The third state to average at 6.5, but with a bigger average on coastal mileage than either Maine or North Carolina. It comes 6th in the Method 1 list and 7th on the Method 2 list. Luscious beaches don’t really chime with the clichéd image of Texas as being hot and dusty, but it has 3,359 miles of them when you count areas like the Padre Island National Park. In many ways, Texas does things bigger and better than everywhere else, so it’s not really that surprising that it has extensive beaches as well as megacities and areas of open space that are bigger than some European countries. The climate at the southern tip of Texas is tropical, so a great spot for sunseekers!
One of the most famously coast-heavy states, it’s no surprise to find California near the top of the list. Coming 3rd and 5th in the two lists, it loses out to Louisiana once the coastal inlets are counted. But that’s not to the detriment of the 840 miles of coastline that are, for the most part, covered in golden sand and fringed by palm trees. The most famous beaches include Laguna Beach, in Orange County, and Venice Beach, known for its street artists and vendors as well as its sunny sands. Both have featured in a number of movies, thanks to Hollywood being a Los Angeles neighbor of theirs. Definitely a prime sunspot, with plenty of different beaches to choose from.
Edging out California in the list, Louisiana gains third place thanks to a weird twist of both math and geography, that sees 397 miles of coastline become 7,721 miles once its myriad bays are counted. Again, its coastline could rival Norway’s for complexity, especially around the Grand Isle State Park, which is backed by 6 or so bays. One of the most notable bays is Barataria Bay, now defined as an estuary of national significance because of its bird life and wetlands. To its east is the fascinating mouth of the Mississippi River, which carries on out to sea for miles after the rest of the land has given up. Only the thinnest slivers of land cling to the side of the mighty river as it makes its confident way into the Gulf of Mexico, although there is a road alongside it for a surprisingly long way (Tidewater Road goes right through Delta National Wildlife Refuge). An amazingly complex piece of coastland, compressed into a relatively small space.
An undisputed winner among the contiguous states, coming 2nd in both lists only behind Alaska. Florida is another state that is mostly coastline, thanks to its peninsular shape. It certainly lives up to its name as “The Sunshine State“, with temperatures regularly in the 90s and even hitting 109F on one occasion! But with the sunshine comes more turbulent weather, with tropical storms and thunder a frequent occurrence. It’s also the most lightning-prone state by far, so not one for those who are scared of extreme weather. You can blame the competing weather systems from either side of the peninsula – when they clash over the landmass, the results are somewhat dramatic.
But for those who have learnt to shelter from the oncoming storm, Florida is a popular retirement destination and its beaches are almost permanently packed with both tourists and residents. Its coastline stats are certainly impressive, with 1,350 miles of coastline using Method 1 and 8,436 miles using Method 2. It would be an out-and-out winner if it wasn’t for that rule-defying state at the top.
By which you might have discerned that Alaska is the clear winner of both methods when it comes to miles of coastline. Its stats are barely comparable with other states – 6,640 miles of coastline using Method 1 and a staggering 33,904 miles of coastline using Method 2. But don’t book your summer vacation there just yet – much of the coast is inhospitable and some is frozen over, with temperatures in the north rarely going above 0C. Its rocky, icy coastline is certainly dramatic in parts and there’s an impressive quantity of it, but you’d be hard pressed to find a sandy beach and the only ice-cream might well be the sort that you dig out of an ice floe yourself! But a definite winner on the “most coastline” stakes.