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Florida - East Coast vs. Gulf Coast - opinion asap

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Florida - East Coast vs. Gulf Coast - opinion asap

Old Apr 24th, 2009, 06:34 PM
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The East coast is nice but St Pete and Treasure Island are better. Lots of nice places to stay, great places to eat, and fun things to do.
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 08:01 PM
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I'm one of the rare people who happens to prefer the east coast, mainly because it feels to me like there is a greater variety of things to do at night. My wife and I mainly travel alone now that our kids are grown, so this seems more important to us these days. But it might also have something to do with the fact that my in-laws are located over on the west coast!

Still, I think the advice you've been given about the west coast being the better place for your family is pretty good. There are many great beach areas on the west coast and I haven't been to them all, but I really enjoy Sanibel/Captiva and Marco Island.
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Old Apr 25th, 2009, 03:49 AM
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I will throw in a suggestion that has nothing to do with beaches.
We went to Homosassa Springs the last time we were in Florida (West Coast side). There weren't really beaches (as the town is set among the canals, rivers, etc.). But they did have boat excursions where you could swim with the Manatees. I didn't go, but I thought that would be a really cool thing to do if you were a kid!
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Old Apr 25th, 2009, 05:08 AM
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"And if I am not mistaken the area around Ponce inlet (east coast) has the highest number of shark attacks."

My wife and I go to the Palm Beach area every spring - way south of Ponce Inlet - but during that time of year sharks are migrating up the east coast. We've been there during years where the water very close to shore is thick with Black Tip sharks at times - small, about 3-4 feet in length, but they come in close to chase the bait fish. I've literally seen them flipping around in the surf at the water's edge after chasing fish in with the waves. But believe it or not, there are still many people in there swimming!
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Old Apr 25th, 2009, 07:25 AM
  #25  
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I'd base my opinion on "two little girls" and with them in mind I would head to the west coast of Florida. The beaches there are wide, very soft sand - perfect for making castles - and the water is generally warmer with few waves.

Both coasts are beautiful - the Atlantic is spectacular with waves crashing on the beach whereas on the gulf I love to walk through the ripples of the water on the beach.
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Old Apr 25th, 2009, 02:14 PM
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I try not to be shark-phobic, but when a homeowner jumped off his dock into Boca Ciega Bay as he did every afternoon for a little swim, and was killed by a bull shark (he happened to jump into a school of bait fish), that finished it for me EVER getting into Boca Ciega Bay to swim!! We've got a sailboat there, and the weekend that happened, we'd been planning on anchoring out...and swimmming. That was some years ago and I haven't had a toe in the bay to this day!

For a long time after, I was looking over my shoulder in the Gulf too, but finally relaxed again. They are there, but any problems are so infrequent. That poor homeowner probably had as much a chance of being hit by lightning as he did of being hit by a bull shark, (which I guess is a rotten comparison seeing as Tampa Bay area is considered Lightning Capital of the US! LOL ) You know what I mean though....
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 06:57 AM
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I'd suggest the west coast. 1 1/2 drive to St. Pete beach area...or you could be to Anna Maria Island in 2 hours. More to do in the St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, St. John's Pass area than on Anna Maria Island, but they both have beautiful beaches. Don't forget to do the stingray shuffle!

