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
Paul files for president, re-election in Kentucky
Nov 30, 2015 7:30 pm
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul officially filed for re-election and for president in his home state Monday, a move he insists does not undermine his faltering presidential campaign. Paul is the only major candid...
Florida's 2 main parties turn in names for March primary
Nov 30, 2015 6:40 pm
Florida voters, especially registered Republicans, will have to contend with a very crowded presidential primary ballot. Florida's two main political parties have officially submitted the names of the...
North Florida rural counties struggle with Internet service
Nov 30, 2015 6:00 pm
Several rural counties in north Florida are struggling with high-speed Internet service after an agency created in 2009 has become unreliable, and some customers have moved on to other sources for Int...
Trial delayed for mom of missing Florida boy
Nov 30, 2015 4:50 pm
A judge has delayed the trial of the mother of a missing Florida toddler until early next year. The Florida Times Union (http://bit.ly/1lUwuLl ) reports Circuit Judge Mark Borello on Monday moved the ...
Jeb Bush says Trump 'uninformed,' not a serious candidate
Nov 30, 2015 3:00 pm
The Republican front-runner for the presidential nomination, Donald Trump, is not prepared to be the nation's commander in chief, because he's "uninformed" on major issues facing the U.S, es...
1 Fantasy 5 player wins $182,373 jackpot
Nov 30, 2015 2:30 pm
One "Fantasy 5" player selected all five winning numbers to take home a jackpot of $182,373. The Florida Lottery said Monday that the winning ticket was purchased in Port St. John. A total o...
5 Things to Know in Florida for Nov. 30
Nov 30, 2015 12:40 pm
Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today. SEARCH CALLED OFF FOR MISSING ORLANDO TEEN Authorities found a body in a retention pond near the home of the 1...
Researchers study gopher tortoises on Georgia island
Nov 30, 2015 12:30 pm
They're castaways, isolated for decades on an island off the Georgia coast. Their ancestors were probably captured and taken there to be lunch and dinner for the earlier, more powerful residents of th...
Hospital's research and education building moving forward
Nov 30, 2015 12:00 pm
All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine is moving forward with plans to construct a research and education building in St. Petersburg. Jonathan Ellen, the hospital's CEO, tells the Tampa Bay Ti...
UF researchers finding ways to put urine to work
Nov 30, 2015 9:10 am
A University of Florida researcher and his team of students have come up with a novel approach to water conservation that turns urine into fertilizer and takes pharmaceuticals out of the environment. ...