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
Broward Judge Imperato waiting for verdict in her DUI, reckless driving case
Dec 19, 2014 4:20 am
A Palm Beach County jury late Thursday had not yet reached a verdict in Broward Circuit Judge Cynthia Imperato's trial on DUI and reckless driving charges.
Four people seriously injured in Turnpike crash, official says
Dec 19, 2014 3:51 am
Four people were taken to the hospital Thursday night following a four-vehicle crash on Florida's Turnpike south.
Commissioners to rename 172nd Avenue in honor of fallen Marine from Pembroke Pines
Dec 19, 2014 1:47 am
Patrick Xavier grew up on SW 16th Street and dreamed of eventually working for the Central Intelligence Agency. To get there, he joined the Marines and in 2010, with less than a year in the Corps, he ...
Man accused of kidnapping, raping teen
Dec 19, 2014 1:35 am
A Miami-Dade man is accused of kidnapping a 14-year-old girl, raping her in a motel room and forcing her to take a contraceptive pill before dropping her off near her home in Davie.
Baby boy's heart transplant a first for Hollywood hospital
Dec 19, 2014 12:12 am
He may be too young for two front teeth, but not a healthy human heart.
Kraft sentencing rescheduled for Friday
Dec 18, 2014 11:15 pm
A Broward judge moved up the sentencing date for former School Board member Stephanie Kraft, hours before an appeals court ordered him to reconsider letting her out of jail.
Most Broward, Palm Beach high schools earn top grades
Dec 18, 2014 10:51 pm
Palm Beach County's high schools received a record number of A's, while Broward couldn't maintain a banner performance from last year, according to school grades released by the state Thursday.
Coral Springs to push forward with new City Hall, possibly cut costs later
Dec 18, 2014 10:50 pm
Coral Springs will get a new City Hall in the future downtown after all, officials decided Wednesday night.
Hollywood employees mad at mayor for writing about city's pension woes
Dec 18, 2014 10:35 pm
Mayor Peter Bober wants you to know the city's pension plans are in big trouble.
Hotel security guard provided rooms to pimp teen girls, police say
Dec 18, 2014 9:31 pm
A hotel security guard is accused of providing rooms for pimping at least two teenage girls in Fort Lauderdale, police said.