Gulf Coast v East Coast


Nathan Turoff, Features Editor

Florida is often viewed as the quintessential vacation destination for the entire country. This is primarily due to 2 factors: Its large number of tourist destinations, such as Disney and Universal, and its iconic beaches. Unlike pretty much every other state except for Hawaii, Florida has large beaches lining its East and West Coast. This is due to its peninsular shape, ensuring a state surrounded by water on most sides. 


When polled by Spinnaker, around sixty percent of UNF students said they preferred the East Coast, but around forty percent preferred the Gulf Coast. This is likely very skewed, as UNF is incredibly close to Jacksonville beach, and UNF students go there all the time. 

Instagram poll results courtesy of Spinnaker.

The East Coast includes the likes of Jacksonville Beach, Miami Beach, and Daytona Beach. These beaches are a part of the Eastern seaboard, which stretches all the way to Canada. They face the Atlantic Ocean. 

Jacksonville Beach, photo by Justin Nedrow.

The West Coast of Florida, also known as the Gulf Coast, faces the titular Gulf of Mexico. In addition to the Panhandle, Florida has more coastline along the Gulf of Mexico than any other other state. Iconic beaches on this coast include Clearwater Beach and Siesta Key.

Siesta Key, photo by Nathan Turoff.

There are many differences between these two coasts. While not as iconic as the Pacific waves of California’s beaches, the East beaches do see some level of decent wave activity from the Atlantic Ocean. The Gulf Coast is often much more calm, being hit by waves from the relatively secluded Gulf, rather than the rough waves of the second-largest ocean in the world. The beaches on the Gulf Coast, in addition to being much calmer, are often home to crystal-white sand, unlike the traditional tan shade of sand seen in almost every other beach in America.

East Coast Sunrise, photo by Justin Nedrow.

One of the most notable differences between the coasts is their views of the Sun. As most people will know, due to the earth’s rotation, the Sun will always rise in the east, and set in the west. Therefore, the East coast experiences beautiful sunrises, seen above, whilst the Gulf coast experiences magnificent sunsets, seen below.

Gulf Coast Sunset, photo by Nathan Turoff.

Both coasts have their own unique appeals, and everyone should definitely visit them both at some point in their lives.