It’s a Beach Showdown: East Coast vs. West Coast
Frankly, a book could be written containing simply the reasons why Florida’s east coast beaches are better than those of Florida’s west coast, but we’ll be kind and try to keep this around a page. And nothing against the beaches of the west coast; we’re sure they’re great, but the beaches of Florida’s Space Coast are the finest on every level from recreation to ease of access and variation. Plus, our wonderful beaches are on an actual ocean.
Anyway, let’s start with that ease of access. Beaches along the west coast often are private and have development at their backs. Traffic into Tampa and the surrounding areas to get to those beaches, can be rigorous, to say the least. Florida’s Space Coast beaches are easy to get to: just start at the top of A1A and work your way south.
Additionally, if you are staying in Orlando for a weekend, or need to reach the theme parks from Florida’s Space Coast, the drive to and from could not be easier or more direct. This is less true on the west coast.
Variety of Recreation
The beaches of Florida’s Space Coast stand-out due to the variety of recreation available. For surfers, you’ll usually find a rideable wave 300 out of 365 days a year somewhere along the coast. And the surfing experience can vary from the playful beginner swells that often grace Cocoa Beach to the more intense high-energy action down at the infamous Sebastian Inlet State Park. On the miles and miles of beaches in between these two well-known breaks are a cornucopia of spots, angles, and bottoms. Ask a local, and they’ll point you in the right direction.
Space Coast beaches are also perfectly suited for the active family. Yoga, volleyball, jogging, soccer, Frisbee, cornhole, ladder golf; the well-packed sand seems put in place specifically to accommodate some afternoon recreation of any kind. Most places (check the signs around any beach access to be sure) allow alcohol on the beach as well; just be cautious with glass. The city limits of Melbourne Beach, Satellite Beach, Indialantic, and Sebastian Inlet State Park are exceptions here. On a hot summer day, that will end up being a major plus.
Florida’s Space Coast’s best beaches:
- Cocoa Beach: Cocoa Beach also is one of the wider beaches in the area, meaning plenty of room to spread out, and the seas and surf are always calmer than any other local beach. Lifeguards are nearly always on hand in summer, too. It’s a great place to learn to surf and swim leisurely.
- The Beaches of Patrick’s Air Force Base: This is a hidden treasure made of a few small accesses that border the Air Force base. This beach is rarely crowded and offers the added bonus of watching military aircraft land and take-off overhead. Places with nicknames like Hangers and 2nd Light make for some great fun for the whole family.
- Indialantic/Melbourne Beach: In the middle of Florida’s Space Coast, and a mix between pastoral and party, these eight to 10 miles of beaches are some of the most stunning on Florida’s Space Coast, but they also have the amenities and restrooms an entire family may require. Restaurants and bars are always right over the dunes as well.
- Beach of South Melbourne Beach: Once you get south of Melbourne Beach, in the final stretch of the barrier island, you’ll find some of our most pristine and isolated beaches. The beaches of south Melbourne Beach are simply gorgeous, and you can often walk miles without seeing another footprint. They also have the least development around them of any local beach. The waves are the best in the area and lineups often empty. But note, while the isolation is great, these are high-energy surf zones with no lifeguards and deep areas just offshore. Be careful, and know your limits in the water.
- Sebastian Inlet State Park: Iconic, and it has it all: surfing, fishing, snorkeling (mainly in the clear waters of the summer), and boating. Lifeguards, restaurants, bathrooms, and park rangers are all part of the deal with a small daily admission fee in the most beautiful beach area on Florida’s Space Coast.
Also, if you’ve seen one sunset, you’ve seen them all, but a sunrise on the other hand, especially over the majestic waters of the Atlantic Ocean, is a unique experience every time. The day starting anew, life and energy, clarity and beauty. A sunrise is a work of galactic performance art.
Finally, between May and October, be sure to find a guide group to see the nesting of sea turtles which occur to worldwide fame on the east coast from April to September. Getting an expert, such as the fine folks at the Sea Turtle Preservation Society is ideal, as they know the best places to be and the safest ways to view the turtles while leaving them in peace.
We could go on, and on, and on, and on (and on) about the beaches of Florida’s Space Coast, as you can tell, but come investigate them for yourself. We’re waiting for you.