Geography of Florida’s Coast

Old  Florida MapMiles of Florida Coast: 8,436

The area between the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean is a coastal plain – an area of flat, low-lying land adjacent to a seacoast.  Elevation ranges from a few feet to approximately 12 feet.  Much of the inland landscapes is dominated by tall pines and saw palmettos.  The shores are typically covered with low lying vegetation including sea oats which are protected by law.

The St Johns River

The St. Johns River is the longest river entirely in within Florida, measuring 285 miles in length.  The river forms a divide, of sorts, for the city of Jacksonville making crossing the river a chore if it’s part of the work commute.  The St. Johns River is lined with stately Live Oaks draped with Spanish Moss giving the distinct impression that this area is a present day picture of the “Old South.”

Coastal Florida Climate

The climate is humid subtropical north of Lake Okeechobee and tropical in southern Florida.  What this means to residents and vistors alike is that is hot and humid all summer.  Hurricanes and tropical storms pass through dumping many inches of water at a time which is essential to the waterways and vegetation.  During the winter months; especially, January and February the temperatures are cold and the winds increase resulting in uncomfortable wind chills.

Intracoastal Waterway

The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, extends from Norfolk VA through Key West, FL for approximately 1200 miles.  The Waterway was authorized in the 1939 Rivers and Harbors Act and the US Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for its maintenance. The barrier islands; located between the Intracoastal and the Atlantic Ocean are prone to erosion and the coastline is constantly subtlely changing.

Jacksonville Metro Area

The largest metro area in the region is Jacksonville; which includes the vast majority of Duval County, excluding on small towns of the Beaches area and Baldwin.  In many ways Jacksonville is a typical metro area with some corporate headquarters and many small buisnesses located in the area.  The region is also home to St. Augustine – the nation’s oldest city and some of the finest small communities in coastal Florida.