Florida's Lower Gulf Coast is a series of layers: on the outside, a string of barrier islands with popular and crowded beaches; next, a series of large and small communities anchored by Sarasota in the north and Naples in the south; and finally, virtually empty rural areas that are largely sawgrass wilderness.
Virtually all of Florida south of Lake Okeechobee and outside the coast strips is taken up by the Everglades. This "River of Grass" is crossed by I-75 in the famed "Alligator Alley" that runs between Ft. Lauderdale and Naples. But from Naples north along the coast is a virtually unbroken string of small towns and cities, joined together by their proximity to the Gulf and the fishing, shipping, and tourism industries that developed and sustains this region.
Sarasota is considered the major cultural center of the region. This city developed a reputation as an artists' colony in the 1920s, and today the town is known worldwide for its music festivals, its ballet, opera, and theater. Farther south, Port Charlotte, Cape Coral, and Fort Myers are the major urban centers.
With hints of Spring in the air after what seems like an endless winter, warm weather communities are seeming more and more attractive to retire to. Why live in an area where you look forward to a few short summer months, when you can live in warmth year Read more...
South Florida News from The Sun-Sentinel
Should Big Cypress get more protection?
Sep 20, 2014 4:00 am
The shadowy cypress swamps and wide-open prairies of the western Everglades offer some of the most untamed country in South Florida.
Roger Goodell promises revised conduct policies, faces stiff questions
Sep 19, 2014 8:20 pm
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodellpromised major revisions to the league's conduct policies as he spoke out Friday for the first time in days after a series of domestic violence allegations rocked the lea...
Your pet ate what ?
Sep 19, 2014 8:07 pm
Coins, teddy bears, underwear, diamond rings — local vets have seen it allForget dog eat dog.
Trio stuffed suitcases, duffel bags with stolen Sawgrass goods, cops say
Sep 19, 2014 7:32 pm
They had a taste for fashion, went only to designer stores, and never paid for the merchandise they selected, Sunrise police said.
Pill-popping students home and healthy
Sep 19, 2014 7:04 pm
Six middle school students hospitalized for ingesting a potentially fatal prescription medicine were released from the hospital late Thursday, police said. All are "in good health," a police...
Good chance of rain this weekend | Weather alerts
Sep 19, 2014 6:18 pm
Thanks to a cold front, there's a high chance fo rain today through Sunday. It also should be a degree or two cooler than normal - but still borderline hot.
Fans line up to turn in their Ray Rice jerseys in Baltimore | Video
Sep 19, 2014 6:18 pm
Thousands of Ravens fans lined up outside M&T Bank Stadium on Friday morning to exchange their replica Ray Rice jerseys and cut ties with the former star running back who was once one of the team'...
VP Joe Biden praises Wasserman Schultz day after she receives scathing critique
Sep 19, 2014 6:03 pm
Vice President Joe Biden praised the performance of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as Democratic national chairwoman on Friday, the day after she was the subject of a lengthy and scathing critique in Politi...
Toddler found unresponsive in Miramar pool | Video
Sep 19, 2014 5:39 pm
A toddler was found unresponsive floating in a family pool on Friday morning, police said.
Business brisk as sales start for Apple's new big-screen iPhone 6 | Video/Photos
Sep 19, 2014 3:06 pm
Doors have opened for masses of Apple enthusiasts who've been eagerly waiting to get their hands on the company's latest smartphones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus.