Recently my wife and I had a discussion over which we liked better the Florida sunrise or sunset. First, we decided that “better” might not be the proper word. For us, it might rather be “which do you prefer?”

As it turns out, each has its own charm.

The Sunrise

There’s something about getting up early in the morning and heading out to the beach to watch the sun come up. Things are dark and the pre-dawn hours seem to have their own special feel. It’s quiet, but still there is the anticipation of the new day.

As we drive, we see cars parked around breakfast restaurants. On the road there are fishermen with boats and some early morning traffic headed to work. When we get to the beach it’s usually still fairly dark and we have to carry our flashlight to head down to the shore.

Naturally, we go to the Atlantic to watch the sun come up. It’s mystical to stand there arm in arm in the first pre-dawn glow. First it’s purple, then it lightens the sky to where we can see the beams radiating from just below the horizon where that big orange ball ultimately will burst forth from behind the clouds.

We took a trip to the Space Coast to see the sun come up at Melbourne.

One of the nice things about watching the sunrise is that generally there are not a lot of people there. Naturally. there are a few beachcombers, walkers and joggers. But for the most part, we have the place to ourselves. It’s almost as if The Lord has given us our own private early morning show.

As the sun comes up, we also are treated to many different kinds of wildlife out for an early morning cruise in search of breakfast. Along with the seagulls and sandpipers are the pelicans. It is amazing to watch them cruising in straight-line formations just above the water in search of fish.

The Pelicans skimming just above the water in a line.

After the dawn has sufficiently broken, many times we will go in search of a local breakfast restaurant. To tell you the truth, we have found some good ones to cap off a great sunrise.

The Sunset

Then there’s the sunset. A trip to the Gulf coast is in order for one of these. We have had the opportunity to see sunsets from Tarpon Springs all the way south to Englewood. These generally are well-attended affairs. There are families winding up a day at the beach, couples getting ready for a date night and all manner of folks who gather for the evening’s event.

Watching the sun go down over the Gulf puts a cap on a beautiful day.

It’s an amazing feeling. Sometimes there is music playing, sometimes we just stand and watch in quiet reflection. But without fail, there always is some applause as the big red orb finally dips bellow the horizon, leaving only the orange afterglow of sunset.

The Best of Both Worlds

One of our goals is to spend the night on the Atlantic and watch the sun come up. Then make our way across the Florida peninsula and watch it go down over the Gulf. That being said, we have found a couple of places in Florida where both the sunrise and sunset are readily visible.

The first is at one of our favorite haunts – Tarpon Springs. We actually stay at the Vista in Palm Harbor. Our room of choice has a balcony that faces east. There, we can watch the sun come up over Lake Tarpon. We generally sit on the balcony with coffee and some Greek sweet bread as dawn breaks in the east.

Our room with a view over the canal leading to Lake Tarpon,

At the end of the day, we also can head out to Sunset Point to watch the sun go down. There’s a pleasant little park there with pavilions and recreation equipment. It is not your typical Gulf beach, but it certainly is sufficient to enjoy the sunset.

The second place we found is Fort Myers Beach. Yes, at certain times of the year, the sun is positioned where we could see both the sunrise in the morning and the sunset in the evening.

Probably the best part for us, is we could do it at the Edison Beach House. Those who follow us know that is our absolute favorite lodging in Fort Myers Beach. Actually, we discovered it quite by accident, when we had an opportunity to stay in a room on the hotel’s east side.

A view of the sunrise over the famous Fort Myers Beach pier.

We spent a marvelous day at the beach, then watched the sun go down from almost the exact same spot.

Which is Better?

You can appreciate our quandary. Making a choice between a Florida sunrise or sunset actually is not an either/or situation. Each event has its own beauty and purpose. We actually enjoy both equally well.

However, we have set some goals to see the sunset in the panhandle – either along the Emerald Coast or Forgotten Coast. We also are planning to try a sunrise in the Florida Keys. Rest assured, we will be blogging those trips and more. Because it’s always time to have fun in Florida.