Go just about anywhere in Vero Beach and you're guaranteed to spot a Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or other coffee juggernaut. They dot city streets worldwide, and it's no surprise why: they make a good cup o' joe. But what if we told you there was a much greater coffee world to explore out there, one filled with small-batch brews and rich, aromatic flavors? Indeed, there's a lot of small cafes brewing up delicious stuff just waiting to be discovered. Try one of these local coffee shops in Vero Beach, FL and expand both your mind and mug.
Visit the coffee station at Brooklyn Water Bagel and you'll be treated to a selection of artisan brews featuring light, medium, dark, and decaf blends. Then there's their signature Iced Coffee Cubsta® - grounds brewed specifically to be frozen and served over ice cubes made of coffee. This chilly caffeine cup will give you the boost you need, especially on hot summer days.
Grind & Grape sets itself apart in many ways. For one, it's a coffee shop by day and a bar with live music by night. The bright lights and seasonal cocktails certainly attract a lively nightlife crowd, but you'd be missing out if you only visited Grind & Grape after hours. Grab a mug of their seasonal or custom house brew with flavors ranging from vanilla and cinnamon to toasted marshmallow and salted caramel.
This local beanery has two locations in Vero Beach, but its origins are international. The original Rio Coco Café opened in Utila Honduras, an island 18 miles off the coast of Honduras proper. During a trip to Nicaragua in the early 2000s, the founders – Michael and Laura – of Rio Coco met missionaries who grew coffee beans and sold them to companies in the US. Years later, Michael and Laura had the idea to sell coffee themselves to fund their project to build schools for indigenous peoples in Nicaragua and Honduras. They brought the specialty blends stateside in 2011 when the first Rio Coco Café in Vero Beach opened. To this day, they continue to sell bold, flavorful coffee out of their two Vero Beach locations alongside a menu of healthy dishes, tea, and more.
Cravings is a gourmet bakery, sandwich, and ice cream café serving up hot cups o' joe all day, every day. They brew eight different roasts daily in addition to espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, Americanos, and mochas. You can even order iced versions of any of those drinks. Cravings also serves cold brew coffee.
When you think of Gainesville, FL, the first association you probably make is the University of Florida. It makes sense – UF is one of the nation's top public universities, and it just so happens to reside in a pretty small town.
If there's a second association you'd make, though, it should be Gainesville's abundant natural beauty and life. From dense blankets of maples, palms, and oak trees to the miles of swamp and marshlands in and around the city, Gainesville is rich with picturesque Floridian beauty. Even better is how easily accessible it all is! No matter where you are, you'll always be close to some of the state's finest trails and parks. Pack your comfy shoes and immerse yourself in nature with these amazing hiking trails in Gainesville, FL.
The La Chua Trail winds through Paynes Prairie, one of Florida's most diverse nature preserves. Often associated with the vast, interminable plains of the west, wild horses and bison roam freely through Paynes Prairie, and the La Chua Trail offers countless opportunities to spot these animals in their natural habitat.
That's not all; along the boardwalk trail and especially on the dike to the watchtower at the end, you'll spot anywhere from one to two dozen alligators sunbathing or floating in the water. If you're spooked by the idea of being so close to gators without any barriers – no fences here, and it's not uncommon to see gators on the actual hiking trail! – La Chua Trail might seem intimidating. Conquer that fear, however, and you'll be treated to an amazing hiking experience.
Sunbathing gators at La Chua Trail | Photo: Arkon Soikaew
Much like La Chua Trail, Sweetwater Wetlands Park is another great trail for wildlife watchers. Alligators roam freely here, as do the many snakes that make up the area's healthy reptile population. Various birds take up residence in Sweetwater, like coots and limpkins. Sweetwater offers up to 3.5 miles of hiking along various trails, with offshoot paths occurring frequently throughout the area.
The Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail tells a story as you walk it. Stretched out across 16 miles with passages through Paynes Prairie and many other points of interest, this winding trail reveals old railbeds transformed by time into verdant leisurely trails. As you hike past landmarks like concrete mileage and whistle markers, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the history permeating the area.
