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Florida has never been satisfied with just calling their saltwater shoreline "the beach." Local business people over the years come up with creative names for their particular stretch of beach and the immediate inland area.
Map of Florida's 12 Coasts
Some of these names stick around for awhile; others fade into history. Some people say there are 10 Florida coasts. Others say 15. Some even more.
We will use 12 in this article.
We think these dozen coasts have names that have been here long enough they may be still used by future generations. We will name them off from the northeast clockwise around the state to the far west. Some of the "coasts" overlap a little bit with the "coasts" on either side.
THE 12 COASTS OF FLORIDA
FIRST COAST is in Northeast Florida and includes some or all of Nassau, Duval, Baker, Clay, and St. Johns Counties. The name derives from it being the first part of Florida that was discovered and colonized by Europeans.
Some cities include Fernandina Beach, Jacksonville Beach, St. Augustine Beach, Crescent Beach, and Flagler Beach.
Fernandina Beach Downtown
FUN COAST is a name that has been used several times around the state. The current definition seems to include the area just north and south of Daytona Beach, including south Flagler Beach, Ormond Beach and New Smyrna Beach.
SPACE COAST is a no-brainer name for the area immediately north and south of Kennedy Space Center. It is a much better name than the original for this area, which was "Mosquito Coast."
Cities in this coast area include Titusville, Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, Melbourne Beach, and Indialantic.
TREASURE COAST is named for the Spanish treasure fleets which were sunk off its shore during storms along the Gulf Stream. There is a museum at Sebastian Inlet State Park that features artifacts from these fleets.
Some towns in this area include Sebastian, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, and Stuart
GOLD COAST is an area that includes Palm Beach County all the way south through Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach. The name was chosen because of the wealth, many high rises, casinos, and tropical weather.
Some towns n this area include Jupiter Island, the Palm Beaches, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Miami Beach, and Key Biscayne.
PARADISE COAST in Southwest Florida is one I don't very often hear, but there are some beautiful white sand beaches down here and some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Florida.
Towns in this area are Naples, Marco Island, and Everglades City.
LEE ISLAND COAST is another coastal name I don't hear too much, but there are some beautiful beaches in the area.
Some of the communities include along the coast of Lee County are Bonita Springs, Estero Island, Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Sanibel Island, and Captiva Island.
Shell Beach on Sanibel Island
CULTURAL COAST is a name I rarely hear used. It is named for the cultural activities that are prevalent in the area. There are many art museums, theaters, and more.
Some towns here include Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach, Longboat Key, Siesta Key, and Sarasota.
Anna Maria Island
SUN COAST is the area west of Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg that has some of the most beautiful beaches in the state. Most of the beaches are built up with condominiums and high rises, but there are plenty of access points.
Some towns here include Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, Indian Shores, Clearwater Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, North Redington Beach, Treasure Island,Madeira Beach, St. Pete Beach, and Pass A Grille.
NATURE COAST is along the west coast stretch called the Big Bend region of Florida. There are very few sand beaches here, but lots of marshes, nature preserves, wildlife refuges, springs, and more. Manatees love to visit this coast in cold weather because of the spring fed rivers.
Some towns here include Steinhatchee, Horseshoe Beach, Cedar Key, Homosassa, Crystal River, Hudson, Weeki Wachee, and New Port Richey.
FORGOTTEN COAST is a great name for this stretch along the Florida Panhandle that is off the beaten path and remains lightly populated. There are some wonderful sand beaches here.
Some towns include Mexico Beach, Apalachicola, Eastpoint, St. George Island, Port St. Joe, Carrabelle, Alligator Point, and Panacea.
St. George Island
EMERALD COAST is a name that makes a lot of sense because that's the color of the water in the Gulf of Mexico along the magnificent white sand beaches that stretch for miles.
Some towns on this coast areDestin, Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, Seaside, Fort Walton Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Grayton Beach, and Navarre Beach.
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By Mike Miller, Copyright 2009-2020 Florida-Back-Roads-Travel.com