We recently had a great first time visit to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort in Florida. We already posted an overall review of the resort as well as an article dedicated to dining information. This final post is dedicated to the activities we enjoyed while staying at this great property. Vero Beach is a much more quiet and relaxed trip than compared to visiting nearby Orlando, but there were definitely still quite a few things to do (or not do!) while on vacation. Read on for our top activity picks…
1. The Beach
One of the best parts about visiting Disney’s Vero Beach is being steps away from the Atlantic Ocean. The resort and beach are separated by thick bushes but there is a main entry point near the pool with a boardwalk that leads straight out to the sand. We found this beach to be on the smaller side, but it was not crowded and felt very secluded and peaceful. We enjoyed quite a few walks along the water and saw some beautiful sunrise skies.
There is also a cabana nearby that has plenty of rental items to enjoy such as:
TIP: Disney Vacation Club Members receive discounts on many rental items. Make sure to take your card!
It is also important to note that this area is one of the most dense sea turtle nesting spots in the western hemisphere. So make sure to keep an eye out for are the stakes with ribbon marking out small squares. These identify where there are currently sea turtle nests with eggs waiting to hatch. May through summer is the season for sea turtles so if you are staying at the resort during this time, be sure to go down to the ocean right around sunrise. Disney is tasked with taking care of five miles of beach in front of the resort so they go up and down the beach looking to see if any of the baby turtles left their nest for the ocean. If you are lucky enough to see this happen, they inventory the nest to make sure all of the turtles got out. If some are stuck in the sand, they will help them out of the nest and onto the beach where they will then place them on the sand and make sure they make their way to the ocean. We were lucky enough to see this little guy one morning at the resort:
2. The Pool
Of course one of the main focal points of the Vero Beach Resort is the pool area. While a family resort with plenty of kid areas, we actually found the area quite peaceful. There seem to be plenty of chairs, and while there in September we had our pick of anywhere we wanted. One thing to note is all of the umbrellas are attached to tables. So to find shade we either needed to push our loungers up under a table or rely on palm trees. (Bring plenty of sunscreen!)
The pool also features a large water slide, which is longer and faster than it first appears. The line for the slide never grew longer than about five people and more often than not, there was no wait. We had a lot of fun mixing in some slide rides during the day. In the same area as the pool is a hot tub and also a children’s pirate ship play zone behind the slide.
3. Resort Recreation & Activities
The resort has a healthy selection of on property games and sports. There is shuffleboard, corn hole, ping-pong and a pool table all located close to the pool. Most activities require a visit to Eb & Flows for both complimentary items and those that require a fee such as bicycles.
Behind the kids splash area near the rear of the pool is a 9-hole mini golf. We played this one afternoon while hanging out at the pool. It is free for DVC members and a few bucks for non-members. Just about everyone, including ourselves, plays the course in their swimsuits. We had fun and enjoyed the Disney themed holes.
One recreation area we learned about completely by accident were the basketball and tennis courts, along with a small pond and field directly across A1A from the resort. Apparently, there were going to expand the resort when they first built it but decided to use the land for recreational activities instead.
NOTE: For rainy days you can pick up board games at Eb & Flows or rent movies at the lobby gift shop.
The resort also has a printed schedule of weekly events (almost similar to a cruise). They have about 12-15 events/activities per day, some of which cost money and some that are free to all resort guests. There are also some variations to the cost based on whether or not you are a Disney Vacation Club Member. Many activities were geared towards kids of course but there were some fun ones for everyone. We witnessed some of the ones by the pool such as water slide races and trivia. A couple nights a week there is a campfire. If you don’t feel like doing the activity you can even swing by about 30 minutes after it starts to grab a free S’more. We also went to the Green Cabin Room one night to play an adult focused game called Majority Rules. It’s worth checking the schedule to see if there are any activities of interest during your visit.
4. The Spa
The Spa at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is located at the far north end of the main building. You can get there through from the lobby or an outside entrance. We stopped by Wednesday morning to inquire about a couple’s massage and they were able to get us in later that afternoon. We also received a 10% DVC discount.
The Spa is small and quiet with a beachy atmosphere. They have some products available to purchase but we never got a heavy sales pitch. When checking in we were escorted to a little room to do paperwork and were offered water and tea.
For anyone who has had a couple’s massage in the past, this will be a different set up than you may be used to. They open a divider between two regular massage rooms to make one large room. We were on tables at opposite ends of the large room, not next to one another as we have experienced in the past. Most of the massage options are either 50 or 80 minutes; we opted for the 50 minute Sweedish massage. As far as quality, the service was about on par with any cruise or resort treatment. It was not the absolute best massage we have ever had, but still very good quality and just what we needed to relax on vacation. It was also so convenient to be able to take a 2 minute walk from our room to the spa, and then head back to the pool after.
5. Local Tours/Excursions
There are a few tour options that you can book right through the resort. We always like to get out and see the area we are visiting and decided to try a kayaking tour (something we hadn't done since our honeymoon!) Just like most activities at the resort, we signed up and paid at Eb & Flo’s near the pool. At 8:30 one morning we met a cast member in the lobby to depart by vans to the activity site.
It was about a 30 minute drive to Round Island Riverside Park where we met Maddie, the tour guide and owner of Adventure Kayaking. After a quick safety briefing, we were given paddles, fitted into our kayak, and away we went. From the shoreline and right after we launched, we could see quite a few manatees splashing around. For most of the tour, we saw plenty of birds and fish, and we received a well informed tour of the mangroves and the surrounding environment.
We made one stop during the tour on a small island that locals camp at to relax for a bit and to cool down. The guides provided water and snacks in the form of candy and granola bars. They also had additional sunscreen if anyone needed it. Towards the end of the tour, we caught a glimpse of a dolphin and the manatees again when we neared the end of our tour.
One good thing about this tour is that even as we spread out on the water, there was always someone around to answer questions. That is because in addition to the tour guide, a Disney Cast Member was also with our group who was very knowledgeable. The tour guide led the group and the cast member was in the rear, both very eager to answer any questions.
Something to keep in mind, having a good time may hinge on how much you see. If we hadn’t seen the manatees, all of the fish jumping, and the dolphin, we wouldn’t have enjoyed ourselves nearly as much as we did. We loved learning about all of the wildlife in the area while also getting a bit of a sweat session in.
Overall we had a blast at Disney’s Vero Beach resort with the perfect balance of a lot of doing nothing by the pool, sprinkled in with a variety of these activities. We were surprised at the amount of things to do and would be happy to go again and try some other activities too!