Vero Beach is a city in and the county seat of Indian River County, Florida, United States. According to the 2020 census, the city had a population of 16,354.[7] Nicknamed “The Gateway to the Tropics”, the city is situated along the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean on Florida's Treasure Coast.[8] Located at the northern end of the South Florida region, Vero Beach is 85 miles (137 km) southeast of Orlando and 65 miles (105 km) north of West Palm Beach.

Vero Beach, Florida
City of Vero Beach
Downtown Vero in 2010
Downtown Vero in 2010
Official seal of Vero Beach, Florida
Nickname: 
The Hibiscus City[1]
Motto(s): 
The Gateway to the Tropics
Where the Tropics Begin
Location in Indian River County and the state of Florida
Location in Indian River County and the state of Florida
Vero Beach is located in Florida
Vero Beach
Vero Beach
Location in the United States
Vero Beach is located in the United States
Vero Beach
Vero Beach
Vero Beach (the United States)
Coordinates: 27°39′N 80°23′W / 27.650°N 80.383°W / 27.650; -80.383
Country United States
State Florida
CountyIndian River
Settled1870
via Plat1913-1914
Incorporated (Vero)June 10, 1919
Incorporated (Vero Beach)May 19, 1925
Government
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • MayorJohn E. Cotugno[2]
 • City ManagerMonte K. Falls[3]
 • City Council
List
Area
 • City13.40 sq mi (34.72 km2)
 • Land11.50 sq mi (29.78 km2)
 • Water1.91 sq mi (4.93 km2)  14.31%
Elevation
13 ft (4 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • City16,354
 • Density1,422.21/sq mi (549.10/km2)
 • Metro
159,788
 Census Bureau
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
32960-32969
Area code772
FIPS code12-74150[5]
GNIS feature ID0292760[6]
Websitehttp://www.covb.org

Vero Beach was named the 7th Best Small Beach Town in Florida by Southern Living Magazine in 2023.[9] The main roadways in the city are U.S. Route 1 and Florida State Road A1A.

History edit

 
Vero Beach, 1932

Pre-Columbian edit

Parts of a human skeleton were found north of Vero in association with the remains of Pleistocene animals in 1915. The find was controversial, and the view that the human remains dated from much later than the Pleistocene prevailed for many years.[10] In 2006, an image of a mastodon or mammoth carved on a bone was found in vicinity of the Vero man discovery. A scientific forensic examination of the bone found the carving had probably been done in the Pleistocene.[11] Archaeologists from Mercyhurst University, in conjunction with the Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee (OVIASC), conducted excavations at the Old Vero Man site in Vero Beach in 2014–2015.[12] Starting in 2016, archaeologists from Florida Atlantic University joined the Old Vero Man site excavations.[13]

Post-Columbian edit

In 1715, a Spanish treasure fleet wrecked off the coast of Vero. Eleven out of twelve Spanish ships carrying tonnes of silver foundered in a hurricane. The remains of the silver attracted pirates. A group of 300 unemployed English privateers led by Henry Jennings stole about £87,500 in gold and silver in their first acts of piracy. The coins still wash to the shore to this day.[14]

In 1872, Captain Allen W. Estes officially established the first land patent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon, after settling in the area in 1870.[citation needed]

In 1893, Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway began operation through the area.[15]

The town of Vero was chartered on June 10, 1919,[8][16] with a population of 71 residents.[17]

Vero was officially renamed "Vero Beach" and was switched from being part of St. Lucie County to becoming the county seat of Indian River County upon its formation in May 19, 1925.[18] There are many theories on possible origin of the city name, but there's no consensus.[18] Early residential construction in the area often utilized Florida cracker architecture style.[19]

During the war year of 1942, the U.S. Navy selected 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) surrounding the Vero Beach Municipal Airport as the site of Fort Pierce Naval Amphibious Training Base, a Naval Air Station. Due to the bombing practices conducted during the WWII, there are many buried explosives and the Army Corps officials have conducted ongoing search & clearing exercises for the potentially dangerous items since 2014.[20][21]

In 1951, Barber Bridge was built from mainland to barrier islands. It was later demolished and replaced in 1995 with the Merrill P. Barber Bridge. It is named after Merrill P. Barber who was the mayor of Vero beach in 1947.[22]

In 1957, Piper Aircraft began research and development in Vero Beach. In 1961 Piper Aircraft moved administrative and manufacturing operations to Vero after completing building additions.[23]

In 1965, the A1A bridge over the Sebastian Inlet connected the two barrier islands.[24][15] In 1979, the 17th Street Bridge was completed, allowing a second point of access from Vero Beach mainland to the barrier islands.

Geography edit

 
Vero Beach FL Treasure Hammock Ranch Farmstead02

Like much of Florida, Vero Beach is mostly flat, stretching from the beach and running inland. The average elevation of the city is 23 feet above sea level. [25]

The exact coordinates for the city of Vero Beach are 27°39′N 80°23′W / 27.650°N 80.383°W / 27.650; -80.383

Climate edit

Under the Köppen climate classification, Vero Beach has a humid subtropical climate, bordering very closely on a tropical monsoon climate, with hot and humid summers and warm, drier winters. Nevertheless, The city experiences a significant amount of rainfall, even during the month with historically low precipitation levels.

