South Florida is the south-eastern portion of the U.S., immediately west of Florida proper. It is among the three most densely populated directionally diverse areas of Florida, the other two being Central Florida and North Florida, of which it forms a compact region of thirty-two counties. It also includes the more densely populated Miami metropolitan area, together with the Florida Keys, another of the three Florida directions.
Florida, as a whole, constitutes what is perhaps the most interesting southern U.S. Each directionally diverse area of south Florida bears distinctive differences from its neighbor to the south. In addition, each of these southwestern Florida counties consists of unique political, economic, ethnic, and otherwise geographical idiosyncrasies that distinguish it from the surrounding counties to its south. These unique features have generated what is known, collectively, as south Florida, whose cultural, geographic, and social characteristics remain central to the development of its southern neighbor and the entire polity of the united states.
The boundary between the two directions of south Florida, as well as between the eastern and the western portions of what is known as south Florida, was created by the creation of what is known as the Florida Panhandle. The creation of this panhandle south of the Everglades in an historic act of avowing Florida’s right to drain into the Everglades was one of the reasons that Florida became a state in the first place. This panhandle, like the other southern directions of south Florida, contains a great deal of land not easily accessed by road. This is true of the entire panhandle but it especially true of the counties of Pasco, Voluspa, Currituck, and Miami-Dade. The majority of these counties are represented by one or more cities that provide excellent local services, as well as jobs and commerce to the area.
The second direction of south Florida to be considered is that between the southern tip of Cuba to the mouth of the Intracoastal Waterway and the panhandle of south Florida Keys. This second area is referred to as the Miami Valley. Miami, particularly the south part of it, has long been famous for its lively Cuban, ethnic, and Chicano cultures. Miami has a large number of significant economic center and city sites, as well as the major commercial and shipping zones of the world. Many major American and European corporations’ headquarters are located in Miami, as do scores of tourist attractions.
To the north east of south Florida Keys is the community of Key West, which is one of the premier tourist destinations in the world. It is often referred to as the “Fortunate Five”, due to the fact that it enjoys a relatively low crime rate and is home to a number of world class shopping and entertainment areas. Also located nearby is Key West’s sister community of Pensacola, which enjoys an equally low total crime rate and an even greater emphasis on family living. In fact Pensacola is today considered to be one of the most liveable cities in the entire Gulf Coast region. Other major cities to the north east of key west include Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
The third direction of south Florida to consider is that the Florida Panhandle, which is home to the cities of Saint Petersburg and Tampa. The Tampa bay area is comprised of many popular tourist destinations such as the Tampa International Airport and the Port Tampa Bay. Saint Petersburg is also home to the NFL team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Florida in the Panhandle is the third largest barrier reef system in the world, with over 700 miles of shores, islands, and inlets to explore.
Finally, south Florida truly presents Florida residents and travelers with the greatest abundance of cultural hotspots and major entertainment centers. Miami is perhaps the most internationally famous southern city, drawing in nearly six million visitors annually. Also located in the Miami metro area is West Palm Beach, which is just three hours south of the city and boasts of unique family attractions and upscale shopping areas. The Miami Beach downtown area boasts of some of the finest dining and nightlife in the nation, while U.S. Cellular Field is located less than a two hour drive to the north.
A compact but densely populated area, south Florida continues to grow as the destination for southern Florida vacationers and immigrants. In addition to the aforementioned major cities, there are numerous small towns and villages throughout south Florida that are equally or more attractive and offer a little something different. As is true with most parts of Florida, a little bit of area will always offer plenty of options for tourists and immigrants to explore and enjoy themselves. Whether you are looking for great beaches, a vibrant nightlife, educational institutions or a rich natural history, south Florida is sure to provide something unique to everyone. A few of the cities and towns that can be found here are Fort Lauderdale on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Fort Lauderdale Beach, Hollywood Beach, Brickell, Miami Dade County and Edi Broward County, along with several others.