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
Sentencing delayed for man awaiting punishment in FAMU case
Aug 27, 2015 5:55 pm
A former Florida A&M University band member who's been awaiting his punishment for more than two years for his role in a drum major's hazing death has had his sentencing postponed for a second tim...
Trump says he's proud he booted Univision's Ramos from event
Aug 27, 2015 5:43 pm
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Wednesday he's proud of kicking one of the country's best-known Spanish-language journalists out of an Iowa news conference - the latest in a series...
Settlement reached in lawsuit over decade-old Gulf oil leak
Aug 27, 2015 5:13 pm
Environmental groups and a New Orleans energy company have reached a settlement agreement in a lawsuit stemming from the company's failed efforts to stop a decade-old, slow-motion oil spill in the Gul...
Human remains found while searching for missing plane
Aug 27, 2015 3:48 pm
Officials in central Florida have recovered human remains from the Indian River while searching for a missing Cessna.
1 Fantasy 5 player wins jackpot worth $217,938.37
Aug 27, 2015 10:41 am
One "Fantasy 5" player has selected all five winning numbers to each take home a jackpot of $217,938.37.
Barrett-Jackson auction won't be at 2016 Hot August Nights
Aug 27, 2015 10:13 am
The Barrett-Jackson car auction is ending its three-year relationship with Hot August Nights.
5 Things to Know in Florida for August 27
Aug 27, 2015 10:08 am
Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.
2 women injured when Orlando airport tram makes sudden stop
Aug 27, 2015 9:55 am
Two women suffered minor injuries when a tram at Orlando International Airport made an emergency stop.
What's behind the 'anchor babies' buzz phrase?
Aug 27, 2015 7:09 am
Donald Trump took heat when he spoke about "anchor babies" and seemed to relish the fallout from his latest provocation in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Then Jeb Bush echoed ...
Authorities seek driver from bus stop hit-and-run
Aug 27, 2015 7:04 am
Tampa Bay area authorities are searching for a hit-and-run driver who clipped a 12-year-old girl right after she stepped off a school bus.