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
After Robin Williams' death, a chance to learn and help
Aug 23, 2014 4:00 am
Mother who lost son to suicide works to raise awarenessJackie Rosen is a mother who knows all about the pain of suicide, channeling her son's death nearly three decades ago into something constructive...
Disturbance pelts Caribbean islands with heavy rains, gusty winds
Aug 22, 2014 6:10 pm
Tropical disturbance, 2 p.m. Friday
New airport runway: A boon with a lot of booms | Photos
Aug 22, 2014 5:55 pm
When the new south runway opens on Sept. 18, it will virtually eliminate air traffic delays, improve safety and provide enormous room for air traffic — and tourism dollars — to gro...
Drilling for streetlights caused Fort Lauderdale gusher | Video
Aug 22, 2014 4:36 pm
Repair crews fixed a 30-inch water main Friday that construction workers drilled into Thursday afternoon while installing streetlight poles, city officials said.
Hiding man put Springs elementary school on lockdown
Aug 22, 2014 4:11 pm
Students at Coral Park Elementary School were rushed to the nearest classroom with the doors locked behind them after a man tried to hide from police on school property.
Dog rescued from canal by Boca police officer
Aug 22, 2014 2:35 pm
A dog in distress was rescued by a Boca Raton police officer on Thursday, according to Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander.
Drilling for streetlights caused Lauderdale gusher
Aug 22, 2014 2:19 pm
Break closes roads in Fort Lauderdale, Oakland ParkRepair crews fixed a 30-inch water main Friday that construction workers drilled into Thursday afternoon while installing streetlight poles, city off...
$15K in copper wire stolen from Boca construction site, police say
Aug 22, 2014 2:02 pm
Police are trying to track down who stole about $15,000 worth of copper wire from a construction site, according to Boca Raton Police.
Report: Dad attacked by bar patrons for leaving kids in car
Aug 22, 2014 1:26 pm
An Ocala man accused of leaving his three young children in a car while he drank beers was attacked by bar patrons upset about his alleged neglect, ocala.com is reporting.
James Foley's parents call for prayer, action after call with pope | Video
Aug 22, 2014 1:17 pm
The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic State fighters.