Driving along the curtains of pine forests of Mill Creek Preserve is one thing; hiking through them is another experience altogether. Trek through the southernmost American beech forest and marvel at the ancient trees whose limbs have outstretched over the landscape for untold time. Two trails comprise nearly five miles of hiking, giving you the freedom to choose the route that suits you.
Given its petrifying name, you might think this trail would be a Herculean trial. In fact, the name belongs to the park's defining feature: a 120-foot deep and 500-foot wide sinkhole. The trail here pushes through dense forests of trees before opening up to a set of staircases which spiral down into the sinkhole. The journey ends at an observation deck overlooking the bottom of the sinkhole.
The view from the bottom of Devil's Millhopper
Hiking through the wide-open prairies of Watermelon Pond lends a sense of liberating solitude and tranquility that's hard to find. It's one of the drier hikes in the area (an unfortunate side effect of continued development), though you'll be treated to a string of panoramic views of the seemingly boundless prairielands.
There are so many ways to manage one's nutrition – calories in/calories out, macros, keto and low-carb, just to name a few – it can be confusing to figure out which one works best for you. But no matter your dieting style, there's one universal truth they all share: eating out is hard on a diet. Thankfully, a growing number of restaurants offering more nutritionally sound menus is making it easier. Here are some of the best healthy places to eat in Orange Park, FL.
Clean Eatz takes its mission to be the first step in leading you to a healthy lifestyle seriously. Its menu is full of forward-thinking options for the nutritionally conscious, including customizable protein and veggie bowls, superfood salads, wraps, and a range of non-beef burger options. Trying to pack on muscle? Check out their protein-dense specialties and smoothies made with protein powder.
As its name illustrates, The Urban Bean offers a wide menu full of coffee, superfood smoothies, iced teas, and botanicals. The Urban Bean takes the same healthy, handmade approach to its food. Lighter breakfast options include steel-cut oatmeal bowls, yogurt pots, and power bowls with egg whites. For lunch and beyond, The Urban Bean offers an extensive salad menu, delicious flatbreads, and a selection of vegan and vegetarian options.
One of Jacksonville's local treasures, Metro Diner is known for its hearty portions of classics and its inimitable chicken and waffles. That doesn't mean they don't cater to those seeking lighter fare! Opt for the yogurt with granola or classic oatmeal for a healthy breakfast or try an avocado veggie wrap (sans the dressing) for a light lunch.
With a huge array of flavors and nutritional add-ins, Planet Smoothie is great for a midday snack that's heavy on nutrition and light on calories – especially if you order from their Planet Lite menu, which features many sub-300 calorie items. Fitness lovers can get some extra fuel for their workouts with the shop's protein, superfood, and energy subcategories.
Jeremiah's Italian Ice ensures you can still treat yourself with something sweet without worrying about obliterating your diet. Many of their flavorful 10-oz. Italian ice treats pack under 300 calories. And if you go for the sugar-free kind, you're looking at roughly half the calories for the same quantity.
Modern day living in a big city like Orlando is hard. We've never been more connected to the world at large, able to access alarming news and information whenever we want it. Add to that the typical stresses of day-to-day, metropolitan life – work, kids, traffic, crowds, maintaining relationships, the list goes on and on – and we're all basically pressure cookers desperately in need of a break.
Instead of connecting to the outside world, try connecting to your own energies with a yoga session. Yoga is a great way to keep your mind and body healthy and active, and it's been proven to help relieve tension and stress from your body. Discover for yourself that yoga is more than funky buzzwords like Zen and chakras by visiting one of these incredible yoga studios in Orlando, FL.
Orlando Power Yoga specializes in the Baron Baptiste style of yoga, which creates a flow between traditional yoga poses and dynamic connecting poses. With a focus not just on the poses themselves, but on the motions between poses, you're guaranteed to get a good workout at any of this company's three yoga studios in Orlando, FL.
