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
Homeless advocates raise ruckus, left waiting at Fort Lauderdale commission meeting
Oct 22, 2014 4:43 am
Fort Lauderdale commissioners plan to finalize new restrictions on where and how charitable groups can feed the homeless in the city, but they still hadn't gotten to the issue as their meeting stretch...
School districts celebrate LGBT History Month
Oct 22, 2014 1:09 am
South Florida school districts voiced their support this month for the contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
John Goodman retrial: Jurors hear more about 'man-cave' defense
Oct 22, 2014 12:36 am
The jurors in John Goodman's DUI manslaughter trial had heard about the "man cave" where the polo club founder says he chugged liquor after the Feb. 12, 2010 crash that resulted in Scott Wil...
Fort Lauderdale approves Flagler Village loop for streetcar project
Oct 22, 2014 12:14 am
Fort Lauderdale commissioners have approved expanding plans for the downtown Wave electric streetcar project with a Flagler Village loop that will help the city's efforts to attract new businesses to ...
Fort Lauderdale wants to rename street in former commissioner's honor
Oct 21, 2014 10:52 pm
A section of Fort Lauderdale's Northwest Seventh Avenue, already renamed Avenue of the Arts, may soon have a longer name to honor a former city commissioner who died in April.
Broward transportation tab: $8 billion, and who's paying?
Oct 21, 2014 10:40 pm
Broward County has an $8 billion transportation wish list and wants you to help pick up the tab.
Teen bicyclist struck by car in Coral Springs
Oct 21, 2014 8:36 pm
A teen bicyclist was airlifted to a hospital Tuesday morning after being struck by a car in Coral Springs, officials said.
Fort Lauderdale hosting family-friendly bicycle ride, movie
Oct 21, 2014 8:13 pm
Despite having clashed with bicyclists associated with the Critical Mass ride and arresting two of them on the road Fort Lauderdale police are still looking to draw cyclists.
Two job fairs scheduled this month
Oct 21, 2014 7:49 pm
Two job fairs are planned for the last two weeks of October.
Wanted: Owner of class ring lost 40 years ago
Oct 21, 2014 6:39 pm
For about 40 years, Albert Berkowitz has held onto the 1974 Miramar High School class ring, hopeful that one day he would find its rightful owner.