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Florida’s Vero Beach perfect for a long, weekend getaway

White-sand beaches, diverse estuaries and fresh seafood are among the draws for vacationing New Yorkers.

The beach at Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel &

The beach at Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa is among the picturesque playas along Vero Beach on Florida's Treasure Coast. Photo Credit: Tracy Kaler

Escape the city for a long weekend in Vero Beach, along Florida’s Treasure Coast.

Sink your toes into warm, white sand, feast on freshly caught seafood, and kayak or paddleboard on the Indian River Lagoon in what’s been dubbed “the Hamptons of Florida.”

Unlike some seaside communities, you won’t find high rises in the resort town. Buildings are four stories max, leaving tons of space to bask in those glorious sunrises and sunsets. Above all — Vero Beach is where you can kick back and take it easy, doing as much or as little as you’d like.

Get beachy

Spend a lazy day hanging out on one of Vero’s pristine beaches. South Beach Park (1704 Ocean Dr.) is a go-to spot for Vero natives, with plenty of space to sprawl and play beach bum for the day. Situated at the end of 17th Street, the life-guarded stretch of sand offers picnic pavilions plus umbrellas and chairs for rent.

The centrally located Humiston Park (3000 Ocean Dr.) attracts both singles and families. Terrific for sunning, strolling or jumping the waves, this guarded beach features a playground for the kids as well as showers and parking.

Catch one of Vero Beach’s famed sunrises at Sexton Plaza Beach (1050 Beachland Blvd.). This unguarded beach is convenient to seaside shopping and a handful of eateries, ideal for ducking into air-conditioned stores and grabbing a bite and an ice-cold beverage on the hottest afternoons.

For nature lovers

Explore the Indian River Lagoon, one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in the Northern Hemisphere, by kayak or paddleboard with Paddles by the Sea (rentals from $25/hour; 772-444-7871, paddlesbythesea.com).

Zip over the backwaters of the St. Johns River in the Florida Cracker Airboat (one-hour tours $45/adult, $20/ages 12 and under; 772-563-0001, floridacrackerairboatride.com). During a tour on the airplane engine-powered airboat, you might spot birds, alligators and other wildlife in their natural habitat.

In the early evening, board the Moonraker (from $475/up to six; 772-696-2941, sailmoonraker.com) and capture the brilliant, Instagram-worthy sky during a sunset sail over the Indian River, all while noshing and swilling cocktails.

Local eats

For a selection of steaks and some of the freshest seafood in town, including oysters, sea scallops and jumbo lump crab, plan an evening at Ocean Grill (1050 Sexton Plaza, 772-231-5409, ocean-grill.com). Request a table by the window for a water view.

Devour dishes made from regional ingredients at Cobalt (3500 Ocean Dr., 772-469-1060, cobaltrestaurant.com) at the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa. Overlooking the beach, the restaurant serves up a variety of American classics with global influences alongside yummy craft cocktails.

The Tides (3103 Cardinal Dr., 772-234-3966, tidesofvero.com) is the place for upscale cuisine sans stuffiness. Melt-in-your-mouth grouper and the veal scaloppini are house favorites. A diverse wine list ensures the perfect pairing.

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