Florida Geography: Florida Regions and Landforms (2022)

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Geography and Landforms of Florida

Find an overview of Florida geography, topography, geographic land regions, land areas, and major rivers.

(Video) A Guide to the Regions of Florida

Access Florida almanac, furnishing more details on the state geography, geographical and land regions, climate and weather, elevation, land areas, bordering states, and other statistical data.

Florida is 22nd largest of the 50 states, but contains 11,761 square miles covered by water, making it the 3rd "wettest" state behind Alaska and Michigan. Major rivers include the St. Johns, the St. Mary's and the Suwannee River, and major lakes are Lake Okeechobee and Lake George.

Florida is made up of four geographic land areas:

(Video) Florida's Physical Geography

  1. The Atlantic Coastal Plain, which stretches from Cape Cod, Massachusetts south and around the Florida Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico.
  2. The East Gulf Coastal Plain, a sub-section of the Atlantic Plain, like the Atlantic Coastal Plain, presents itself in two sections of Florida.
  3. Florida Uplands - The Florida Uplands running about 275 miles west to east, along the northern edge of the Florida Panhandle and then extends south into the central area of the Florida peninsula.

Florida Highest, Lowest, & Mean Elevations

Mean Elevation 100 ft.
Highest Point Sec. 30, T6N, R20W, Walton County 4
345 ft
Lowest Point Atlantic Ocean
Sea level

Florida Land Area (Square Miles)

Geographic Center In Hernando County, 12 mi. NNW of Brooksville
Longitude: 81?#8218;° 37.9'W
Latitude: 28?#8218;° 8.0'N
Total Area 65,754.59 sq. mi.
22nd
Land Area 53,926.82 sq. mi.
82.02%
Water Area 11,827.77 sq. mi.
17.98%
Forested Land Area 47%
Dimensions
(Length - Width)
500 miles - 160 miles

Most of Florida is low-lying plains. The northwestern regions are higher in elevation than the rest of the state.The landscape of Florida comprises four geographical land areas:

  1. the Atlantic Coastal Plain,
  2. the East Gulf Coastal Plain
  3. South Atlantic Coastal Plain
  4. and the Florida Uplands.

The Atlantic Coastal Plain

This Plain stretches from Cape Cod, Massachusetts south and around the Florida Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico. A part of the Atlantic Plain, the Atlantic Coastal Plain completely covers the entire eastern part of Florida. The landscape is low and level and varies from about 30 to 90 miles wide. Off the mainland is a narrow strip of sand bars, coral reefs and barrier islands. Most of southern Florida, 2,746 square miles, is covered by the Big Cypress Swamp and the Florida Everglades. This area is saturated with water, especially during the rainy months. To the south of the mainland, lie the Florida Keys curving out to sea about 150 miles in a southwesterly direction. The largest island of this chain of islands is Key Largo.

The South Atlantic Coastal Plain covers northeastern Florida, the southern half of Georgia and the eastern halves of South Carolina and North Carolina. Its western boundary is the fall line that marks the beginning of the hilly Piedmont and its eastern boundary is the Atlantic Ocean. As part of a continuous Coastal Plain that extends from New York to Texas, it has arbitrary boundaries at the Alabama-Georgia border and at the North Carolina-Virginia border, extending into the southeast corner of Virginia only to capture the very Southeastern Great Dismal Swamp. The southeastern boundary marks a broad transitional zone into Peninsular Florida. The Atlantic coast is lined with barrier islands that support sand dune and maritime forest habitats and are backed by marshland. Estuaries are less saline marsh nearest the coast, and river valleys become increasingly wooded farther inland, supporting significant areas of bottomland hardwood forest. Pocosins and Carolina bays are non-alluvial forested wetlands unique to this physiographic area. Uplands were historically dominated by fire-maintained pine forests, with longleaf nearer the coast and on sandy soils inland and a mixture of shortleaf, loblolly, and hardwoods elsewhere.

