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The region contains miles of prime beaches and sunny days from early December through the following May and very few totally cloudy days. South of Naples is the Everglades and north of Tarpon Springs, the coast has isolated beaches, with very few roads and mangrove swamps to the Gulf's edge, and is known as the Nature Coast.
Three of the Suncoast beaches have been named in the top 10 beaches of the United States:
- Caladesi Beach near Clearwater
- Desoto Beach in St. Petersburg
- Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota
The area has traditionally been associated with a large population of Midwestern retirees and so-called "snow-birds" who are traditionally retirees from northern states who relocate to the Sun Coast for the winter months.
Cities and counties
The Sun Coast includes the well-known coastal cities of Saint Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, Tampa, Brandon, Ruskin, Bradenton, Sarasota, Punta Gorda, Englewood, Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, Venice, and Naples.
Origin of the name
According to a February 2, 1986 article in the Lakeland Ledger, the phrase was coined in 1952 by St. Petersburg, Florida mayor Samuel G. Johnson to refer to a 10 county area between Tarpon Springs to the north, and Naples to the south. That same article states that many communities in the area do not consider themselves to be a part of the area, preferring terms such as "Lee Island Coast" or "Shell Coast." The area was originally known as the Pirate Coast.
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