Climate data for Vero Beach, Florida (Vero Beach Regional Airport), 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1942–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 88
(31)
90
(32)
93
(34)
97
(36)
99
(37)
102
(39)
99
(37)
98
(37)
97
(36)
94
(34)
92
(33)
89
(32)
102
(39)
Mean maximum °F (°C) 84.2
(29.0)
86.0
(30.0)
88.8
(31.6)
90.7
(32.6)
93.3
(34.1)
95.1
(35.1)
95.3
(35.2)
95.0
(35.0)
92.9
(33.8)
90.8
(32.7)
86.7
(30.4)
84.4
(29.1)
96.6
(35.9)
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 73.3
(22.9)
75.6
(24.2)
78.4
(25.8)
81.9
(27.7)
85.7
(29.8)
88.9
(31.6)
90.5
(32.5)
90.6
(32.6)
88.4
(31.3)
84.8
(29.3)
79.3
(26.3)
75.4
(24.1)
82.7
(28.2)
Daily mean °F (°C) 62.8
(17.1)
65.0
(18.3)
68.0
(20.0)
72.1
(22.3)
76.7
(24.8)
80.6
(27.0)
81.9
(27.7)
82.1
(27.8)
80.9
(27.2)
76.9
(24.9)
70.4
(21.3)
65.7
(18.7)
73.6
(23.1)
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 52.2
(11.2)
54.5
(12.5)
57.7
(14.3)
62.4
(16.9)
67.8
(19.9)
72.2
(22.3)
73.3
(22.9)
73.6
(23.1)
73.4
(23.0)
69.0
(20.6)
61.4
(16.3)
56.1
(13.4)
64.5
(18.1)
Mean minimum °F (°C) 34.7
(1.5)
37.8
(3.2)
41.7
(5.4)
48.0
(8.9)
57.4
(14.1)
66.9
(19.4)
69.6
(20.9)
69.9
(21.1)
68.2
(20.1)
54.9
(12.7)
45.7
(7.6)
39.3
(4.1)
32.8
(0.4)
Record low °F (°C) 21
(−6)
28
(−2)
26
(−3)
36
(2)
46
(8)
57
(14)
62
(17)
63
(17)
61
(16)
45
(7)
31
(−1)
23
(−5)
21
(−6)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.74
(70)
2.20
(56)
3.44
(87)
3.06
(78)
4.20
(107)
6.76
(172)
5.68
(144)
7.35
(187)
7.04
(179)
5.33
(135)
2.91
(74)
2.54
(65)
53.25
(1,353)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 8.1 7.0 7.5 6.7 8.8 13.9 13.0 15.0 15.8 11.9 9.0 8.7 125.4
Source: NOAA[26][27]

Demographics edit

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
1920793
19302,268186.0%
19403,05034.5%
19504,74655.6%
19608,84986.5%
197011,90834.6%
198016,17635.8%
199017,3507.3%
200017,7052.0%
201015,220−14.0%
202016,3547.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[28]
Vero Beach racial composition
(Hispanics excluded from racial categories)
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race Pop 2010[29] Pop 2020[30] % 2010 % 2020
White (NH) 12,394 12,741 81.43% 77.91%
Black or African American (NH) 676 681 4.44% 4.16%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 26 32 0.17% 0.20%
Asian (NH) 279 360 1.83% 2.20%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian (NH) 14 7 0.09% 0.04%
Some other race (NH) 17 88 0.11% 0.54%
Two or more races/Multiracial (NH) 180 508 1.18% 3.10%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 1,634 1,937 10.74% 11.84%
Total 15,220 16,354

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 16,354 people, 7,775 households, and 3,587 families residing in the city.[31]

In 2020, 14.4% of the population was under the age of 18, and 28.9% of the population was 65 years of age or older. Females made up 53.0% of the population in 2020, and the average household size was 2.12.[32]

In 2020, the median income for a household in the city was $54,311, and the per capita income for the city was $52,524. Out of the total population, 12.8% were living below the poverty line.[32]

As of the 2010 United States census, there were 15,220 people, 7,201 households, and 3,982 families residing in the city.[33]

In 2010, there were 7,505 households, out of which 16.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.4% were non-families. 19.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older, with 4.8% being 85 years and older. The average household size was 2.01 and the average family size was 2.65.[34]

In 2010, in the city the population was spread out, with 14.1% under the age of 16, 84.1% over 18, 4.3% from 15 to 19, 4.9% from 20 to 24, 5.5% from 20 to 25 and 29.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50.9 years.[34]

In 2010, for every 100 females, there were 92.8 males. The population consists of 51.3% female and 48.7% male.[34]

Industry edit

Vero Beach is home to general aviation manufacturer Piper Aircraft, which is the largest private employer in Indian River County. As of July 2015, Piper employed approximately 750 people. Aside from Piper, the bulk of commercial activity in Vero Beach centers around tourism, the citrus industry and service activities.

