How Did the Florida Coasts Get Their Names?

With nearly 8,500 miles of shoreline and some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Florida is the place to be if you love spending time in the sun, sand, and surf. The state’s coastal regions have 10 distinct names, each with a story that highlights their unique place in the state’s history. Here’s how each Florida coast earned its moniker.

First Coast

A photo of the Florida Coast

The Daytona Beach area is so named because it’s the first Florida coast drivers encounter when they enter the state on I-95. It was also the first part of the state colonized by European settlers.

Emerald Coast

The glittering green waters of the Gulf of Mexico give the Emerald Coast its name. This Florida region extends from Panama City to Pensacola.

Forgotten Coast

This quiet, undeveloped area of Florida covers the region from St. Marks to Mexico Beach, just southwest of Tallahassee. Legend has it that a publisher once released a map of the state that literally left out the Forgotten Coast.

Nature Coast

The Nature Coast gets its name from the countless state parks in the Big Bend region, which includes Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Levy, Dixie, Taylor, Jefferson, and Wakulla counties. Visitors are rewarded with glimpses of exotic plant and animal species, formidable forests, and relaxing springs.

Sun Coast

This area gets more sunny days annually than any other part of Florida. The Sun Coast includes Clearwater, Tampa, and St. Petersburg.

Cultural Coast

The vibrant art and music scene here gives the Cultural Coast its name. This region south of St. Petersburg includes Sarasota, Siesta Key, and Anna Maria Island.

Lee Island Coast

Thousands of small islands make up this area in Southwest Florida. Although Lee Island itself doesn’t actually exist, visitors can spend time in the paradises of Sanibel, Captiva, Marco Island, and countless others.

Gold Coast

The gold in the name of this area refers to the valuable real estate in this part of Florida. The Gold Coast includes the ritzy cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.

Treasure Coast

In 1715, 11 Spanish ships carrying royal treasure sank off Florida’s south-central Atlantic Coast. Today, visitors to the Treasure Coast still search for the jewels and precious metals that were lost at sea. This area includes Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties.

Space Coast

The first U.S. space flight originated from this out-of-this-world Florida region. The Space Coast, which comprises most of Brevard County, is the home of Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center.

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