Taking a Breather: Florida’s 10 Coastal Nicknames

By Dave Grossi  |   Sep 3, 2021

Editor’s note: Although this is clearly not Dave’s “typical” article it’s a fun distraction from the day-to-day we all face. Taking a mental breather is not only enjoyable, it’s also healthy. With that, enjoy…

Most Calibre Press readers know I’m originally from upstate New York. And many have noted that I frequently refer to my new home in southwest Florida as “Paradise.” The Sunshine State with its sun, tropical climate and salt water breezes it is indeed a paradise and lays claim to some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. What few folks know is the entire 8,436 miles of Florida’s coast has formal nicknames, the Paradise Coast being just one. Here’s a short primer on the nicknames of Florida’s coast line. By the way, these are general geographical starts and stops; and some locals may argue about where their city boundary lines actually begin and end.

The first five

Starting up in the northwest corner at the panhandle is the Emerald Coast.  The Emerald Coast encompasses Pensacola, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, down to Panama City. It got its nickname from the crystal-clear blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The little known Forgotten Coast is just south of the Emerald Coast and is huge in area. Starting just south of Tallahassee, this quiet coastline is home to Apalachicola, Port St. Joe down to Mexico Beach. The Nature Coast, the biggest by land area but the least populated, is just south of the Forgotten Coast. Dozens of state parks dot the Nature Coast which is a nature lovers’ paradise with hunting, fishing, bird watching and hiking trails in abundance. Moving south down the west coast you’ll find the Sun Coast. The Sun Coast is home to Tampa, Clearwater, New Port Richey and St. Petersburg and boasts the most days of sunshine per year, hence its nickname.  Next is the Cultural Coast just below the Sun Coast, and home to beautiful Bradenton and Sarasota. It starts just south of St. Pete and terminates around Port Charlotte.  The Cultural Coast derived its nickname from the throngs of artists and musicians; and is famous for the white ankle-deep sand of Siesta Key.

#6 through #10

Number six is my home; the Paradise Coast which starts just north of Fort Myers Beach and runs south to Sanibel & Captiva Islands, Bonita Beach, Naples, Marco Island all the way down to the Keys. Moving around the southern tip of the state you’ll come to the Gold Coast which is home to Key Largo and the movie of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The Gold Coast runs north to Coral Gables, Miami, Hollywood, and Fort Lauderdale.  The Gold Coast got its wealthy nickname from the “golden” real estate in the area. Continuing north up the east coast is the Treasure Coast.  The Treasure Coast generally runs from Boca Raton north to West Palm Beach and up to Fort Pierce.  It got its nickname from the tons of gold and silver (destined for the King and Queen of Spain) believed to be at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean just off the FL coast. The eleven ships carrying the bounty sunk in 1715 during a violent hurricane.  Arguably, the most modern nickname is the Space Coast which runs from Melbourne to Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral, and is home to Kennedy Space Center. Up in the northeast corner, colonized in 1565, is the First Coast.  Its home to Jacksonville and Florida’s oldest city, St. Augustine, and claims the motto “Where Florida Begins.” 

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Dave Grossi is a retired police lieutenant from upstate NY now residing in southwest FL. He was the Lead Instructor for the Calibre Press, Inc. Street Survival Seminars from 1988 through 2000.