The total area of the United States is massive, spanning over 3.5 million square miles. With 50 states and numerous territories, the U.S. covers a wide variety of landscapes and climates.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The total area of the United States including Alaska and Hawaii is around 3,796,742 square miles.
In this comprehensive article, we will break down the area of each state and territory that makes up the full extent of U.S. land holdings. We will look at the continental states, Alaska, Hawaii, as well as territories like Puerto Rico and Guam. By the end, you’ll have a complete picture of just how big the United States really is.
Continental United States
The continental United States refers to the area that includes the 48 contiguous states and excludes Alaska and Hawaii. It spans from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west. Let’s explore some interesting facts about the continental United States.
Total Area: 2,959,064 square miles
The total area of the continental United States is an impressive 2,959,064 square miles. This includes all the land and water within the 48 contiguous states. To put this into perspective, it is about 1.5 times the size of India and over 70 times the size of the United Kingdom. It’s no wonder that the continental United States is one of the largest countries in the world.
48 Contiguous States
The continental United States is made up of 48 states that are all connected to each other, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. These states are located within North America and are bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. They offer diverse landscapes, ranging from the stunning Rocky Mountains in Colorado to the vibrant beaches of Florida.
Land Area vs Water Area
When it comes to land area, the continental United States covers approximately 2,963,143 square miles. This includes vast plains, mountain ranges, deserts, and forests. However, it’s important to note that the water area is also significant. With numerous rivers, lakes, and coastal regions, the water area of the continental United States is approximately 5,921 square miles. This includes large bodies of water such as the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.
Largest and Smallest Continental States
Within the continental United States, there is a significant difference in the size of the states. The largest state in terms of land area is Alaska, which is not part of the contiguous states. However, within the 48 contiguous states, the largest state is Texas, covering approximately 268,596 square miles. On the other hand, the smallest state in the continental United States is Rhode Island, with an area of just 1,034 square miles. Despite its small size, Rhode Island is known for its rich history and beautiful coastal scenery.
For more information on the continental United States, you can visit the official website of the United States Geological Survey at www.usgs.gov. They provide detailed maps, scientific data, and other resources that can help you explore the area further.
Alaska, the largest state in the United States, is an awe-inspiring land of natural beauty and vast wilderness. With a total area of 663,268 square miles, it accounts for more than twice the landmass of the next largest state, Texas.
Total Area: 663,268 square miles
When it comes to sheer size, Alaska holds the crown. This massive state stretches across 663,268 square miles, making it larger than the combined area of the next three largest states – Texas, California, and Montana. To put it into perspective, if Alaska were a standalone country, it would be the 19th largest country in the world, surpassing nations like Saudi Arabia and Argentina.
Alaska is known for its breathtaking landscapes and untouched wilderness. From towering mountains and glaciers to expansive forests and pristine lakes, this state is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The renowned Denali National Park and Preserve, home to the highest peak in North America, Mount Denali, offers visitors a chance to witness the beauty of Alaska’s wilderness up close.
Alaska’s strategic location at the crossroads of the Arctic, North America, and the Pacific Ocean plays a crucial role in various aspects. It serves as a gateway to the Arctic region and serves as a vital transportation hub for trade and commerce. The state is also home to several military bases, including the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, contributing to national defense and security.
Abundant Natural Resources
One of Alaska’s greatest assets is its abundance of natural resources. The state is rich in minerals, including gold, silver, and copper. It is also a major producer of oil and natural gas, accounting for a significant portion of the United States’ domestic energy production. The fishing industry is thriving in Alaska, with its waters teeming with salmon, halibut, and other valuable species.
For more information on Alaska’s geography, history, and attractions, you can visit the official website of the State of Alaska at https://alaska.gov/.
When talking about the area of the United States including Alaska and Hawaii, it is impossible to ignore the unique and beautiful state of Hawaii. Situated in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is a collection of islands known for its stunning landscapes, diverse culture, and warm hospitality. Let’s take a closer look at what makes Hawaii such a special part of the United States.
