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
South Florida under tornado watch through 7 p.m. | Weather alerts
Mar 6, 2014 7:20 pm
Expect potentially strong storms to develop today, the result of a cold front.
Toddlers pulled from apartment pool in Sunrise | Video
Mar 6, 2014 7:06 pm
Two toddlers were rescued from a near-drowning at a community swimming pool in Sunrise Thursday morning, police said.
BCAA outdoor events canceled for Thursday
Mar 6, 2014 6:34 pm
Due to the forecast of potential severe weather on Thursday afternoon, all outdoor high school activities have been canceled in Broward County. Palm Beach schools have not made any decision to cancel ...
Principal accused of raping colleague at charter school in Pompano | Video
Mar 6, 2014 6:25 pm
A charter school principal is accused of raping a colleague, the Broward Sheriff's Office said Thursday. Peter Nicholson, 55, of Coral Springs, was arrested Wednesday and charged with sexual battery.&...
Same gunman robs Pompano cellphone | Video store twice, authorities say
Mar 6, 2014 6:19 pm
A brazen gun-toting robber targeted the same cellphone store in Pompano Beach twice and in one instance told an employee to "call the cops," the Broward Sheriff's Office said. &...
Forum sponsored to support two-state solution for Israel
Mar 6, 2014 6:05 pm
Former Shin Bet director to speak at Temple Beth El on Sunday Some supporters of Israel hope to show their enthusiasm for peace Sunday in a style often lacking when this topic comes up in South Florid...
Ex-Dolphins trainer Kevin O'Neill poised to fight termination
Mar 6, 2014 5:52 pm
O'Neill released statement through attorney saying alleged offense don't justify firingKevin O’Neill, the longtime Dolphins trainer who was fired last month in the wake of the Wells Report, ...
There are 29 states fatter than Florida
Mar 6, 2014 5:51 pm
Mississippi took over the top spot from West Virginia in the latest rankings of most obese states, while Florida ranks in the middle of the pack.
Man steals $11K in jewelry, buys girlfriend Valentine's Day gift, deputies say | Video
Mar 6, 2014 5:16 pm
An 18-year-old Boca Raton man stole $11,000 in jewelry to steal his girl's heart, but ended up with a court date instead, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. &n...
Marathon runners stop to honor 95-year-old veteran | Video
Mar 6, 2014 4:52 pm
Marathon runners left the course Sunday morning to honor the 95-year-old war veteran who was watching the race in his uniform from his front yard, the San Jose Mercury News is reporting. &...