Geography of the Gulf of Mexico States

Learn about the States Surrounding the Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico is an ocean basin located close to the southeastern United States. It is one of the largest bodies of water in the world and it is a part of the Atlantic Ocean. The basin has an area of 600,000 square miles (1.5 million sq km) and most of it consists of shallow intertidal areas but there are some very deep portions.

Coastlines are measured by governmental bodies in the United States in two ways, one using a large scale nautical chart, and the other a finer-grained method that includes the tidal pools. According to those measurements, the United States Gulf Coast includes a length of 1,631 miles, or 17, 141 if you count the tidal pool.

The Gulf of Mexico is bounded by five U.S. states. The following is a list of the five Gulf states and some information about each.

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Alabama

United States and the State of Alabama, True Colour Satellite Image
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Alabama is a state located in the southeastern United States. It has an area of 52,419 square miles (135,765 sq km) and a 2008 population of 4,4661,900. Its largest cities are Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile. Alabama is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida to the south and Mississippi to the west. Only a small portion of its coastline is on the Gulf of Mexico (map) but it has a busy port located on the Gulf in Mobile.

Alabama has 53 miles of coastline on the Gulf; 607 counting the tidal areas. The state features 19 port cities on the Gulf Coast, the most popular according to the World Port Authority are Bevill-Hook Columbia, and Mobile.

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Florida

United States and the State of Florida, Satellite Image With Bump Effect
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Florida is a state in the southeastern United States that is bordered by Alabama and Georgia to the north and the Gulf of Mexico the south and east. It is a peninsula that is surrounded by water on three sides (map) and it has a 2009 population of 18,537,969. The area of Florida is 53,927 square miles (139,671 sq km). Florida is known as the "sunshine state" because of its warm subtropical climate and many beaches, including those on the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf (west) coast of Florida measures 770 miles long, 5,095 counting estuaries and tidal pools; and 19 ports. According to the World Port Source, the most popular on the Gulf coast is the Tampa Port Authority.

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Louisiana

United States and the State of Louisiana, Satellite Image With Bump Effect
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Louisiana (map) is located between the Gulf of Mexico states of Texas and Mississippi and is south of Arkansas. It has an area of 43,562 square miles (112,826 sq km) and a 2005 population estimate (prior to Hurricane Katrina) of 4,523,628. Louisiana is known for its multicultural population, its culture, and events such as Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It is also known for its well-established fishing economy and ports on the Gulf of Mexico.

Louisiana has 30 ports on the Gulf Coast, the most popular are New Orleans, Plaquemines Parish, and Port Fourchon. The Louisiana coastline is 397 miles long, 7,721 miles with the tidal pools.

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Mississippi

United States and the State of Mississippi, Satellite Image With Bump Effect
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Mississippi (map) is a state located in the southeastern United States with an area of 48,430 square miles (125,443 sq km) and a 2008 population of 2,938,618. Its largest cities are Jackson, Gulfport, and Biloxi. Mississippi is bordered by Louisiana and Arkansas to the west, Tennessee to the north and Alabama to the east. Most of the state is forested and undeveloped aside from the Mississippi River delta and the Gulf coast area. Like Alabama, only a small portion of its coastline is on the Gulf of Mexico but the area is popular for tourism.

Mississippi's coastline is 44 miles long (359 miles with the tidal pools), and of its sixteen ports, the most popular are Port Bienville, Greenville, Yellow Creek, and Biloxi.

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Texas

United States and the State of Texas, Satellite Image With Bump Effect
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Texas (map) is a state located on the Gulf of Mexico and it is the second largest of the contiguous states based on both area and population. The area of Texas is 268,820 square miles (696,241 sq km) and the state's 2009 population was 24,782,302. Texas is bordered by the U.S. states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana as well as by the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico. Texas is known for its oil-based economy but its Gulf Coast areas are quickly growing and are some of the most important areas for the state.

The Texas coastline is 367 miles long, 3,359 miles counting the tidal pools, and 23 ports.The most popular are Brownsville, Galveston, Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, Houston and Texas City.