How Many Miles Is It Across The US: East To West, Coast to Coast
When measured horizontally from the eastern seaboard to the west coast (West Quoddy Head in the east to Point Arena in the west), the United States is 2,800 miles long and 1,582 miles wide.
Only Russia, Canada, and China have a larger land area than the United States. The horizontal distance between Russia’s eastern and western borders is about 6,200 miles. From Cape Spear in the east to the Yukon border in the west, Canada spans 3,426 miles.
The short answer is, it depends. Now let’s talk about the longer answer.
In terms of total land area, the United States ranks third in the world, trailing only Russia and Canada. Of course, Hawaii and the vast state of Alaska are included in this assessment. If the contiguous 48 states alone represented the entire US territory, the country would fall to fifth place, with China and Brazil surpassing it.
Distances across the United States vary greatly depending on the measuring points used. Here are the distances across the country measured from a few key locations.
West Quoddy Head, Maine, is the easternmost point in the contiguous 48 states, despite its ironic “West” name. The distance from West Quoddy Head along the parallel to the Pacific coast in Washington State is 2,742 miles, representing the furthest east-to-west distance in the lower 48 states. The driving distance is about 3,600 miles if you remain on U.S. roads. You could shave about 300 miles off the drive by traveling through both the U.S. and Canada.
The shortest distance between coasts in the contiguous United States is over 650 miles shorter. The shortest distance between the coasts is twelve miles south of San Diego, California, in the west to ten miles south of Brunswick, Georgia, in the east. The distance between those two points is 2,089 miles. The driving distance is approximately 2,400 miles.
The furthest distance between two points not measured along a parallel in the lower 48 states is from West Quoddy Head in Maine and Point Arena, California. 2,892 miles separate those two points.
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To summarise how to measure US length, we have created the table below:
East-to-West (Lower 48 States)
Shortest Coast-to-Coast (Lower 48 States)
Furthest Points (Lower 48 States)
West Quoddy Head to Cape Wrangell, Alaska
West Quoddy Head to Kure Atoll, Hawaii
Log Point, Florida to Kure Atoll, Hawaii
East Point, St. Croix to Cape Wrangell, Alaska
West Quoddy Head to Orote Point, Guam
East Point, St. Croix to Orote Point, Guam
Depending on your route the coast-to-coast drive across America ranges in distance from approximately 2 500 to 3 500 miles.
This route is 2 671 miles long and runs along Route 80. Route 50 (the Backbone of America) is the longest route, covering approximately 3 527 miles. It will take you from Point Arena in California (172 miles from Sacramento) to West Quoddy Head in Maine.
Driving from coast to coast takes about 45 hours, or six 8-hour days. You must decide whether to take one of four coast-to-coast interstates or to travel the country as the old-timers did on US highways. If you have three months, you can even visit all 48 continental states.
The greatest distance (linear distance) between any two mainland points in the contiguous 48 states is 2 892 miles (4 654 km) from Point Arena, California to West Quoddy Head, Maine. The greatest east-west distance in US territory is 5 823 miles (9 371 km) between Kure Atoll in Hawaii and Riviera Beach in Florida.
Alaska is approximately 2,700 miles wide, making it the longest state from west to east. It’s also the largest state from north to south and in every other way. If Alaska were a sovereign nation, it would be the world’s 18th largest.
From west to east, Rhode Island is the shortest state in the United States. This 37-mile-wide state is the smallest in the United States. The width of Alaska would be equaled by 73 Rhode Islands laid side by side.
The United States is the third largest country in the world in terms of total land area, behind only Russia and Canada. The furthest east-to-west distance in the lower 48 states is 2,742 miles from West Quoddy Head, Maine to the Pacific coast in Washington State.
Now ending up here, have you found the correct answer to the question “How many miles is the US”?
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