeast winter? Then look south, particularly to Vero Beach and Sebastian—the perfect destination for a quick Florida winter weekend getaway. With direct flights from the New York City and New Jersey area via Elite Airways, Vero Beach and Sebastian in Indian River County are relatively easy to travel to, and despite the area’s 26 miles of pristine coastline and gorgeous beaches, the county remains a relatively well-kept secret on Florida’s Atlantic coast. The beaches are uncrowded, and the destination is punctuated with fabulous restaurants and luxury resorts. If you’re looking for a perfect spot to spend a long weekend this winter, check out this 3-day guide to Vero Beach and Sebastian, Florida.
Friday: Check In and Head Out
With direct flights from the New York area to Vero Beach and Sebastian, your first day isn’t wasted; it can be filled with activities. First things first: hotel check-in. Vero Beach is home to one of Florida’s top hotels. The fabulous Costa d’Este Beach Resort, owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan, is a swanky resort overlooking the ocean. The AAA 40-Diamond resort has hints of retro influence, but its unpretentious luxury and unparalleled service is what guests remember most. Last year, the World Luxury Spa Awards named the Spa at Costa d’Este one of the best luxury spas in the Americas.
Another popular place to stay in the area is Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, a luxury oceanfront retreat with a boutique vibe but the amenities, services and restaurants you usually find in a full-service resort. The hotel has an upscale beachy vibe with cabana furniture, firepits and comfy lounge seats around the pool as well as on the beach. The heated oceanside pool is sandwiched between two fantastic restaurants that overlook the Atlantic ocean. The hotel made Conde Nast Traveler’s readers’ choice list of top 20 hotels in the country in 2015.
After your bags have been dropped off, check the schedule at the Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach at Riverside Park. It’s known as America’s largest small-town professional theater, staging productions from classic Broadway shows like “CHICAGO the Musical” and “Saturday Night Fever” as well as ballet performances, comedy shows, concerts and dueling-piano shows. You can also catch a free outdoor concert at Riverside Theatre. Live in the Loop takes place on select weekends year-round, featuring cool bands in a variety of genres from folk rock to blues to island music.
For dinner, make sure Citrus Grillhouse, a seaside American bistro-style restaurant in Vero Beach, is on your short list. The restaurant, named one of the top outdoor restaurants in the country by OpenTable, has a spacious patio facing the Atlantic Ocean. The menu is always changing to include the freshest Florida ingredients, but you can expect to find delicious local fish and specialty pastas throughout the year (think Florida shrimp risotto, pan-seared sea scallops, and truffle mac and cheese). And save room for a classic Floridian dessert—the key lime pie.
After dinner, retire to your hotel for a nightcap. Vero Beach Hotel’s poolside bar is open until 10 p.m., while the lounge at Cobalt Restaurant stays open later.
Saturday: By Land, Air or Sea
After a quick hotel breakfast, do something a little different on your Florida weekend getaway. Head to Treasure Coast Seaplanes, a tour company owned by a husband-and-wife team with a combined 30 years of flying experience (advanced reservations required). Board a seaplane and cruise along the coast before taking off into the air for a bird’s eye view of Indian River County that’s beyond compare. A tour lasts more than a hour, taking you over the gorgeous untouched wilderness of Blue Cypress Lake and Indian River Lagoon, where a wealth of wildlife resides.
Stay near the water by dining at Ocean Grill, a casually elegant eatery with ocean views where seafood is the star of the show. Ocean Grill is known for its fried oysters, mango crab salad and lobster rolls. The restaurant has been around for almost 70 years, making it one of the landmark eateries in the area. More: See more great waterfront restaurants in Vero Beach and Sebastian here.
After lunch, take a trip on Sail Moonraker, a charter boat that cruises along the coast during sunset hours. Dolphin and manatee sightings are common, and you can bring your own food and drinks. Tours can last for up to 3 to 4 hours with a max of six people per charter.
At nightfall, drive to 14th Avenue to Southern Social Kitchen and Bar—a newly opened restaurant and hot nightspot in downtown Vero—for a menu stuffed with shareable barbecue plates and handheld sandwiches. Grab a seat at the bar under cool, industrial lamps and check out the impressive chalkboard artwork that fills the restaurant’s back wall. Order the smoked brisket, pork stack, southern ramen or short rib sliders that comes with a complimentary basket of freshly made cornbread. The cocktail menu has delicious, hand-crafted concoctions with quirky names like Some Bees with Vinegar and The Black Pearl. For beer connoisseurs, there are impressive craft brews that are brought in locally and nationwide. It’s easy to spend an hour here for dinner, but it’s a cool spot to spend an entire evening, catching up with a date or friends.
Sunday: Nourishing the Mind and Body
Start your day last day in Vero Beach and Sebastian on the water—this time with a paddleboard. There are several companies that rent out paddleboards, including Orchid Island Bikes & Kayaks, Shark Bait Beach Gear Rentals and Paddles by the Sea. Paddling along the coast will give you a better chance to encounter dolphins, manatees and other wildlife that inhabit the area year-round. Guests can opt to rent kayaks as an alternative.
And before grabbing an afternoon flight, make time to visit the Vero Beach Museum of Art, one of the area’s most renowned visual arts destinations featuring collections from the early 20th century to today in mediums including glass, painting, photography, sculpture and more. Grab lunch at the museum cafe, and check out any of the current exhibitions before grabbing a cab to the airport.
This is just a snapshot of all the cool things you can do on a weekend trip to Vero Beach and Sebastian in Florida’s Indian River County. Explore our website for more travel ideas, including arts and culture events, water activities, nature excursions and waterfront restaurants.