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
Mayo: Gov. Scott stumbles again
Jan 25, 2015 5:00 am
When the history of 21st century Florida is written, one of the great mysteries will be Gov. Rick Scott. As in: How did this guy get elected twice?
Water advisory lifted for East Las Olas neighborhoods
Jan 24, 2015 2:46 am
City officials who warned about sewage contamination in some Fort Lauderdale waterways near East Las Olas Boulevard lifted the precautionary advisory Friday.
Flashy fugitive detained in Cuba after flaunting riches
Jan 24, 2015 1:44 am
Cuban police earlier this month raided the gated home of a U.S. fugitive in the town of Guanabacoa, outside Havana, causing authorities in Florida to hope for extradition. Gilberto Martinez Suarez is ...
Dania's next beef with the airport: Contaminated dirt
Jan 24, 2015 12:04 am
For months, residents in Melaleuca Gardens have griped about dust and dirt wafting through the air, landing on window sills and doorsteps, pools and cars.
Autopsy released in teen's horseback-riding accident
Jan 23, 2015 11:51 pm
A Weston teenager died from blunt head trauma while horseback riding along a Southwest Ranches canal last December, the Broward Medical Examiner's Office has found.
Families await confirmation that missing loved ones died in Sunrise canal
Jan 23, 2015 10:12 pm
When a Broward Sheriff's detective called Donna Amaya Thursday to say a big clue was discovered in her missing brother's 36-year-old cold case, she felt relieved.
Margate police chief to return after brief retirement
Jan 23, 2015 9:57 pm
— The city's police chief will return to his old job May 1, but the city commission doesn't know yet what his salary will be.
FAU, NSU, Broward College to expand veteran services
Jan 23, 2015 9:11 pm
Three South Florida colleges have received funding that may command better services for students who are veterans.
Hollywood beach sand gets a fluffing-up to keep turtles cozy
Jan 23, 2015 9:00 pm
Even sand needs a little fluffing especially when it helps promote turtle nesting on the beach.
Sheriff candidate Granteed had missing I.A. files
Jan 23, 2015 6:41 pm
When Scott Israel was running for Broward County sheriff, his opponents made much of the fact that some of his Internal Affairs files at Fort Lauderdale Police Department were missing.