Two of the largest oceans in the world, the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean, surround the United States, which allows this nation's citizens to enjoy their beaches. These oceans are on the U.S. East and West Coasts. The Southeast and Upper Midwest regions of the United States border the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes, respectively. The bodies of water surrounding the United States make up more than 96 million square miles.
The West Coast and Alaska are next to the Pacific Ocean, the largest body of water in the world. The Pacific consists of 64 million square miles and its surface area is greater than all of Earth's continents combined. The states in the continental United States by the Pacific Ocean include Washington, Oregon and California, while major seafront cities are San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles.
The Atlantic Ocean is on the edge of the U.S. East Coast, stretching from Maine to Florida. Major U.S. cities on the Atlantic Ocean include Boston, New York City, Jacksonville and Miami. At 32 million square miles, the Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest body of water in the world. The Atlantic Ocean is the youngest ocean in the world and has only been on Earth in the last 100 million years.
Situated in the Upper Midwest region, the Great Lakes is a collection of five freshwater lakes between the United States and Canada. The five lakes are Lake Ontario, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Erie. The largest of the Great Lakes is Lake Superior, which borders Minnesota and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Major U.S. cities on Lake Michigan include Chicago and Milwaukee, while Cleveland and Buffalo are located on the shores of Lake Erie. Other states on the Great Lakes include Indiana and Pennsylvania. The combined square mileage of the Great Lakes is approximately 80,500, making up 84 percent of the freshwater bodies of water in North America.
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is in the southeastern region of the United States and is a part of the Atlantic Ocean. This body of water is 615,000 square miles, making it the ninth-largest body of water in the world. The Gulf of Mexico borders the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Major cities on the Gulf of Mexico include New Orleans, Tampa and Galveston. Amerigo Vespucci, a Spanish explorer, discovered the Gulf of Mexico in the late 15th century.