In which ocean is Key West located?

Tourist Attractions

By Felicity Long

Locating Key West

When it comes to the location of Key West, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, many people can be confused. Key West is an island city, located at the southernmost point of the state of Florida. But in which ocean is Key West located? Understanding the geography of Key West and its surrounding oceans is essential to understanding this question.

Geographical Overview of Key West

Key West is a small island, only around four miles long and two miles wide. It is located at the end of the Florida Keys, a chain of islands connected by bridges from the mainland. Despite its small size, Key West is home to around 25,000 people and attracts millions of tourists every year. The island is known for its beautiful beaches, historic architecture, and vibrant culture.

Boundaries of Key West

In terms of boundaries, Key West is part of Monroe County and is located in the southernmost point of Florida. It is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the south, east, and west, and the Gulf of Mexico to the north. The island is also close to Cuba, which is only about 90 miles to the south.

Understanding Oceans and Seas

Before delving into Key West’s location in the ocean, it’s important to understand the difference between oceans and seas. Oceans are vast bodies of saltwater that cover more than 70% of the earth’s surface, while seas are smaller bodies of saltwater that are partially enclosed by land. The earth has five oceans – the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Southern, and Arctic – and several seas.

Overview of the Atlantic Ocean

Key West is located in the Atlantic Ocean, which is the second-largest ocean in the world, covering an area of around 106 million square kilometers. The Atlantic Ocean extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and borders North America, South America, Europe, and Africa. It is known for its strong currents, including the Gulf Stream, which flows along the eastern coast of the United States and the North Atlantic Drift, which brings warm water to Europe.

Latitude and Longitude of Key West

Key West is located at latitude 24.5551° N and longitude 81.7800° W. Latitude is the measurement of a location’s distance north or south of the equator, while longitude is the measurement of a location’s distance east or west of the prime meridian.

Key West’s Connection to the Caribbean Sea

Despite being located in the Atlantic Ocean, Key West is also closely connected to the Caribbean Sea. The Caribbean Sea is a subregion of the Atlantic Ocean that is bordered by Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands. The sea is known for its clear waters, coral reefs, and diverse marine life.

The Gulf of Mexico and Key West

Key West is also connected to the Gulf of Mexico, which is a smaller body of water located north of the island. The Gulf of Mexico is bordered by Mexico, the United States, and Cuba and is known for its oil reserves, fishing industry, and tourism.

Water Currents and Tides in Key West

Key West’s location in the Atlantic Ocean means that the island is affected by strong currents and tides. The Gulf Stream, which flows along the eastern coast of the United States, passes close to Key West and affects the island’s climate and marine life. The tides in Key West can vary, with high tides occurring twice a day and low tides occurring twice a day.

Marine Life in the Surrounding Ocean

The waters surrounding Key West are home to a wide variety of marine life, including sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, and tropical fish. The coral reefs in the area are also home to diverse ecosystems, and many tourists come to the island to participate in snorkeling and scuba diving activities.

Climate and Weather of Key West

Key West has a tropical climate, with warm temperatures all year round. The average temperature in Key West is around 77°F (25°C), and the island receives around 45 inches of rainfall per year. Hurricane season in Key West runs from June to November, and the island is occasionally affected by tropical storms and hurricanes.

Conclusion: Key West’s Atlantic Location

In conclusion, Key West is located in the Atlantic Ocean, but it is also closely connected to the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The island’s location affects its climate, marine life, and ecosystems, making it an important ecological hotspot. Understanding Key West’s location in the ocean is essential for anyone interested in exploring this beautiful island.

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Felicity Long

Felicity Long, a seasoned travel journalist with 15+ years of experience, specializes in exploring Europe, family travel, and skiing, as evident in her book "Great Escapes: New England" (The Countryman Press). She edits the Europe eNewsletter and contributes significantly to TravelAsker's destinations sections. Felicity has received esteemed awards, including the Cacique and Yo Leonardo Awards, in recognition of her outstanding international travel writing accomplishments.

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