(Video) Geologic History of Florida (Sedimentary Rocks & Processes)

East Gulf Coastal Plain

The East Gulf Coastal Plain extends from the Florida Parishes of Louisiana over most of Mississippi, some of western Tennessee and Kentucky, the southwestern 2/3 of Alabama, and the western panhandle of Florida. Its southern boundary is the Gulf of Mexico and its western boundary the drop into the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. On the north it extends to the highlands of the Interior Low Plateaus and southern Appalachians. To the east, there is an arbitrary break with the South Atlantic Coastal Plain at the Alabama-Georgia border south through Florida along the Apalachicola River. The flat to rolling topography is broken by numerous streams and river bottoms. Uplands are dominated by pine, originally longleaf and slash in the south and shortleaf mixed with hardwoods in the north. These are fire-maintained systems that give way to loblolly pine and hardwoods in damper areas and bottomland hardwood forest in extensive lowland drainages.

The East Gulf Coastal Plain, a sub-section of the Atlantic Plain, like the Atlantic Coastal Plain, presents itself in two sections of Florida. The sections are divided by a portion of the Florida Uplands. In southwestern Florida, the East Gulf Coastal Plain extends inland to cover parts of the Big Cypress Swamp and the Everglades. The East Gulf Coastal Plain is similar to the Atlantic Coastal Plain on the other side of the Florida peninsula. Barrier islands run along the west coast of Florida and coastal swampland extends inland. The northern section of the East Gulf Coastal Plain curves around the upper edge of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico at Apalachee Bay and extends west across the Florida panhandle to Florida's western border.

Florida Uplands

The Florida Uplands run about 275 miles west to east, along the northern edge of the Florida Panhandle and then extends south into the central area of the Florida peninsula. The width of the northern Florida Uplands varies from around 30 to 50 miles and is characterized by low rolling hills of red clay. Hard and softwood forests are plentiful. The section of the Florida Uplands that extends south into the peninsula, covers an area about 100 miles wide and 160 miles long. This area extends from the north, south and to the east, to separate the two sections of the East Gulf Coastal Plain and to separate the East Gulf Coastal Plain from the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The landscape in the southern Florida Uplands is characterized by low hills and many lakes. Though the Florida Uplands are only 200-300 feet above sea level, they are still higher than the regions of the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the East Gulf Coastal Plain. The highest point in Florida is found in the Florida Uplands that run along the northern edge of the panhandle. Just south of the Alabama border, west of Paxton, Britton Hill is 345 feet above sea level and is the lowest state high point in the nation.

(Video) The ABSURD Rise Of The Florida Megalopolis

Florida Landscape and Landforms:

Subtropical Florida

This physiographic area is entirely contained within Florida, and extends from the northern edge of Lake Okeechobee south through the Florida Keys. The region has very little topographic relief, but slight changes in elevation have important consequences for vegetation and the diversity of habitat types. The highest points of elevation are less than 2 meters and correspond with fairly recent shorelines (less than 5,000 years before present). Underlying sediments consist of freshwater marl, peat, freshwater lake and marine sediments, and to a lesser extent, sand deposited during the Pleistocene and Holocene.

The subtropical Florida region can be divided into four smaller sub-regions: 1) the Everglades, 2) Big Cypress, 3) Miami Ridge and Atlantic Coastal Strip, and 4) Southern Coasts and Islands. The Everglades is the most extensive of these areas, followed by the Big Cypress, Miami Ridge and Southern Coasts. Across all subregions, much of the physical and ecological characteristics of the region resemble tropical ecosystems where seasonal changes are reflected by changing rainfall patterns rather than by dramatic temperature changes. Distinctive dry (winter/spring) and wet (summer) seasons occur annually, and the nesting cycles of many birds are tied to these changes.

(Video) Landforms and Florida

At least two major forms of disturbance play key roles in the ecology of the region. Fire is an important feature in many pine dominated communities and many marsh and prairie communities. Frequent fires are essential in pine-dominated stands and prairies if understory conditions suitable to many nesting birds are to be maintained. However, the ideal fire frequency in some pine communities is not known. Hurricanes are a second form of disturbance that less frequently but predictably provide early successional habitats or open forest cover.

