A coast, also known as a coastline, is where the land meets the sea or ocean. The coastline can also refer to where the land meets a lake.
Coasts are dynamic and create essential ecosystems. They’re home to marine plants, animals, and insects. Coastlines also help humans understand natural events like weather and changing sea levels.
The United States has several coastlines:
- The East Coast, which runs along the Atlantic Ocean
- The West Coast, which runs along the Pacific Ocean
- The Gulf Coast, which runs along the Gulf of Mexico
- The lake states, which includes the states with Great Lakes shoreline
- The Arctic Coast, which runs along the northern part of Alaska
U.S. Coastal States
The Atlantic Coast states are:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
The Pacific Coast states are:
The Gulf Coast states are:
The Great Lakes states are:
The Arctic Coast has one state: Alaska.
Coastal cities are typically popular tourist destinations, ports of entry, and shipping ports. Coastal cities are home to a significant portion of the population. While coastal city residents enjoy views of the water and access to beach and water activities, they are at a higher risk of flooding, strong winds, and hurricanes (particularly in the Southeast). Some well-known coastal cities in the U.S. are New York City, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California; and Miami, Florida.
Coastal states have unique coastlines. The beaches of Florida are different from the beaches in New Jersey and those in California. Some other coastlines are marshy, and some have cliffs rather than sandy beaches. The water will be different along each coastline as well both in color, temperature, and temperament. You’re going to find clearer waters in Miami than you are in Boston.
States with the Most Coastline
Below are the ten states with the most coastline in the U.S. Lengths are provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and were compute day an unspecified method that includes tidal areas such as the Great Lakes.
- Alaska - 33,904 miles
- Florida - 8,436 miles
- Louisiana - 7,721 miles
- Maine - 3,478 miles
- California - 3,427 miles
- North Carolina - 3,375 miles
- Texas - 3,359 miles
- Virginia - 3,315 miles
- Michigan - 3,224 miles
- Maryland - 3,190 miles