Florida’s East or West Coast…Which do you prefer?

St Augustine Florida

Florida’s East or West Coast

Florida’s coastline is a treasure trove of charming cities, sandy shores, and diverse cultures. Let’s explore the beauty and allure of the East Coast, from Jacksonville to St. Augustine, and the West Coast, encompassing the Sarasota to Tampa area. Let’s highlight the differences between the ocean and the Gulf, the demographics, cost of living, weather, culture, and more. So, whether you’re a local, a tourist, or considering a move to the Sunshine State, read on to compare the west coast vs the east coast of Florida.

Ocean vs. Gulf: The Watery Wonders of Florida’s Coasts

If you love the water, Florida’s East and West Coasts offer unique experiences that cater to different preferences. On the East Coast, the Atlantic Ocean boasts stronger waves, making it an ideal playground for surfers and water sports enthusiasts. The cooler water temperatures are a welcome respite during hot summer days. And the wider, golden sand beaches invite relaxation and sunbathing.

Jacksonville Beach

On the other hand, the Gulf Coast is known for its calm, warm waters that invite year-round swimming and family outings. The beaches of the West Coast, stretching from Sarasota to Tampa, are adorned with powdery white sands and showcase breathtaking sunsets. The serene atmosphere makes the Gulf Coast a perfect destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat and memorable beach moments.

Moving to Florida

Tampa Coastline


Demographics: A Tale of Two Coasts

Florida’s coasts are as diverse as the people who call them home. Northeast Florida has a higher population density and a bustling urban lifestyle. The demographic here is a blend of young professionals, families, and retirees, contributing to a vibrant and thriving community. The cultural diversity in this region is influenced by both southern roots and international newcomers, making it an exciting melting pot of traditions, cuisine, and arts.

On the West Coast, smaller communities between Sarasota and Tampa enjoy a laid-back atmosphere that is perfect for those seeking tranquility and a slower pace of life. While the population is predominantly older, the region also attracts a mix of families and professionals who value the easygoing lifestyle. The arts scene, particularly in Sarasota, is thriving, and the West Coast offers a delightful combination of cultural events and outdoor activities.

Cost of Living: The Financial Side of Paradise

As with any location, the cost of living varies along Florida’s coastline. Generally, Northeast Florida offers a more affordable lifestyle, with Jacksonville’s housing costs being lower than the national average. On the other hand, St. Augustine’s popularity as a historic destination makes it slightly more expensive. However, it still offers a wide range of housing options for different budgets. Overall, the East Coast provides great value for those looking to enjoy a coastal lifestyle without breaking the bank.

In comparison, the West Coast tends to have a higher cost of living. Sarasota, with its thriving arts scene and beautiful beaches, is a popular destination for retirees and vacationers, driving up real estate prices. Tampa, a bustling urban hub, also has higher housing costs due to the demand for properties in and around the city. However, both areas offer a range of options, from luxury waterfront homes to more modest dwellings, catering to various budgets and lifestyles.

Weather: Sunshine with a Side of Storms

Florida is known for its warm, sunny climate, but the weather can vary between the East and West Coasts. Northeast Florida experiences hot and humid summers, with temperatures often reaching the 90s. Winters are mild, making it an attractive destination for snowbirds looking to escape colder climates. However, the East Coast is also more susceptible to the impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms, with Jacksonville and St. Augustine occasionally bearing the brunt of these weather events.

Hurricane season in Florida

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

The West Coast enjoys a subtropical climate with slightly higher average temperatures than the East Coast. This region is known for its gentle sea breezes, which help to moderate the heat during the summer months. Winters on the West Coast are also mild and inviting, with fewer cold snaps compared to the East Coast. While the Gulf Coast isn’t immune to hurricanes and tropical storms, their frequency and intensity are generally lower than on the Atlantic side.

Culture: Uncovering the Coastal Charm

The cultural landscape of Florida’s coasts offers something for everyone, from history buffs and foodies to art enthusiasts and sports fans. The East Coast, particularly St. Augustine, is steeped in history as the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the United States. Explore the ancient streets, visit the Castillo de San Marcos, or indulge in the diverse culinary scene. You’ll find everything from traditional Southern comfort food to international delicacies.

In contrast, the West Coast offers a blend of arts, outdoor activities, and a laid-back beach lifestyle. Sarasota is a cultural hotspot, with numerous art galleries, museums, and a world-class performing arts scene. This includes the Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra, and Sarasota Ballet. Tampa is a bustling city that boasts a rich history, a thriving craft beer scene, and an array of professional sports teams. Grab tickets to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Tampa Bay Rays.

Conclusion: Embrace the Coastal Treasures

Whether you prefer the lively atmosphere of Northeast Florida or the relaxed vibes of the West Coast, both regions offer unique experiences and stunning natural beauty. Each coast has its own distinctive charm, making Florida a veritable treasure trove of coastal gems.

There’s no shortage of adventure, culture, and natural beauty to experience in Florida. So, why not plan your next getaway or consider a move to one of these coastal paradises?¬†Which coast do you prefer? Share your favorite Florida coastal experience¬†and inspire others to explore the Sunshine State.

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About the Author
Kim Devlin
Kim Devlin is Your St Augustine Realtor. A Relocation Specialist serving Northeast Florida, St Johns County and Flagler County. She enjoys sharing real estate tips and local insight on communities and living in St Augustine Florida. Tune in weekly and be sure to subscribe to her monthly newsletter.