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South Shore Florida: Five Communities, Endless Possibilities

South Shore Florida, also known as “South County,” has plenty going for it. It includes the communities of Gibsonton, Apollo Beach, Ruskin, Riverview, and Sun City Center. Each has its own charms and personality. Here’s a look at them:

1. If you love the circus, then you should already be in Gibsonton. The area is famous for being the winter haven for traveling performers, and at one time had special ordinances for folks who wanted to keep their elephant in their yard during the off season! There’s a marvelous museum devoted to carnival celebrities, and plenty of newer homes ranging from condos to houses on their own lots. The town has been the setting for many novels, films, and TV shows, due to its colorful, unique character and mild winters.

2. Originally known as Tampa Beach, Apollo Beach earned its current name in the 1950s due to its abundance of sunshine. Located in between Bradenton and Tampa, the area is home to over 50 miles of navigable canals. This thriving community of 15,000 people is perfect for those who love canoeing, boating, fishing, or related activities. Both Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico are accessible by water lanes, for those who want to explore new places. But folks who prefer to stay closer to home will find plenty to do as well, thanks to the area’s many outdoor celebrations like the annual Manatee Arts Festival.

3. Ruskin is home to a famous 4800 acre wetland preserve that offers sanctuary for a huge variety of fish, including red drum and snook. Numerous birds, crustaceans and other species also call it home. Seagrass and oyster beds are among the many types of habitats. The area is a gardener’s paradise, with local soil that’s ideal for growing some of the largest, most delicious tomatoes on earth. Residents interested in lifelong learning will find plenty to stimulate their minds at nearby Hillsborough Community College. With about 17,000 residents, Ruskin is a great place to call home.

4. Riverview, with its 70,000 residents, offers all the amenities of a larger town, yet has the feel of a small rural community, thanks to its history as a remote area accessible only by boat. With both multi-family dwellings as well as traditional houses, potential residents will find their pick of quality homes to choose from. Excellent fishing and boating opportunities exist on the bay or along the scenic Alafia River. The many, many miles of marshy canoe trails offer a more laid-back experience, for those who like to take their time and explore nature in depth.

5. If you’re 55 or older and looking for a place with plenty to do, then you’ll love Sun City Center, also known as Greater Sun Center. It’s an age-restricted community 25 miles southeast of Tampa. Drive a golf cart to your destination on one of the spacious paved routes built just for them. Join any number of the more than 200 local clubs, devoted to interests as diverse as investing, ham radio, or learning new dances. You’ll also find endless ways to stay fit, thanks to the many gyms and walking trails. For people looking for a place to enjoy their best years, Sun City Center is definitely a place to consider.

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