Total Area: 10,931 square miles
Hawaii may be the smallest state in terms of land area, but it certainly doesn’t lack in natural beauty. The total area of Hawaii is approximately 10,931 square miles, which includes the eight main islands: Hawaii (also known as the Big Island), Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe. Each island offers its own unique experiences and attractions, from the stunning beaches of Waikiki in Oahu to the lush rainforests of Hana in Maui.
The Hawaiian Islands are not only known for their beauty but also for their fascinating geography. These islands were formed through volcanic activity millions of years ago, and their diverse landscapes bear witness to this fiery past. From the active Kilauea volcano on the Big Island to the towering sea cliffs of Molokai’s Kalaupapa Peninsula, Hawaii’s geography is a testament to the powerful forces that shaped the islands over time.
Hawaii’s volcanic origins are a significant part of its identity. The islands were formed by a series of volcanic eruptions, with the oldest islands being towards the northwest and the youngest towards the southeast. The Big Island is home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world, including Kilauea and Mauna Loa. These volcanoes continue to shape the landscape with ongoing eruptions and lava flows, creating new land and adding to the island’s area.
One of the things that make Hawaii a popular tourist destination is its tropical climate. The islands enjoy warm temperatures year-round, with average highs ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit. The trade winds that blow across the islands provide a pleasant breeze, making the weather even more enjoyable. Hawaii’s climate, combined with its stunning beaches and lush vegetation, creates the perfect environment for outdoor activities such as surfing, hiking, and snorkeling.
For more information about Hawaii and its unique features, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii Tourism Authority: https://www.gohawaii.com/.
American Samoa is a small group of islands located in the South Pacific Ocean. It is an unincorporated territory of the United States, meaning that it is under U.S. sovereignty but is not fully incorporated into the country. American Samoa has a unique political status and enjoys a certain level of self-governance. The territory is known for its stunning natural beauty, with lush forests, pristine beaches, and vibrant coral reefs. American Samoa also has a rich cultural heritage, with strong ties to Polynesian traditions and customs.
Guam is an island territory in the western Pacific Ocean. It is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands and has been a U.S. territory since 1898. Guam is an important strategic location for the U.S. military, with several military bases located on the island. The territory is also a popular tourist destination, known for its beautiful beaches, diverse marine life, and rich history. Guam has a unique blend of Chamorro, Filipino, and American cultures, creating a vibrant and diverse community.
Northern Mariana Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands are a group of 14 islands located in the western Pacific Ocean. Like Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands are part of the Mariana Islands chain and have been a U.S. territory since 1986. The islands are known for their stunning natural landscapes, including pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and volcanic craters. The Northern Mariana Islands also have a fascinating history, with evidence of human habitation dating back thousands of years. The islands have a unique political status, with a government that is separate from the U.S. federal government but still under U.S. sovereignty.
Puerto Rico is an island territory in the Caribbean Sea. It has been a U.S. territory since 1898 and is an unincorporated territory, similar to American Samoa. Puerto Rico has a rich history and culture, with influences from Spanish, African, and Indigenous Taíno cultures. The territory is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant music and dance traditions, and delicious cuisine. Puerto Rico also faces unique challenges, including economic struggles and the ongoing debate about its political status. Some Puerto Ricans advocate for statehood, while others prefer to maintain the territory’s current status or seek independence.
U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands are a group of islands located in the Caribbean Sea. They have been a U.S. territory since 1917 and are also unincorporated territories. The islands are known for their stunning natural beauty, with pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical landscapes. The U.S. Virgin Islands are a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world with their vibrant culture, rich history, and warm hospitality. The territory is made up of three main islands – St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix – each with its own unique charm and attractions.
From the beaches of Hawaii to the tundra of Alaska, the United States covers an incredibly diverse landscape. Across over 3.7 million square miles, there are tropical islands, dense forests, expansive deserts, and frozen mountain peaks.
While the continental U.S. makes up the bulk of the country’s land area, Alaska and Hawaii add their own unique geographic character. The territories stretch America’s reach across the Pacific and Caribbean.
Now that you know the full extent of U.S. territory, you can appreciate just how vast this country really is. From tropical to tundra and sea to shining sea, the United States contains multitudes within its massive borders.