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
Police ask for public's help in locating missing Pines teen
Dec 20, 2014 1:32 am
Pembroke Pines police are searching for a teen who has been missing since Thursday afternoon.
Broward Judge Imperato 'devastated' by DUI, reckless driving convictions
Dec 20, 2014 1:00 am
In her 12 years as a Broward County circuit judge, Cynthia Imperato has heard numerous jury verdicts. But for the first time, Friday the verdict was about her.
Cross-dressing robber strikes at Deerfield store
Dec 19, 2014 9:45 pm
The armed robber might have worn a wig and carried a purse, but she was no lady. She was a he.
Lauderdale seeks to upgrade small business districts
Dec 19, 2014 9:14 pm
Redevelopment has produced dramatic changes in the downtown skyline in recent decades and now the city is trying to bring new life to its smaller business corridors.
Nursing home exec accused of stealing $12K from patient, 79
Dec 19, 2014 9:10 pm
A nursing home executive was arrested on suspicion of stealing $12,466 from a dementia patient in a Fort Lauderdale facility, the Florida attorney general's office said.
Hold-out cities leave Broward's 911 callers on the line
Dec 19, 2014 9:07 pm
Every second is critical in an emergency, yet thousands of callers to emergency 911 in Broward County still are forced to wait for help while their call is transferred to another dispatch center.
Salvation Army distributes toys for nearly 3,000 kids
Dec 19, 2014 8:53 pm
For many, the constant din of rolling shopping carts brimming with donated toys on Friday was as sweet as the jolly Christmas carols brightening the mood.
Want to play Santa to shelter pets? There's still room on the bus
Dec 19, 2014 8:27 pm
Animal lovers will deliver holiday toys and treats to homeless pets Saturday on a whirlwind bus tour of all three county-run shelters in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
18-year-old charged in burglary, vandalism at Coral Springs Center for the Arts
Dec 19, 2014 6:57 pm
Police are searching for the second of two suspects responsible for vandalizing the Coral Springs Center for the Arts and leaving a pile of feces behind, police said.
Broward Judge Imperato waiting for verdict in her DUI, reckless driving case
Dec 19, 2014 6:35 pm