What is the state with the longest coastline?

I have lived in New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida – someone in each state has claimed that their state has the longest coastline along the Atlantic. Seriously – even,  New Jersey! Usually, the phrase, “Well, we have a lot of coves and bays that jig jag in and out of the coast” is always part of the conversation when I start to look skeptical.

I did some research and here is the low down on the general coastline bragging rights (not including tidal coastlines):

10. Massachusetts – 192 miles

9. Maine -228 miles

8. Oregon -296 miles

7. North Carolina -301 miles

6. Texas -367 miles

5. Louisiana -397 miles

4. Hawaii -750 miles

3. California – 840 miles

2. Florida – 1,350 miles

1. Alaska – 6,640 miles

(according to Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, “figures are lengths of general outline of seacoast. This does not include freshwater coastlines. Measurements are made with a unit measure of 30 minutes of latitude on charts as near scale of 1:1,200.000 as possible. Coastline of bays and sounds is included where they narrow to width of unit measure, and distance across at such point is included.“)

Do you have another great question? Check out www.beachchairscientist.com and let us know what you always ponder while digging your toes in the sand!

Comments

  1. you seem to have left out RI….
    “For a state that is only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long, it is notable that its shoreline on Narragansett Bay in the Atlantic Ocean runs for 400 miles. Indeed, one of Rhode Island’s nicknames is “the Ocean State.” ” (from http://www.netstate.com/states/intro/ri_intro.htm)

    might want to add that in there!!!!

  2. Rob, great point! This is a list of the general coastline, not including tidal shoreline. Maybe I will change the title.

    As you can see from the link below, Rhode Island is pretty far up there on the tidal shoreline list!
    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001801.html

    Here was my originally source link:
    http://www.infoplease.com/toptens/longestcoastlines.html

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You forgot Michigan, which by some measures has the longest coastline in the US next to Alaska (and the most lighthouses too). You didn’t say OCEAN coastline.

    • By definition the term coastline is used to describe the general outline of the seacoast. Michigan by far has the 2nd most freshwater shoreline than any other due to the Great Lakes.

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  5. Even if you take into consaideration the coastal islands Rhode Island does not come close. In fact if you take into considerartion the tital waters Rhode Island comes in at 22 and Virginia comes in 8th based on NOAA stats. If you include the great lakes Michigan comes in 9th.

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