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
No myth: Mermaids to gather at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
Sep 19, 2014 4:00 am
Wannabe sirens and those who love them are meeting in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.As Mia Mellies sunbathes on a Lauderdale-by-the-Sea beach, her seashell bra gleams in the morning sun while her cinnamon-col...
Staff predictions: Miami Dolphins vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Sep 18, 2014 2:20 pm
MIAMI DOLPHINS (1-1) VS. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (0-2), Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBSDave Hyde
Wasserman Schultz tenure as Democratic chairwoman gets scathing review
Sep 18, 2014 2:08 pm
Under the headline “ Democrats turn on Debbie Wasserman Schultz ” at the top of Politico’s website Thursday, an article reports the Weston congresswoman “is in ...
Dive off Broward hopes to set underwater record | Video
Sep 18, 2014 1:28 pm
Allen Sherrod plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in full scuba gear on Thursday morning, and he doesn't intend to come up above the surface again until Saturday afternoon.
How to get a new Apple iPhone 6 for free on Friday | Deal alerts
Sep 18, 2014 12:05 pm
If you want a shiny new iPhone 6, you can likely get one for free with trade-in offers from wireless carriers and big-box retailers on Friday.
Scots vote in referendum that could split United Kingdom | Video
Sep 18, 2014 11:46 am
Scots began voting in an independence referendum on Thursday that will decide the fate of the United Kingdom, after opinion polls showed hundreds of thousands of them were still agonizing over whether...
Partly sunny with scattered storms today | Weather alerts
Sep 18, 2014 9:01 am
Looks like you'll probably need that umbrella for the next few days, particularly on Friday when - would you believe - a cold front is expected to move across the region.
6 Coral Springs students hospitalized after ingesting pills | Video
Sep 18, 2014 8:40 am
Six middle school students were taken to Broward Health Coral Springs Wednesday afternoon after they ingested another student's medication, officials said.
South Florida incomes keep declining as recovery grinds on | Chart
Sep 18, 2014 4:14 am
Did you get a raise last year? No? How about the year before that? Or the year before that? The median household income in South Florida fell 5.8 percent in five years, according to new economic data ...
Today's Buzz: Is the iPhone mania sick?
Sep 18, 2014 4:00 am