West coast, best coast: West and best were made to rhyme


Nicole Tian

Waves wash up against the cliffs of Monterey as the coastal landscape stretches into the distance. California alone houses more nature reserves than any other state.

by Nicole Tian, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Climbing along the boulders that line the cliffs of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, the ocean roils below in bursts of white froth and indigo depths. Delicate drops of ocean spray scatter across the rough rocks as I stake my claim on the tip of the cliff. The gulls, the towering cypress trees, the endless wind, encapsulate the unmatched beauty of the West Coast. Misty mountains and redwood forests rise up beside snow-white beaches, a coastline of grand sublimity.

California alone houses more natural reserves than any other state, with its nine National parks spanning the desert environment of Joshua Tree National Park to the sprawling Sierra Nevada mountain range of Yosemite and even steaming geysers at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Highway 1 gladly takes you through these landmarks and more, running through the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, past countless white sand beaches, ancient forests, vineyards and down to Los Angeles, the indisputable hub of entertainment. If you’re getting hungry on a road trip, where better to stop than In-N-Out? Although the chain restaurant’s fries might not be top tier, its cheeseburgers certainly are. Perfectly bite-sized and never too dry, In-N-Out is also the only burger chain I’ve actually been able to finish a burger from. If you’re looking for something more nutritious, Chipotle also dots the landscape. With its headquarters in Newport Beach, its tacos and burrito bowls offer an endless array of toppings.

Beyond its expansive terrains covering all possible ecosystems and cityscapes, the West Coast boasts an unbeatable climate.

Do you really want to be shoveling snow out of your driveway first thing in the morning while enduring freezing temperatures? Is the thought of rolling out of your warm bed to blasts of cold air really that enticing? When it comes to weather, the West Coast provides the ideal climate due to differences in geography.

Throughout winter and early spring, the West Coast consistently beats out the East for warmer temperatures. And when trying to escape from the heat in the summer, the East Coast is smothered with tropical humidity, since warm water from the Gulf of Mexico moves along the seaboard, creating unwanted evaporation and making the stifling heat feel even hotter. Winds along the West Coast provide a natural respite, as wind patterns push cool air onland. 

Warm weather results in greater health benefits, as a study conducted by the Stanford Hoover Institution found that deaths peaked in winter months and fell during summer months and calculating that an increase in 2.5 degrees Celsius prevents 40,000 deaths each year. Sunlight is also a powerful mood booster, stimulating areas of the retina that increase serotonin production in the brain, reducing symptoms of seasonal depression.

To those who claim that the West Coast lacks in culture since it was integrated into the Union after the Mexican Cession and drawing of the 49th parallel in the 1840’s, the west simply embraces a more open and hospitable mindset. We’re not short of museums either, with The Getty Center’s permanent collection of paintings and illuminated manuscripts and California Academy of Sciences’ planetarium and rainforest.

Although the West Coast might only consist of three states compared to the East Coast’s jumbled 14, its sights and sounds suit every taste, from unmatched natural scenery to unique cityscapes. As the old adage rings true, West Coast, best coast.