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
Student driver crashes at start of road test
Oct 25, 2014 1:38 am
A Coral Springs woman got a crash course in driving when she wrecked her car at a Lauderdale Lakes Department of Motor Vehicles office right before beginning her road test.
John Goodman retrial: Defense expert says Bentley malfunctioned
Oct 25, 2014 12:10 am
An automotive expert for the defense testified Friday in John Goodman's DUI manslaughter retrial that the Wellington polo magnate's Bentley was malfunctioning at the time of the 2010 crash that killed...
Police search for teacher suspected of sexual abuse
Oct 24, 2014 11:42 pm
Police are searching for a teacher suspected of sexually abusing students who attended a private Cooper City school.
Bondi to fed court: put same-sex marriage on hold
Oct 24, 2014 11:00 pm
State Attorney General Pam Bondi had up to 17 days to respond to a motion filed by American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Daniel Tilley, which asked a federal judge in Tallahassee to lift his stay on a...
Handcuffed man runs, hides at friend's house
Oct 24, 2014 10:47 pm
A Hollywood man ran, but couldn't hide for long before police tracked him down and arrested him for allegedly battering his teenage girlfriend.
ISIS at UF? It's not what you think
Oct 24, 2014 9:55 pm
When students at the University of Florida register for classes or check out their transcripts, they have to deal with ISIS.
Comments sought on passenger rail plan
Oct 24, 2014 8:51 pm
Harboring some worthy thoughts on train travel? Here's your chance to share.
FLL airport Ebola prep: Quarantine hangar, hand sanitizer
Oct 24, 2014 6:47 pm
You're inside a jet airliner soaring toward Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. You hear sneezing, then the whispers: Someone on this plane might have Ebola.
Mega medical group primes for more growth
Oct 24, 2014 5:30 pm
Born as Pediatrix in 1979, Sunrise-based Mednax is now a mature 35. And the medical group has been prolific.
Plantation man's computer contained child pornography, authorities say
Oct 24, 2014 5:12 pm
A potential bond of $251,000 was set instead at $40,000 Friday for a Plantation man accused of having more than two dozen child pornography images and videos on his computer.