Peninsular Florida

This physiographic area is entirely contained within Florida. The area extends from the northern edge of Lake Okeechobee north to the Coastal Plain transitional zone around the Suwanee River in northern Florida. Most of the area is xeric upland on the Central Florida ridge. Habitats there include sandhill, scrub, and xeric hammock communities. Sandhill communities are dependent on frequent fires, and are dominated by longleaf pine and/or turkey oak, with an understory of wiregrass. Scrub communities are temperate or subtropical, with a less frequent occurrence of fire. Dominant vegetation includes sand pine and/or scrub oak. Xeric hammocks are dominated by live oak, sand live oak, laurel oak, and other oaks, with an understory of sparkleberry and saw palmetto. Other upland communities include mesic uplands, dominated by upland hardwoods or mixed hardwood pine forests. Wetlands and mangroves are also locally common to abundant in the physiographic area. Wetlands can include wet flatwoods, wet prairie, and hydric hammocks, as well as floodplain bottomland hardwood forests. Coastal uplands, such as beach dune, coastal berm, coastal grassland, and maritime hammock, are influenced by erosion, deposition, salt spray, and storms.

FAQs

What are Florida's main landforms regions? ›

Geography and Landforms in Florida

Essentially, there are four main regions which are each home to specific landforms, flora and fauna. These are the upland (hilly area), the Everglades (swamp and wetland), the Florida Keys (an archipelago of over 1,500 islands) and the Gulf Coast (coastal plains).

What are Florida's regions and its geography? ›

As observed on the map, Florida's land is divided into four main regions: The Gulf Coast/Atlantic Ocean coastal plains, the upland (hilly area) of the north and northwest, the swampy Everglades of the far south, and the Florida Keys.
...
Key Facts.
Legal NameState of Florida
Capital CityTallahassee
2 more rows
25 Feb 2021

What are the 3 main regions of Florida? ›

The state can be broken up into four regions: The Panhandle region, Northeastern region, Central region, and South region.

What type of landform is the Florida Keys? ›

The Florida Keys are made of limestone

An aerial view of the Florida Keys. Image courtesy of NASA. The Florida Keys are a chain of limestone islands that extend from the southern tip of the Florida mainland southwest to the Dry Tortugas, a distance of approximately 220 miles.

What are the 4 regions of Florida? ›

Regions are (from northwest to northeast): Panhandle, Big Bend, West FL Peninsula, FL Keys, SE Coast, NE Coast.

What are the 6 regions of Florida? ›

There are six Department regions statewide: Northwest, Northeast, Central, SunCoast, Southeast and Southern.

How many regions of Florida are there? ›

Florida is broken up into 5 geographic regions, each with its own Project 10 Regional Transition Representative (RTR).

What is the geography of Florida like? ›

Most of Florida's land area is built on a large peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Because Florida is surrounded by water, much of it is low-lying and flat. Its highest point, Britton Hill, is only 345 feet (105 m) above sea level. This makes it the lowest high point of any U.S. state.

What are the 3 bodies of water that surround Florida? ›

Much of the state of Florida is situated on a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida. Spanning two time zones, it extends to the northwest into a panhandle along the northern Gulf of Mexico.

What type of landscape is Florida? ›

Florida is home to 45 terrestrial ecosystems that range from small islands of subtropical hammocks and rocklands to vast dry prairies, sandhills, scrubs, flatwoods and floodplain forests.

What is Florida's climate? ›

Florida is one of the warmest region in the United States with an average daily high temperature of 28 degrees centigrade. The climate is very warm with an annual average of 28 degrees, but has few truly tropical and sultry months. The number of hours of sunshine refers to the time when the sun is actually visible.

How was Florida formed? ›

The land we now call Florida began to form by a combination of volcanic activity and the deposit of marine sediments. It formed along northwest Africa about 530 million years ago. In earliest times, Florida was part of Gondwanaland, the super continent that later divided into Africa and South America.

Does Florida have mountains? ›

There are 238 named mountains in Florida. Britton Hill is the highest point. The most prominent mountain is Sugarloaf Mountain.

What are Florida's natural resources? ›

Resources mined in Florida include phosphate, limestone, dolomite, shell, heavy minerals, fuller's earth, peat, clay, gravel and sand. View a full-page map of all Florida Mines. The Mining and Mitigation Program also includes staff that do formal delineations of wetlands and other surface waters for mining projects.

