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.
South Florida News from The Sun-Sentinel
Delray to raise fees for businesses that can't provide enough parking
Jul 29, 2014 7:27 pm
Delray businesses that can't physically fit the number of parking spaces the city requires on their property pay a penalty fee that goes toward putting up parking spaces elsewhere.
Homeless man, saved from being robbed, to be reunited with family in Indiana | Video
Jul 29, 2014 6:41 pm
By thwarting the mugging of a Fort Lauderdale homeless man last month, an off-duty Broward Sheriff's deputy won himself a departmental citation. He also won the would-be victim a possible ticket home ...
Disturbance could grow into a tropical depression today | Video
Jul 29, 2014 5:49 pm
Tropical disturbance, 8 a.m. Tuesday outlook
Hot with scattered storms today | Weather alerts
Jul 29, 2014 4:44 pm
South Florida's Tuesday forecast: Mostly sunny with highs in the low 90s, lows in the upper 70s and a 50 percent chance of showers and storms. Heat index - or "feels-like" - readings could r...
Practice report: LIVE updates from Dolphins training camp
Jul 29, 2014 3:48 pm
-- Nice physical run from Lamar Miller for the final snap of the first 11 on 11 session.
Sextortion scam hits online dating sites, authorities say
Jul 29, 2014 3:09 pm
Beware the sextortion scam sweeping across online dating sites, the Broward Sheriff's Office warns.
Primus to have Willy Wonka-esque concert in Miami Beach on Nov. 11
Jul 29, 2014 2:13 pm
Primus will cover movie soundtrack at Miami Beach tour stop on Nov. 11Les Claypool’s recent visits to South Florida have come in distinctive guises: Intracoastal fisherman (in waters from Po...
Manhunt for Alabama man ends in Boynton hospital | Video
Jul 29, 2014 12:30 pm
A nationwide manhunt for an Alabama man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 30-year-old woman and her 8-year-old daughter came to an end in a Boynton Beach hospital room on Monday, accordi...
Tropical wave likely to strengthen | Video
Jul 29, 2014 8:36 am
Tropical wave, 2 p.m. Monday advisory
Megabus launching service to Orlando, Tampa | Video
Jul 29, 2014 4:00 am
Megabus.com, the bus company known for its $1 one-way fares, plans its first stop in Greater Fort Lauderdale.