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Florida's Coasts: Going Coastal

A coast by any name... is still Florida!

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© Dawn Henthorn, licensed to About.com

The Sunshine State is nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico providing coastline – some 1200 miles of it –identified by various coastal names. It is easy to divide the state into two coasts – the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf Coast or even the East Coast and the West Coast. Simple enough, don't you think? Not for Florida. The state that brought you butterfly ballots and hanging chad, also brings you so many names for its coasts that I feel like... well, going coastal!

Here is what I mean... The Space Coast is easy enough to figure out, but would you know where to locate the Treasure Coast? Did you know that Palm Coast is on the coast, but is really a city? Would you have guessed that the Lee Island Coast isn't named for an island at all, but for Lee County?

Just so you know, there is a First Coast, but not a Last Coast; a Gold and Emerald Coast, but no Silver or Ruby Coasts; there is a Cultural Coast, but that doesn't mean the rest of the state is a cultural void; just like the sun shines on the entire state, not just on the Sun Coast.

If that all isn't confusing enough, just wait, that's not all. There is the Nature Coast; the Paradise Coast the Central West Coast, Central East Coast and North Central Coast; the Big Bend Coast; and, let's not forget... the Forgotten Coast.

Don't worry, there is no need for you to stay confused, I'm going to help you make sense of all those coasts. Click on any link for a tour of Florida's coasts. Why not begin at the beginning... on Florida's First Coast situated on the Atlantic Ocean in Northeast Florida, then travel down the East Coast to the Gold and Treasure Coasts and up the West Coast for the Paradise, Cultural, Sun and Nature Coasts... ending on Florida's Emerald Coast situated on the Gulf of Mexico in Northwest Florida. I'll share with you the highlights and rich history of each coast, what its like today, what you should see along the way, plus plenty of photos to make a lasting impression.

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