Anna Maria Island, Florida — Courtesy: Shutterstock — bonandbon
If you’re a Tampa Bay resident, you’ve probably heard of the “Suncoast.” It is used for names of organizations, businesses, and even roads, such as the Suncoast Parkway.
All around the Sunshine State, regions of the coast have different nicknames. Some are much more well-known than others. These names were coined for tourism and marketing purposes, mainly in the 1980s and 1990s. They help to differentiate the geographies and personalities of each Florida region.
The northeast part of Florida is called the “First Coast.” It got its name in 1983 and pays homage to St. Augustine being the first permanent European settlement of the United States in 1565. Jacksonville is also part of the First Coast.
Moving down on the Atlantic Coast is the “Space Coast.” This one is considered more obvious since it is home to Cape Canaveral and Brevard County. Brevard County even requested, and was given, the area code 321 (blast off!).
Just below the Space Coast is the “Treasure Coast.” Here lies Port St. Lucie and Vero Beach. It is named after the Spanish treasure fleet that was wrecked in a destructive hurricane in 1715. This area was nicknamed in 1961 when treasure was found and recovered.
Southeast Florida, including Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, is called the “Gold Coast.” This was chosen in the early 1980s when the real estate value and cost of living increased dramatically.
Lee Island Coast
Switching over to the Gulf side, you’ll find the “Lee Island Coast.” It includes Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Captiva Island, and Sanibel Island. This region is known for its large barrier islands.
From Port Charlotte to Sarasota is the “Cultural Coast.” This area is known for its attraction to musicians and artists— think of the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. Anna Maria Island is considered part of this coast at times, but it usually falls into the “Sun Coast” or “Suncoast.”
The Tampa Bay area is referred to as the “Sun Coast.” Some people say this area receives the most sunshine in Florida, but parts of Miami and the Panhandle actually get a slightly higher percentage of light per year. Its name comes from the tourism and marketing sector. Here lies Manatee, Hillsborough, and Pinellas Counties.
Next to the north is the “Nature Coast,” coined in 1991. This coast includes Pasco County north into the Big Bend area of the Sunshine State. This area is known to be much less developed than Florida’s other coasts. It is characterized by its rivers, springs, and forested areas.
From the Big Bend area west, including Apalachicola, is the “Forgotten Coast.” This is the only Florida coast that is a registered trademark name. The area has very small towns and undeveloped beaches, including Mexico Beach, which was destroyed by Category 5 Hurricane Michael in 2018.
The tip of the Panhandle is called the “Emerald Coast,” named after the color of the surrounding water there. Here you can see Panama City and Pensacola Beach.
So, now you know a little more about the beautiful Sunshine State and its array of coasts.
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