The United States of America has more than 12,000 miles of coastline. This coastline borders three major bodies of water: the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast. In addition, part of the border with Canada runs through the Great Lakes and the northern coast of Alaska borders the Arctic Ocean.
The Pacific Ocean is the largest body of water in the world, covering about one-third of the Earth's surface. It is larger than all the Earth's land area combined. The Equator divides it into two regions, the North Pacific and South Pacific. The North Pacific borders the contiguous United States along the western shores of California, Oregon and Washington. In addition, Alaska's western coast is on the Pacific. The U.S. state of Hawaii consists of a group of islands in the South Pacific.
The Atlantic Ocean is the world's second-largest ocean. The eastern seaboard of the United States is located on the western shore of the North Atlantic. Because Britain and Western Europe also border on the Atlantic, the earliest colonization of what would become the United States was along the Atlantic seaboard, with colonies such as Florida, colonized by the Spanish in 1559; Virginia, founded by the English in 1607; and New York, founded by the Dutch in 1609.
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is technically part of the Atlantic Ocean, but it is so large that it is usually considered as separate. It is about 800 miles long from east to west and borders the U. S. states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, as well as Mexico and Cuba. The largest river in America, the Mississippi River, empties into the Gulf of Mexico. Tropical storms and hurricanes are common in the warm waters of the Gulf, threatening coastal settlements.
Other Bodies of Water
In addition to these three major bodies of water, the United States has some smaller water borders. The northern border of the United States runs along the Great Lakes for part of its length. There are five Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. Together they make up the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world. They separate the American states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York from the Canadian province of Ontario. Also, the northern shore of Alaska is bordered by the Arctic Ocean, which is the smallest of the world's oceans, partly covered by ice throughout the year.
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
Major Bodies of Water in the United States
With a total area of 3,794,083 square miles, there is plenty of room in the United States for major bodies of water....
What Bodies of Water Surround the US?
The West Coast and Alaska are next to the Pacific Ocean, the largest body of water in the world. ... The Atlantic...
What Bodies of Water Are in Mexico?
However, Mexico is also home to various bodies of water that make for interesting places to visit. ... The major bodies of...
Important Landforms & Bodies of Water in New York
Lake Champlain forms a natural border with Vermont, the Delaware River forms part of the southern border of New York with Pennsylvania,...
Bodies of Water in Alabama
Bodies of Water in Alabama. ... What Three Major Bodies of Water Border the U ... United States that is surrounded on...
Large Bodies of Water in the Western USA
The western half of the United States is home to various bodies of water, from small tributaries to rushing rivers. The largest...
Major Bodies of Water in the Southwest
Major Bodies of Water in the Southwest. ... The Colorado River is the most well known river in the United States other...
What Bodies of Water Surround Florida?
The east coast, southern tip, Florida Keys and the west coast of the state are bordered by three separate bodies of water....
What Causes Coastal Erosion in Louisiana?
Because of Louisiana's location in relation to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, ... of the Louisiana coastline. All bodies...
What Bodies of Water Surround Ireland?
Two of the largest oceans in the world, the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean, ... there is plenty of room in the...
Bodies of Water in Spain
The major bodies of water surrounding Europe and ... What 3 Bodies of Water Border Florida. Florida is a peninsula in the...