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
Boston Marathon to feature second-largest field in race history
Apr 21, 2014 5:04 am
BOSTON (Reuters) - Some 36,000 athletes, including Kenyan and Ethiopian runners who are consistently ranked among the world's fastest, will run in the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday, putting the worl...
Pine Island widening south of I-595 coming in 2015
Apr 21, 2014 4:00 am
Q: Now that the Interstate 595 reconstruction is nearing completion, what about plans for the cross streets? Pine Island Road is jammed approaching the interstate from Nova Drive.
Franklin Graham preaches at Calvary Chapel Easter service in place of founding pastor | Video, photos
Apr 21, 2014 1:04 am
Several thousand worshippers got up early Sunday for Calvary Chapel's first Easter service in 30 years without the founder of the megachurch, Pastor Bob Coy.
That's the Dwyane Wade the Heat need to have | Video
Apr 21, 2014 12:53 am
Heat star's efficient 21 points show he's healthy – for now Again and again after making a riveting shot, Dwyane Wade pointed to the AmericanAirlines Arena floor with both hands and shouted...
Heat finish strong, go up 1-0 on Bobcats with 99-88 win | Video, photos
Apr 20, 2014 11:20 pm
In the end, Heat 99, Bobcats 88 was more than enough Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena, a postseason-opening victory that allowed the Heat to regain some traction after a sloppy close to the regular se...
Discovery cancels Mount Everest jump
Apr 20, 2014 8:08 pm
There will be no leap off Mount Everest on live television.
Live updates: Charlotte Bobcats at Miami Heat
Apr 20, 2014 7:16 pm
The Heat open the NBA playoffs at AmericanAirlines Arena against a Charlotte Bobcats franchise looking for its first playoff victory, with the Heat having won the past 16 regular-season meetings.
'Captain America' three-peats at the box office
Apr 20, 2014 5:40 pm
LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Marvel's superhero in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" claimed a third straight box office win, collecting $26.6 million at the domestic box office to b...
Florida communities prepare for rising seas
Apr 20, 2014 4:02 pm
Coastal areas emerging as a national modelWASHINGTON — While the nation looks for solutions to the problem of rising sea levels, some coastal communities in Florida are taking action to save...
Price tag hits $40 million for quiet zones on FEC railroad in Broward, Palm Beach counties
Apr 20, 2014 3:59 pm
A couple of times a week, Steve Stahl is startled out of his sleep by a train horn.