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
NASCAR fans defend, display Confederate flags at Daytona
Jul 6, 2015 7:21 am
Steven Rebenstorf has numerous flags flying atop his canopy tent inside Daytona International Speedway.
Presidential candidates campaign in July Fourth parades
Jul 6, 2015 7:15 am
Alongside the patriotic music and waving flags Saturday in parades across Iowa and New Hampshire were clear reminders of a presidential race coming up next year: Red balloons promoting "Jeb! 2016...
Bush says he takes Trump's immigration remarks personally
Jul 6, 2015 7:15 am
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush says he is personally offended by rival Donald Trump's recent remarks about Mexico and immigrants and calls the remarks far outside the mainstream of Republi...
9-year-old Florida boy hit by car, seriously injured
Jul 5, 2015 8:27 pm
A 9-year-old boy has been seriously injured after authorities say he ran into traffic in Sarasota and was hit by a car.
Florida prisoners train therapy dogs to help veterans
Jul 5, 2015 6:08 pm
A group of Florida prisoners are training therapy dogs for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as part of a new program.
Florida diver shot, seriously injured by another diver
Jul 5, 2015 4:33 pm
Authorities are ruling it an accident after a Florida diver shot and seriously injured a fellow diver in Sarasota.
No one picks Fantasy 5 numbers resulting in rolldown
Jul 5, 2015 4:21 pm
No one selected all five winning numbers in the "Fantasy 5" resulting in a rolldown.
Man gunned down outside Florida hookah bar was targeted
Jul 5, 2015 3:24 pm
Authorities are investigating after a man was gunned down outside a hookah bar in southwest Florida.
66 riders safely evacuated after 400-foot Ferris wheel stops
Jul 5, 2015 2:52 pm
The largest Ferris wheel on the East Coast reopened Saturday, one day after 66 riders were stranded on The Orlando Eye and had to be evacuated from the towering 400-foot attraction.
A year on, children caught on border struggle to stay, adapt
Jul 5, 2015 2:23 pm
At 1-year-old, a wide-eyed, restless Joshua Tinoco faces the prospect of deportation to his native Honduras, one of tens of thousands of children who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border last year.