Every coastal country in the world has one or more coastlines while landlocked countries lack coastlines. The United States has the eighth longest coastline in the world. According to NOAA, the total length of the country's coastline is 95,471 miles or 153652.12 km. There are more than 15 states in the United States with coastlines exceeding 1,000 miles.
30 US states have coastlines with 23 having a coastline on the Atlantic, Arctic, and/or Pacific Ocean. 8 states have shoreline along the Great Lakes. New York is unique in having a coastline along the Atlantic and a shoreline on the Great Lakes.
Measuring coastline length is, however, not an easy task as coastlines are never straight lines but usually highly indented. The length also keeps changing due to wind and wave action that increases or decreases the length of coastlines.
Several methods have been used to determine the length of coastlines. In this article, US states have been ranked according to the length of their coastlines which includes the length of ocean coastline, tidal inlets, and Great Lakes shorelines (referred to as Method 2). The data has been derived from NOAA.
The top seven states in the US by the length of coastline has been mentioned below.
1. Alaska - 54,563 km
With 54,563 km of coastline, Alaska boasts of having the longest coastline in the country. In fact, the length of the state's coastline is more than that of all other states combined. Several bodies of water border Alaska. The Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort Sea lie to the north, the Chukchi Sea to the northwest, the Bering Sea and Bering Strait to the southwest and west, and the Pacific Ocean to the south.
2. Florida - 13,576 km
Most visitors to the Sunshine State decide between the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico for their beach getaway, but Florida is actually split into ten coastal regions. First Coast is the first area to be discovered and colonized and is the first stop from travelers heading into Florida from the North. Space Coast is home to Kennedy Space Center, and Treasure Coast is named after Spanish ships loaded with treasures that sank in the area centuries ago. Gold Coast is the most affluent area of Florida, and Lee Island Coast is where the state’s barrier islands are found. Artists and musicians flock to Cultural Coast, and Sun Coast received the most days of sunshine. Forgotten Coast is quiet, and Emerald Coast is known for its majestic blue-green waters off the Panhandle.
3. Louisiana - 12,426 km
Louisiana’s coastline is 12,426 km long, making it the third-longest coastline in the US. The state has a long and indented coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. It extends from the Sabine River on the west to the Pearl River on the east. Grand Isle is a seaside barrier island town and the state’s most famous beach. With soft sandy beaches, unique bird-watching opportunities, and close proximity to Crescent City, it’s sure to be a memorable getaway. Marshy wetlands characterize the coast of Louisiana both to the west and east.
4. Maine - 5,597 km
Whether visiting Maine to explore Acadia National Park, relax by its many lakes and rivers, or planning a fun-filled lobster boat outing, Maine, with its picturesque coastline along the Gulf of Maine, does not disappoint. The coastline also includes over 3,000 islands of varying sizes. Offering four seasons of outdoor adventure and recreation, coastal Maine is a top travel destination for any outdoor enthusiast.
5. California - 5,515 km
California has a 5,515 km long coastline on the Pacific Ocean to the west. The coastline region of California is known as Coastal California, California Coastline, or the Golden Coast. Topping the bucket list of many travelers is a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to experience all the beauty this area has to offer. From Big Sur, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach to San Diego, the route offers one of the most scenic drives in America.
6. North Carolina - 5,432 km
North Carolina is home to over 5,432 km of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The state is well-known for its barrier island beaches where visitors can watch both the sunrise as well as the sunset. With a host of state parks, eateries, and golf courses, beachgoers return to North Carolina year after year.
7. Texas - 5,406 km
With 5,406 km of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and year-round mild temperatures, it is no wonder that Texas is a popular beach destination. Padre Island is one of Texas’s most popular beach locations. Well-known for Spring Breakers, the island does have quieter spots for those seeking a relaxing getaway. Galveston Island may not be known for its pristine beaches but offer a selection of local attractions sure to please travelers to the area. Take a relaxing walk through Moody Gardens or visit Galveston Seawall, the largest contiguous sidewalk in the world.