'Sun Coast' of Florida
The SUN COAST is north of the PARADISE COAST and south of the NATURE COAST. The region contains miles of Gulf of Mexico beaches. The SUN COAST region includes the western central Florida cities of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, Tarpon Springs, Tampa, Brandon, Ruskin, Sarasota and Bradenton, among others. Many of the beach communities on the Gulf of Mexico are individually-incorporated cities, such as St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, and Indian Rocks Beach. An exception is Clearwater Beach, which is part of the city of Clearwater.
There is another coastal term called the CULTURAL COAST which is not as well reported but is growing in popularity. It is in a portion of the SUN COAST. The CULTURAL COAST includes the coastal communities and islands in southwest Florida which extend from Sarasota north to Bradenton. Coastal areas in Sarasota and Manatee Counties are considered part of the CULTURAL COAST. Points in between include Ana Maria Island, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Lido Key and a variety of small beach communities.
The SUN COAST is a marketing name for the west-central peninsular Florida coastal area, also sometimes known as "Florida's Beach." The SUN COAST phrase was coined in 1952 by St. Petersburg, Florida, mayor Samuel G. Johnson.
The CULTURAL COAST name derives from the city of Sarasota, recognized as the cultural center of the state of Florida since the early 1920s. Artists of many disciplines, writers, performers, musicians, and architects have been attracted to the community in great numbers. Sarasota is the home of the Florida West Coast Symphony, founded by Ruth Cotton Butler in 1949. Sarasota also is home to the famous Sarasota Music Festival which draws students, musicians, professors, and lovers of chamber music from around the world for a three-week event of international importance - Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Opera, The Players, and numerous other musical, dance, artistic, and theatrical venues. In its early days, it was best known as a circus town, with many circus people living in the area as it was the winter headquarters for Ringling's Circus.
The Florida SUN COAST's primary city of St. Petersburg, boasts an average of 361 sunny days per year, which explains the term "Sun Coast". It is no surprise that this coast is a center for sports and outdoor recreation. With a yearly average temperature in the low to mid 70's, this coast is a favorite among boaters and beach goers. The long chain of Barrier Islands offer what seems like a never ending Gulf coastline of beautiful beaches. Miles of water frontage on the Intercostals’ waterways, including the various bays which are supplied from the Gulf of Mexico, allow many places easy access by boat.
Outdoor activities such as tennis, hiking, kayaking, boating, fishing and camping are readily available throughout Florida's SUN COAST including an abundance of golf courses. The SUN COAST boasts not just one, but three award winning beaches of Fort De Soto, Caladesi Island and Clearwater Beach. It also helps that the SUN COAST boasts of more sunny days per year than any other Florida coast. With respect to the the CULTURAL COAST, what was once considered a haven for the wealthy is now a paradise for musicians, artists, vacationers and residents, becoming a sophisticated seaside community. It has a thriving cultural district and a wealth of recreational opportunities including boating, fishing, shell collecting, and tennis, just to name a few.
The CULTURAL COAST offers something for players of all levels and tastes when golfing. Fine public facilities and upscale semi-private golf communities join posh private clubs in making the area a dream golf getaway. The CUTURAL COAST offers breathtaking sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico, year round tropical foilage, and is known for its beautiful white sandy beaches.
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