What is Florida's state region? ›

Florida is a state located in the Southeastern region of the United States.

Where are rivers in Florida? ›

Florida
RiverCountyWatershed (HUC Code 8)
Econlockhatchee RiverSeminole, OrangeUpper St. Johns
Escambia RiverEscambia, Santa RosaEscambia
Estero RiverLeeBig Cypress Swamp
Fisheating CreekGlades, HighlandsWestern Okeechobee Inflow
44 more rows

What is Florida known for? ›

Florida is a popular vacation destination because of its warm climate and beautiful beaches. The Sunshine State is famous for its sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush vegetation. It is also home to many tourist attractions, such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.

How did Florida get its name? ›

Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who led the first European expedition to Florida in 1513, named the state in tribute to Spain's Easter celebration known as “Pascua Florida,” or Feast of Flowers.

What is Florida's highest point? ›

If you don't know about Britton Hill, Florida, you're probably not a mountain climber, and you're definitely not a highpointer. At 345 feet above mean sea level, Britton Hill is Florida's highest natural point – and the lowest "high point" in the United States. You can summit without a Sherpa.

Are there any rivers in Florida? ›

Florida Rivers Shown on the Map: Apalachicola River, Caloosahatchee River, Chipola River, Escambia River, Hillsboro Canal, Kissimmee River, Miami Canal, Ochlockonee River, Peace River, Santa Fe River, St. Johns River, St. Marys River, Suwannee River and Withlacoochee River.

How many cities are Florida? ›

Florida

How many lakes are in Florida? ›

Florida contains greater than 30,000 lakes that cover more than 3million acres of land. Florida has lakes that range from small to the nation's largest Lake Okeechobee, 448,000-acres of a lake within one state.

Is Florida hot or cold? ›

On average, Florida tends to maintain warm temperatures throughout the entire year with slightly lower temperatures during the winter months. Summers are long, warm and particularly humid, lasting from May to October. And the winters throughout the state are quite short and dry, lasting from December to February.

Why is Florida warm all year? ›

The state of Florida is a peninsula.

These waters take in a lot of heat from the sun, which warms the land it surrounds. Being surrounded by water on most sides gives Florida a lot of warmth, making it humid.

How old is Florida? ›

Florida became the twenty-seventh state in the United States on March 3, 1845.

How many beaches are in Florida? ›

The state of Florida has 360 miles of coastline where (at least) 189 official beaches are located.

What is Florida's tree? ›

The 1953 Florida legislature designated the sabal palm as the state tree, and the 1970 legislature mandated that the sabal palm should replace the cocoa palm on the state seal.

Which ocean is in FL? ›

Florida boasts beaches with crystal clear water, both on the Gulf of Mexico and on the Atlantic Ocean.

Is Florida a peninsula or island? ›

Most of the U.S. state of Florida is a peninsula that separates the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Peninsulas are found on every continent. In North America, the narrow peninsula of Baja California, in Mexico, separates the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, also called the Gulf of California.

What is the Florida peninsula called? ›

The Florida Panhandle (also West Florida and Northwest Florida) is the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Florida; it is a strip of land roughly 200 miles (320 km) long and 50 to 100 miles (80 to 161 km) wide, lying between Alabama on the north and the west, Georgia on the north, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south ...

Is Florida flat or hilly? ›

By any measure, Florida takes the prize for the flattest state in the nation because the highest point in the state is only 345 feet above sea level. Then Illinois, North Dakota, Louisiana, Minnesota and Delaware follow. Kansas merely ranks seventh in flatness.

How many bodies of water are in Florida? ›

Florida's freshwater fisheries comprise more than 7,500 lakes, ponds and reservoirs, and approximately 12,000 miles of fishable rivers, streams and canals—with no closed seasons.

Which factors affect Florida's climate? ›

The chief factors that govern Florida's climate are latitude, land and water distribution, prevailing winds, storms, pressure systems and ocean currents. Although no place in Florida is far from sea level, during the winter altitude can be a significant local factor in affecting temperature.

Does Florida get snow? ›

But contrary to some people's beliefs, snow in Florida is not as rare as you might think. It is possible in far northern sections of the Peninsula and the Florida Panhandle, the NWS said. But for most of the Peninsula, especially Central and South Florida, it is a sporadic event.