Retail edit

There are two shopping malls: the Indian River Mall, and the Vero Beach Outlets just west of I-95 on State Road 60. There are small specialty shops along Ocean Drive on the barrier island. There are also a set of shops directly inland in what is called "Miracle Mile." The Historic Downtown is a newly revitalized area of shopping, dining, antique stores, and art galleries.

Tourism edit

Points of interest edit

Beaches edit

The beaches in Vero Beach are part of Florida's Treasure Coast. Vero's three main public beaches are South Beach, accessible at the eastern end of Florida State Road 656 at the eastern end of 17th Street; Humiston Park, in Vero's Central Beach Business District on Ocean Drive and Jaycee Park which is adjacent to Conn Beach. There are 26 miles (42 km) of oceanfront shore in Indian River County. Vero Beach also has other free public access trails and walkways with beach access, such as Riomar Beach, Sea Cove, Sea Grape Trail, Sexton Plaza, and Turtle Trail.

Water recreation in the Indian River Lagoon edit

The Indian River Lagoon, passing through Vero Beach, forms a significant portion of the Intracoastal Waterway, and is a hub for boating, fishing, water skiing, diving, kayaking and other small-craft waterborne activities.

Resorts edit

Disney's Vero Beach Resort is officially located in Wabasso Beach, a small town north of Vero Beach. As of 2021, the city hosts 14 private golf clubs.[35]

Historic Dodgertown edit

Vero Beach is home to Historic Dodgertown, which initially started operations during World War II as a U.S. Naval Air Station, and later served as the spring training facility of the Brooklyn Dodgers and successor Los Angeles Dodgers baseball teams,[36] until 2008. After the team's departure for a new Spring home in Arizona in 2008, it has served as a year-round multi-purpose facility for athletes of all ages. As of January 2, 2019, MLB has assumed control of the historic facilities with plans to expand the complex and rename it The Jackie Robinson Training Complex. This is to honor both the late Jackie Robinson and the site's history as the first racially integrated spring training center in the American South.[37]

 
Vero Beach had been the spring training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers since 1948. The Dodgers left Vero Beach in 2008 for Glendale, AZ.
National Register of Historic Places edit
 
Vero Railroad Station
 
McKee Jungle Gardens

Infrastructure edit

Transportation edit

Air edit

Vero Beach Regional Airport is a public airport one mile northwest of Vero Beach, offering commercial jet service by Breeze Airways since February 2023.[38]

Bus edit

Vero Beach is served by GoLine Bus routes.[39]

Rail edit

The Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) mainline bisects Vero Beach, with an active team track in town serving two off-line lumber/building products customers, who receive boxcars, flatcars and gondolas.[40] The Vero Railroad Station served the transportation needs of the community and its surrounding agricultural area for almost 65 years from 1903 to 1968.[41] It now serves as a county historical exhibit center.[42]

Government edit

The city government of Vero Beach follows a Council-manager model form of government[2] with a five-member city council as the elected governing body, from which a mayor is selected by fellow members, responsible for legislative functions such as establishing policy, passing local ordinances, voting appropriations, and developing an overall vision alongside a city manager hired by city council to oversee the administrative operations, implement its policies, and advise it. Members of the city council serve two-year terms with staggered elections.

Public safety edit

Fire Rescue edit

Indian River County Fire Rescue provides fire protection and emergency medical services to the citizens of Vero Beach. There are three fire stations assigned to the city:

  • Station 1 – Engine 1, Rescue 1, Ladder 1.
  • Station 2 – Engine 2, Rescue 2, Dive Rescue 2.
  • Station 3 – Engine 3, Rescue 3, ARFF 3.[43][44]

Police Department edit

The Vero Beach Police Department provides police protection for the city. Its headquarters is located at 1055 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL, and it is staffed with approximately 61 sworn officers.[45][46]

Education edit

Public schools edit

The Indian River County School District operates the following public schools serving Vero Beach:[47]

  • Vero Beach High School
  • Gifford Middle School
  • Oslo Middle School
  • Storm Grove Middle School
  • Beachland Elementary School
  • Citrus Elementary School
  • Dodgertown Elementary School
  • Glendale Elementary School
  • Indian River Academy (elementary)
  • Liberty Magnet School (elementary)
  • Osceola Magnet School (elementary)
  • Rosewood Magnet School (elementary)
  • Vero Beach Elementary School
  • Alternative Center for Education

Charter schools edit

Private schools edit

  • Saint Edward's School. Independent College Preparatory in Episcopal School Tradition; grades pre-K–12
  • St. Helen Catholic School
  • Anderson Academy; grades 8–12
  • Masters Academy; grades pre-K–12
  • Tabernacle Christian School; grades K–8
  • SunCoast School; grades pre-K–8

Colleges edit

Notable people edit

 
Sandy Koufax
 
Ivan Lendl

References edit

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External links edit