Even if you're new to yoga, you'll feel at home at Project 7 Yoga's studio. They practice all levels of yoga with an emphasis on safe movements, deep breathing, and meditation. Students of this studio are quick to rave about how the instructors at Project 7 push them to reach beyond what they thought they could accomplish in comfortable ways.
Yoga is about connecting with and improving your mental and physical well-being, and Inspirit believes that shouldn't have to cost you a fortune. That's why you can drop in to any class for only $5 cash – no advance registration or membership required. It's the perfect affordable pick-me-up after a long day at the office.
Don't just learn yoga; experience yoga. That's what the instructors at College Park Yoga offer their students: an experience that you can carry with you into a lifelong practice of safe, effective exercise. It's also a great studio to check out if the sweat and intensity of hot yoga makes you a little leery.
Elevate Yoga splits its offerings into two studios: the "Earth" studio where traditional mat yoga is practiced, and the "Air" studio where brightly colored silk hammocks are used in aerial yoga. Drop-in classes are affordable at $8, or you can purchase a package with multiple classes included.
If you're wondering what goat yoga is, well…it's the same as normal yoga but there are goats. Goat Yoga Central combines the serenity of yoga with the rejuvenation of animal therapy to create a truly wholesome and invigorating mind and body experience. Put another way: You haven't lived until you've done yoga with a goat on your back.
After a chilly winter, we think we speak for all Gainesville-ians (and Floridians, for that matter) when we say welcome back, spring! Now that spring sunshine and warmer temperatures are becoming the norm again, there are plenty of reasons to get outside and explore all the wonder the city has to offer. So put the long sleeves back in the closet and go check out these outdoor events in Gainesville, FL.
How do you make a run for charity even better? Add inflatable obstacles! Bring the whole family out to this fun run and a have a blast bouncing around the custom-designed course.
Santa Fe's Spring Arts Festival is one of the three largest annual events in Gainesville, and it's easy to see why. Set amid the picturesque homes in the Northeast Gainesville Historic District, this festival features live music, dance performances, and of course, tons of dazzling local art.
This sponsored event features kids' activities, environmental exhibits, art vendors, live music, and more. But the real star of this event is the chili cookoff. Get your best chili recipe ready to take on the rest or brave the spices as a taste-tester. Either way, you're guaranteed a good time.
Watson's Tioga office is holding its annual Easter egg hunt, offering loads of fun for kids and parents alike. Kids of all ages can hunt for Easter eggs, play in bounce houses, or participate in a series of fun games like the Rabbit Hole Maze or Rabbit Hole Toss. There will also be face painting and treats including snow cones and cookies.
Come for the beautiful gardens on the property, stay for the tasty food, local artisans, vintage wares, and so much more. Admission is free, and any proceeds from sales will benefit the Gainesville Garden Club's philanthropic endeavors.
Gearheads and modern history buffs come together at this festival of gorgeous vintage and modern cars and motorcycles. Spectators get in free or you can register your vehicle to compete for the grand prize of coolest car!
Head to Santa Fe's Teaching Zoo for this family-friendly event and learn about fun ways to enjoy and conserve nature. Your kids can explore the zoo and take part in fun activities like face painting, crafts, training demonstrations, and more.
We Are Neutral has made its mark helping local businesses and individuals understand, reduce, and offset their carbon footprints. Now's your chance to join the movement at their Earth Day celebration. In addition to the fun education, there will be live music, local craft vendors, food trucks, and more.
A local physician couple teamed with World Help, a humanitarian organization, and Created Gainesville, a local women's outreach, to create this run for a good cause. Both the 5k and 10k walk/run aim to generate awareness and raise funds to help bring an end to human trafficking.
Do your part to aid Floridians impacted by epilepsy by participating in this event. In addition to the walk, there will be a DJ, raffles for prizes, presentation of the Clayton Feigh Youth Award, and more.
Journey back to ye ole pioneer days at this historic festival located only a short 30-minute drive outside of Gainesville. Visit vendors selling homemade crafts, clothing, and furniture of the era and check out art from local artists. There's even a pie baking contest on Saturday, April 27!