An important stop for early sailors along the Indian River Lagoon south of Sebastian, Vero Beach drew national attention thanks to the Audubon Society and its efforts to preserve vanishing bird species from over-hunting.
In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt designated Pelican Island as the first federal bird reservation. That act lead to the creation of the National Wildlife Refuge System across America.
Vero Beach blossomed soon after, in the 1920s, with the arrival of Waldo Sexton. Literally.
While transforming the waterfront community into a winter destination, he was keen on accenting its tropical feel with tropical gardens. McKee Jungle Gardens was born.
Parks and trails in Vero Beach cluster close to the Indian River Lagoon, where the perpetual humidity encourages Florida’s native tropical species to thrive.
One of the best ways to step back in time is to follow the shellrock surface of Jungle Trail south from Pelican Island NWR to Captain Forster’s Hammock, a slow waterfront drive that makes a great bike trip as well.
Disclosure: As authors and affiliates, we receive earnings when you buy these through our links. This helps us continue to provide public information on this website.