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
Deaf woman critically injured by hit-and-run driver
Nov 27, 2014 1:44 am
A deaf woman remained in critical condition Wednesday night after she was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Hollywood.
Cabbie accused of raping customer in Fort Lauderdale
Nov 26, 2014 11:51 pm
A taxi driver who continued working after officials say he had been denied a taxi license renewal is accused of raping a passenger.
Woman tried to hide plethora of stolen IDs in leggings, Plantation police say
Nov 26, 2014 10:50 pm
A Fort Lauderdale woman caught with 18 driver's licenses, 14 credit cards, 10 debit cards, six Social Security cards, five checkbooks and one birth certificate that did not belong to her landed briefl...
A sign of success amid homeless controversies in Fort Lauderdale
Nov 26, 2014 10:30 pm
When Rondalyn Harden walked into her own apartment for the first time, she carried with her more than a determination to turn her life around after years of drug abuse and emotional set backs.
Weston student to march in Macy's parade
Nov 26, 2014 9:45 pm
A 17-year-old student from Weston will march in Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on Thursday, debuting a brand new flute given to her by the Make-a-Wish foundation.
Boy, 4, found after uncle mistakenly drops him off at closed school
Nov 26, 2014 9:44 pm
A missing 4-year-old boy was found wandering the streets Wednesday after a relative dropped him off at school, not realizing there were no classes, police said.
South Florida cooling down; cold tonight
Nov 26, 2014 9:37 pm
Temperatures around South Florida already are falling into the low to mid 60s, thanks to a cold front.
Florida Lottery may go online
Nov 26, 2014 9:19 pm
Playing the lottery in Florida could get a lot easier.
Auto avenger: Downtown Fort Lauderdale worker saves drivers from tow trucks
Nov 26, 2014 8:11 pm
From a conference room in his third floor office, overlooking Broward County's most notorious towing site, Danny Haughton watches it unfold.
Missing Lauderhill boy found, police say
Nov 26, 2014 7:00 pm
Lauderhill police Wednesday afternoon said a missing 4-year-old boy was found safe and sound.