That time of year (unless there is a storm) both the Atlantic and Gulf should be fairly flat and the water will be warm (if not hot on the Gulf side).
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 08:17 AM
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I'm looking to move the family from Maine to Florida but have no idea what part of Florida to consider. I'm looking for an area that was a good job market, good schools and low crime. Can anyone make a suggestion? Thanks!
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Old May 28th, 2009, 03:52 PM
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Absolutely, the Gulf coast. I'm a 65 yrs.old women, and have been to quite a few Atlantic coast beaches. Everytime I've ventured in their waters, I've been knocked down and dragged along the bottom of the ocean floor. I soon tired of that and now will go into the waters only of the Gulf coast. We just bought a timeshare in Clearwater, Fl. because of that. Also the Gulf coast beaches mostly have white and softer sand which is superior to most Atlantic coast beaches. The temperatures of the Gulf coast beaches are warmer than their Atlantic counterparts. Also, as far as Clearwater goes, it is very close to the Tampa airport. Try it and I'm sure you'll agree with me.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 04:02 PM
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Also, there's Busch Gardens nearby in Tampa, which is a wonderful place to visit both for adults and children.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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I would recommend the western coast also for small children.  I'm not a swimmer because when I was 16 swimming in the Gulf, I was pulled out by an undertow.  It was steadily pulling me out, but somehow I got my legs up on top of the water and was able to dog paddle out of it, but it caused a lifelong fear.  I have never been in the Atlantic very deep because the water there is much more "active".  Although, that is exactly the reason I love the Ocean more than the Gulf; it is so much more active! Undertows and riptides are present in both. I would take my children to the Gulf for their first experience, then, later when they are accustomed to the waves there, they will enjoy the new experience of the ocean!  Both are wonderful experiences!  Also, the suggestion of going on the ferry to one of the islands is great.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 05:48 AM
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Don't forget Hollywood Beach, in between Fort Lauderdale and Miami...it's very family friendly, a beautiful beach and kinda kitschy. Lot's of free events scheduled all year. The winter months belong to French Canadians.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 03:11 AM
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Definately the Gulf Coast. I just read an article on this site that Fodors named Clearwater Beach one of the top beaches ont he E. Coast. It is touristy, but pretty nonetheless. I think the Gulf Coast is a better choice because in my opinion the beaches are much, much prettier, water is calmer (E. C. is to rough for children, the incline can drop very, very quickly, can be rough and extremely wavy) where as the Gulf Coast has a much more gradual incline. The sand is beautiful and great shelling there.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 05:23 AM
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I love both sides of Florida, but prefer the waves on the east coast. As others have said, the gulf coast is calm.

Seems to me you have to be aware of something no matter what side you're on. Lot of stingrays along the water's edge and red tide are two things that I've experienced many times on the gulf side. Also, last year two men from my city drowned in a rip current just a few feet from the water's edge on Longboat Key. I stayed in the same hotel a few weeks before and the water was too cold to swim. It amazed me that the same calm water I stared at longingly a few weeks before could take two men's lives so quickly.

So, there's always something to look out for not matter what side you're on.

The water is beautiful on the gulf. If you go to Treasure Island be aware the sand is very coarse and you have to shuffle your feet in the water.

If you choose the Atlantic side, I hear that Disney's Vero Beach resort is great. My SIL and family just returned from there and loved it.

Have fun!
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 03:50 PM
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Whoa! That's alot of stuff to absorb -- some inaccurate. As a 3d/4th generation, Cracker, I'll put my 2 cents in. First, if your kids are young, then the West Coast would have the best beaches in terms of less intimidating waves, usually. However, the East Coast can be flat and calm, too. July, on both coasts, is usually flat and calm, except during afternoon storms. It's really not that much different, since, I trust you would be watching you kids on the beach. The best beaches on the East Coast, in my opinion: Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach Shores, Ponce Inlet and New Syrmna (running north to south). West Coast: Indian Rocks, St. Petersburg, Ana Maria and Cayo Casta (north to south). Alot, also, would depend on what you're looking for, in terms of non-beach activities. Incidently, as long as you're not in the water early in the morning, or, from, dusk on, sharks are not a problem other that in bait-running season, which, to my knowledge, isn't in July. Also, black tip sharks aren't "attackers", they're just good game fish and very good eating!
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 03:06 AM
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I believe another important point that should be mentioned is that re: of the age of the afore-mentioned 2 little girls is that they should be educated about the ocean. My kids (now 4 & 7) have been going to the 'beach' since before they can remember, but we learn something everytime we go. Water safety, should be lesson #1. Lesson #2 should be (as a parent) be w/your kids in the water. Should something happen, being 75 yards in a beach chair, may not make much difference. I've been going to the beach for 40+ years & have pulled out countless people who have gotten in trouble in the water. Most often kids, w/inattentive parents.
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Old Sep 8th, 2009, 05:20 PM
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Here is what I say, rather than bicker back and forth search and see for yourself.

I too have lived on both the West coast and the East coast, the preference is up to the person deciding.

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks...tack/mapFL.htm

http://www.sccf.org/content/45/Alligators.aspx

The Gulf seems to run a lot flatter in wave class as well as about 8 to ten degrees hotter in temp than the Atlantic.
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Old Sep 13th, 2011, 09:06 AM
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One of the really great things about Fl is that it has an East and a West coast that are only a few hours apart from each other. While on vacation, you can take a day trip and see for yourself
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Old Sep 13th, 2011, 09:47 AM
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Another vote for the beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida. The beaches are nicer, the water is better, etc.

No contest.
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Old Sep 13th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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This is an old thread, topped this afternoon.
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