What Bodies of Water Surround Florida?

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The state of Florida is located at the southernmost tip of the east coast of the United States. The east coast, southern tip, Florida Keys and the west coast of the state are bordered by three separate bodies of water. The least commonly known of the three bodies of water runs at the southernmost portion of the state between the Florida Keys and Cuba.

Which bodies of water surround Florida?
Which bodies of water surround Florida? (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic Ocean lies to the east and slightly southeast of Florida. With its deepest point being -8,605 miles and its highest point being sea level, the Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the five documented oceans. This highly traveled trade route bordered to the west by North and South America and the east by Europe and Africa boasts 111.866 total miles of coastline.

The Atlantic Ocean is rich in oil and natural gas, marine life and precious stones. Among its endangered species are the manatees, which live primarily in Florida waterways. Florida Interstate A1A is the north south route that parallels the Atlantic Ocean in Florida. The Port of Miami which serves the Atlantic Ocean is located due east of A1A.

The Atlantic Ocean borders Florida's east coast.
The Atlantic Ocean borders Florida's east coast. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The Straits of Florida

The least commonly known of the three bodies of water that surround Florida are the Straits of Florida which lie south and southeast of the Florida Keys and north of Cuba. Considered a choke point for boat and ship traffic between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, the Strait is rich in oil and natural gas. A treaty that was signed in 1977 divides rights to the oil and natural gas fields equally between the United States and Cuba. Having no defined continental borders, the Straits of Florida measure approximately 300 miles long and 60 to 100 miles wide.

The Straits of Florida lie south of the Florida Keys.
The Straits of Florida lie south of the Florida Keys. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

The Gulf of Mexico

Bordering the pristine white sand beaches of Florida's west coast, is the Gulf of Mexico. Bordered on the east, north and northwest shores within the United States by Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas and the south and southwestern shores by Mexico, the Gulf encompasses 615,000 square miles. The Gulf of Mexico yields a bounty of shrimp, game fish, shellfish, the world's longest manmade beach and a 5,800 square mile section called a "dead zone," void of oxygen and sea life, currently being studied by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is also home to some of the richest oil and natural gas deposits in the world.

Clearwater, FL
Clearwater, FL (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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