The Longest Coastline in the 48 Contiguous United States
Florida – a factory of warmth, water, and sand. To the upper 47 the beach is synonymous with Florida, which has nearly 2000 miles of oceanic and gulf coastline. Alaska has the most coastlines of all US states, but Florida outmuscles all others in the contiguous US. Florida has built its vacation destination reputation literally on the beach, yet less than a third of Florida’s coastline are beaches.
Tourists instinctively succumb to the lure of carpets of white sugar sand, dotted with bodies of infinite shape covered in clothing of equally varied appropriateness. Tidal marshes and mangrove swamps offer little appeal to pasty out of towners who imagine they will return home looking like a bronzed Adonis in flip flop Crocs.
With names like The Emerald Coast, The Treasure Coast, and the Gold Coast who can deny locales like Mexico Beach, New Smyrna, and Venice their exotic charm? In addition to miles of sugar sand and shells, The Sunshine State boasts mangrove swamps, coquina formations, generous bluffs, pine flat estuaries, and tidal lagoons. Florida is a land on the edge.
Florida’s peninsular shape, dangling into the Caribbean, simultaneously offers opportunity and limitation. Florida is alpha and omega, beginning and end, finite infinity. Tampa, Miami, Key West and points between are the furthest you can be driven from past mistakes. But Florida is not the end of the line. Residents and visitors are surrounded by thousand of shoreline miles of infinite possibility. Over the undulating blue horizon there is the chance for fortune, passion, fame, or anonymity.
Where the land meets the sea, memory is fleeting. The lapping and crashing of every wave exchanges flotsam and jetsam. Sands shift, impressions wash away. Northern transplants are often escaping from bad choices. Retirees chase perpetual warmth and leisure as far as their Buicks will take them. The misunderstood can find redemption and reinvention of self. Living on the edge of uncertainty enables Floridians to re-characterize themselves like a sand bar in a storm. Florida is lassoed by undulating tidal uncertainty. Her coastal boundary cannot be conclusively mapped and recorded. Come to Florida, shift your assets, deemphasize your shortcomings, and become who you meant to be all those years ago. That salty seadog sipping a Cuba Libre next to you at the Leaky Tiki Shack will play along. The quirky couple living aboard the Why Knot at the city marina has as many secrets as you. The former Boston mergers and acquisitions attorney that now runs the Cupcake Corner understands the need to divest and diversify. In Florida, all things successful and ruinous are possible, probable, and temporary. And there in lies the value of the longest coastline.