Florida is located at the most southeastern point of the United States. It borders both Alabama and Georgia to the north. Florida is surrounded by the Atlantic ocean in the east, the Straits of Florida to the south and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. The Florida peninsula is known for having the largest coastline in the contiguous United States and with this coastline, Florida has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world driving a large part of the tourism industry in the state. The climate in Florida is sub-tropical and tropical in the southern areas. The temperature rarely drops below freezing in the winter and summers are hot and humid.
Much of Florida is low lying at or near sea level with an elevation less than 12 feet. The highest point is 345 feet above mean sea level at Britton Hill in Walton County. This location is actually very close to Florida's northern border, so it doesn't really represent the elevation of Florida. The Lake Wales Ridge is more representative of the elevation in Florida with a narrow sand ridge that runs north to south down the center of Florida. This ridge ranges in elevation from about 100 feet to 312 feet at Sugarloaf Mountain in Lake County. Florida also features vistas and sand dunes that run along the coastal regions. The south part of the Florida from Central Florida south, is the lower lying areas which includes the everglades and low lying marches and swamps. Miami and South Florida in general is vulnerable to rising sea levels.
The total area is 65,758 square miles with 12,133 square miles of that being water areas. Florida has a variety of geographical features including barrier islands, mangrove islands, marshes, hardwood hammocks, pineland and flatwoods.
Florida is surrounded by barrier islands that run parallel to the main coast. These long stretches of land are built up by sandy deposits and are separated by the mainland by a waterway.
Mangrove islands are very common off of the mainland in the Gulf of Mexico in Florida on the West Coast. The most notable is the Ten Thousand Islands in southwest Florida.
Part of the wetlands of Florida, swamps, salt marshes, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows are an important part of Florida's ecosystem.