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
Days are numbered for homeless outreach spot known as 'The Tree'
May 21, 2015 10:27 pm
For at least six years, The Tree has been the place Broward County 's homeless knew to go for shade and services.
Free electronic legal advice may be coming to a mall near you
May 21, 2015 10:23 pm
Imagine needing legal advice and heading to a kiosk at the mall or your local library to get it.
Fires burning 100 miles away cause haze, smoky air around South Florida
May 21, 2015 10:02 pm
That smoky air that is burning our eyes in downtown Fort Lauderdale? It's coming from six fires burning 100 miles west in the Big Cypress National Preserve.
Broward accountant used her clients' IDs to defraud IRS, feds say
May 21, 2015 9:56 pm
Federal prosecutors say a Davie accountant used her income tax preparation business to file fraudulent claims, launder money and steal from her clients and Uncle Sam.
Violated statue replaced, to be unveiled Monday
May 21, 2015 8:45 pm
First, the city had just one statue honoring America's fallen.
Is there a political pipeline from Legislature to Broward Commission?
May 21, 2015 8:33 pm
Broward County is doing a great job of recycling when it comes to politicians.
Body cameras politically popular, but not with BSO deputies
May 21, 2015 7:53 pm
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said he was heeding the community's call for body cameras when he announced a pilot program this week, but his deputies want to have the last word.
Broward wins Florida's 'Library of Year'
May 21, 2015 7:45 pm
To visit Florida's Library of the Year, drive no further than your closest Broward County branch.
Man stole $14,000 worth of musical instruments in Tamarac, deputies say
May 21, 2015 3:58 pm
A Royal Palm Beach man was already serving a prison sentence when he was arrested by Broward County authorities on charges of stealing instruments from a Tamarac music store.
Sheriff: Body cameras by year's end
May 21, 2015 2:46 pm
A small contingent of deputies will be outfitted with body cameras by year's end, Sheriff Scott Israel said this week.