Round Island Oceanside Park and Round Island Riverside Park#1 in Best Things To Do in Vero Beach
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One of Vero Beach's main draws is its beautiful beaches, and many consider the town's best to be the beach at Round Island Oceanside Park. Located 8 miles southeast of downtown Vero, this beach park offers everything you need. You'll find covered pavilions with grills, a playground and restrooms, among other amenities. Plus, the wide shore offers plenty of space for stretching out, even when there are sections blocked off to protect sea turtle nests.
But what sets this beach apart from others is its proximity to the Indian River Lagoon. When you want a change of scenery, you can walk across state Road A1A to the beach's sister park: Round Island Riverside Park. This park's amenities include a 400-foot-long boardwalk, nature trails, a fishing pier and an observation tower. Climb up the tower to look for manatees, or go paddleboarding or kayaking to see the gentle creatures up close. Water sports equipment rentals are not available on-site, so remember to bring your own gear or arrange equipment delivery if you want to get out on the water.
Recent visitors loved exploring both parks, citing the clean beach, gorgeous water, well-maintained facilities and quiet setting as highlights. Reviewers were also impressed with the number of manatees and dolphins they saw while visiting. Just be sure to tread carefully when you're at the beach. From March through October, sea turtles come ashore at night to lay eggs, so you'll need to be extra mindful of where you step and dig holes.
Round Island Oceanside Park and Round Island Riverside Park welcome visitors every day from 7 a.m. to sunset, but lifeguard services at the beach are only available between 9:10 a.m. and 4:50 p.m. daily. There is no entrance fee for either side, and complimentary parking is available at both parks. If you want to paddleboard or kayak at Round Island Riverside Park but don't have your own equipment, you can rent loaner gear from Orchid Island Bikes & Kayaks and have it delivered to the park. Fees start at $45 for a half-day rental or $75 for a full day and include use of a board or kayak, a paddle and a life jacket. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance to accommodate delivery requests. For more information, visit Indian River County's Round Island Oceanside Park page and Round Island Riverside Park page.
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#2 Sebastian Inlet State Park
Situated less than 2 miles north of Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge between the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, this protected area is a surfer's paradise. At Sebastian Inlet State Park, you'll find world-renowned surf spots like First Peak and Monster Hole, which offer some of the state's best and most consistent surf breaks. In fact, this inlet's surfing conditions are so sublime, professional surfers like Kelly Slater and C.J. and Damien Hobgood came here regularly as kids to hone their skills. But the gnarly swells aren't the only reason why you should visit. The park's unspoiled beaches are great places to look for seashells and sea turtle nests, the jetties offer excellent fishing opportunities, the Bayside Marina serves as a terrific spot to view wildlife like dolphins and manatees, and the lagoon features calm water ideal for kayaking. There's also the Hammock Trail, a mile-long path that travels past various subtropical plants, including mangrove, palm and oak trees.
If you're a history buff, save time for a visit to the on-site Sebastian Fishing Museum. The free museum offers various exhibits about some of the fish houses that were established here in the 19th and 20th centuries, including a replica of an original fish house, a homemade fishing boat and fishing gear. Another must-see historical attraction is the McLarty Treasure Museum, which sits just outside of the park by its south entrance.
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