There are more than 1,350 miles of beautiful Florida coastline running through Florida down the Gulf of Mexico and up the Atlantic Ocean.
Starting on the Gulf Coast
- Emerald Coast – The Emerald Coast starts in the northwest corner of the Florida panhandle and runs from Pensacola Beach to Panama City Beach. The Emerald coast gets it’s name from the beautiful emerald green color of the water contrasted against the white sands the local barrier islands. Now on that note as we go through this list you’re going to hear cities like Pensacola and Pensacola Beach. In this example Pensacola in on the main land and fronts the bay whereas the city of Pensacola Beach is on the barrier island. The Emerald Coast includes the aforementioned cities of Pensacola, and Pensacola Beach, as well as Navarre, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Miramar Beach, and Panama City. For more on the Emerald Coast, be sure to go back and check out our recent interview with Vicky Leos on the Emerald Coast!
- Forgotten Coast – Moving east from the Emerald Coast, the Forgotten Coast of Florida covers a region starting just east of Panama City Beach to the Apalachee Bay which is just south of Florida’s Capital City – Tallahassee. The Forgotten Coast includes the areas such as Mexico Beach, Port St Joe, Apalachicola, East Point, Lanark Village and Alligator Point. Most of these are smaller towns, and the Forgotten Coast gets it’s name because it’s less populated and less developed than other areas of Florida. The land locked Tallahassee is actually the largest city in this region, and is about 90 minutes north of the beach.
- Nature Coast – Up next we’ve got The Nature Coast! This is Florida’s longest coast by area and spans eight counties. The Nature Coast starts just south of Tallahassee where the Forgotten Coast end and runs to just north of Tampa. There are lots of outdoor activities along the Nature Coast including hiking, fishing, boating, snorkeling, and visiting the areas natural springs. The Nature Coast is a great place to see wintering manatees in places like Homosassa Springs and Crystal River.
- Sun Coast – The Sun Coast is just south of the Nature Coast are runs along Tampa Bay through Bradenton to Sarasota. Some of the bigger cities on the Sun Coast include Brandon, Bradenton, Clearwater, Largo, Tampa, St Petersburg, and Sarasota. This area is known for it’s beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters. The Tampa Bay metro area is one of the fastest growing markets in Florida with people flocking to the area to soak up the sun from all over the country.
- Cultural Coast – The Cultural Coast runs from Sarasota, through Siesta Key and Venice. This coast is named for it’s ample performing arts and famous art galleries including the Ringling Estate, the Sarasota Opera, and the Venice Theatre. One of my favorite spots in this area is called Brohard Paw Park. It’s a dog park on the beach and it’s so fun to see the dogs running around enjoying the sand and the surf.
- Lee Island Coast – You may have heard of Sanibel Island, well the Lee Island Coast is named after Lee County and includes the barrier islands Sanibel and Captiva. Some of the bigger cities this area include Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Punta Gorda, and Bonita Springs. The Lee Island Coast has beautiful beaches and now that we’ve moving firmly into the realm of South Florida, the winters are milder here meaning you can do that boating and beaching all year long.
- Paradise Coast – The Paradise Coast is the southernmost Gulf coast in Florida. This area has beautiful white sand beaches and aqua waters. The cities of Naples, Marco Island, and Everglades City run along the gulf and some inland cities are Immokalee and Ave Maria. The Paradise Coast in Southwest Florida is just north of the everglades so living here will give you ample opportunities to tour the everglades by airport or munch on stone crab claws at beachfront eateries.
Now we are heading back north on to the Atlantic Coast
- Gold Coast – The Gold Coast runs from South Miami to West Palm Beach. This coast runs through 60 miles of Atlantic beaches. This is Floridas largest metropolitan area and includes the cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach. The Gold Coast name is a reference to the wealth and ritzy lifestyle that characterizes this region. The popular South Beach is probably one of the best known beaches in Florida.
- Treasure Coast – The Treasure Coast gets it’s name from a treasure which was lost with a Spanish Armada fleet in the Hurricane of 1715.The Treasure Coast includes the cities of Jupiter, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce and Vero Beach. This area is known for its fantastic fishing and Port St. Lucie is the unofficial “Sailfish Capital of the World”
- Space Coast – The Space Coast covers over 70 miles of Central Florida coast line. Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, and Titusville are some of the bigger cities in this area. The Space Coast gets it’s name from the Kennedy the Space Center, where companies like Space X and United Launch Alliance regularly launch rockets for NASA. The area is also home to Port Canaveral, a popular cruise ship port. The Cocoa Beach Pier is a popular destination for beachgoers, surfers, and fisherman with a Tiki Bar at the end of the pier.
- Fun Coast – The Fun Coast is also known as the Surf Coast. This area encompasses the cities of New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach. The Fun Coast is a popular surfing destination and is also home to Nascar’s Daytona Speedway. This area also has a third name, the Halifax area in reference to the Halifax River, which runs through Daytona Beach.
- First Coast – The last coast on our list is known as the First Coast of Florida and runs over 75 miles through the counties of Nassau, Duval and St. Johns. This region is home to one of Florida’s largest cities, Jacksonville. Other big cities in this area are Ponte Vedra Beach, St. Johns, St. Augustine, and Palm Coast. The name First Coast is in reference to the first permanent European settlement in the area which is St. Augustine. It is the oldest city in the U.S., known for its Spanish colonial architecture.
We will be doing a future episode on each of these coasts, so be sure to keep an eye out and let us know which coast you’re most interested in!
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