Which is the nearest sea/ocean?

Want to take a swim in the ocean and just want to go to the nearest ocean? Well, this map will tell you which sea or ocean is closest to you and it might be a bit different than what you’d expected.


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Map showing the nearest sea or ocean in the United States.

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This map shows some surprising results. You would probably think that most of the US is either closest to the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. But this is not the case for all of the US. For most of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, the Hudson Bay in northern Canada is the closest sea. However, it is not the best sea to swim in, due to its low water temperature. Fortunately, the Great Lakes are not too far away for these states. Although not a sea, the Great Lakes are a great place to go for a swim.

Another interesting result, is the Gulf of California in Mexico. You probably didn’t think of that one. It turns out, that for most of three states (Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico), the Gulf of California and not the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico is the nearest sea. Even for a small part of South Dakota, the Gulf of California is the nearest sea, how crazy is that!

This map was made in QGIS, using the GADM coastline dataset. It’s one of the most detailed freely available files of the world’s coastlines out there. Making it a great choice for accurate calculations. I’ve made some small changes to the coastline here and there, after checking it with the satellite image.

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