Does Florida have 4 seasons? ›

While most every other state has four seasons -- winter, spring, summer and fall -- the Sunshine State is broken up into only two seasons: wet and dry, according to News 6 meteorologist Candace Campos. Wet season in Florida usually begins in late May and dry season starts by mid October.

Does Florida get hot? ›

Summers throughout the state are long, very warm, and fairly humid; and, daily thunderstorms are the norm. Winters are mild with periodic invasions of cool to occasionally cold air. Coastal areas in all sections of Florida average slightly warmer temperatures in winter and cooler ones in summer.

Does fl have earthquakes? ›

Earthquakes. Florida is tied with North Dakota as having the fewest earthquakes of any US state. Because Florida is not located near any tectonic plate boundaries, earthquakes are very rare, but not totally unknown.

What are Florida rocks? ›

LIMESTONE: Various types of limestone underlie all of Florida, but in many parts of the state, the limestone is covered by the sand and clay that forms the land surface. Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed principally of the mineral calcite (CaCO3).

When was Florida last under water? ›

The last major sea level high stand was 4.5 to 2.5 million years ago, when Florida was submerged for the last time in geologic history. The next 2.5 million years are know as the Ice Age.

Does Florida have waterfalls? ›

Geology of Falling Waters State Park

Falling Waters State Park is the only place in Florida where visitors can see a 70-foot-tall waterfall!

Does Florida have forests? ›

The National Forests in Florida manage three national forests: the Apalachicola, Osceola and Ocala. Combined, these national forest lands span almost 1.2 million acres in north and central Florida.

Does Florida have deserts? ›

Surrounded by ocean, Florida is an oasis in the Northern Hemisphere “desert belt.” Located between the tropics and the mid-latitudes, the sub-tropical desert belt occurs where, on average, air is sinking from high altitudes back toward the surface. As air sinks, it tends to warm, and moisture evaporates.

Who was born in Florida? ›

Film and television
NameNotabilityConnection to Florida
Jonathan Jackson (1982–)ActorBorn in Orlando
Victoria Jackson (1959–)Film and television actressBorn in Miami
Carter Jenkins (1991–)Film and television actorBorn in Tampa
Sarah Jones (1983–)Film and television actressBorn in Winter Springs
99 more rows

What food is grown in Florida? ›

Florida's 47,400 farms and ranches utilize 9.7 million acres and continue to produce a wide variety of safe and dependable food products.
...
Vegetables, Melons and Berries
  • Tomatoes.
  • Strawberries.
  • Watermelons.
  • Sweet corn.
  • Potatoes.
  • Cucumbers.
  • Snap beans.
  • Blueberries.

Whats it like to live in Florida? ›

With more than 200 sunshine-filled days a year, Florida offers newcomers exceptionally warm and sunny weather. Despite the hot and humid summers, Florida seasons tend to be mostly mild and warm. Those living in the southern portion of the Sunshine State will likely never need more than a sweater during the winter.

What are 5 physical features of Florida? ›

The state's 1,200 miles of coastline, including estuaries, seagrass beds, mangrove swamps, and coral reefs, together with thousands of inland freshwater lakes, rivers, streams and springs, support numerous aquatic communities. Florida's current and historic coastlines also influence its geology.

What is Florida major bodies of water? ›

Other than its boundaries with Georgia and Alabama, Florida is completely surrounded by water. On the west coast, it's the Gulf of Mexico with several bays like Tampa Bay, Waccasassa Bay, and Florida Bay. Then on the east coast, it's the Atlantic Ocean with everything from beaches to Cape Canaveral.

What kind of biome is Florida? ›

Flooded Grasslands

The flooded grassland biome in the Everglades is North America's most extensive grassland. Plants filter out pollutants in water to bring cleaner water to Florida Keys, Florida Bay, and coral reefs. The biome is located on the southern tip of the Florida peninsula.

Are there plains in Florida? ›

If asking a geologist or oceanographer, Florida has three general geographic regions, all based on coastal plains that include a hilly, upland area with a dizzying height of 345 feet.

What is land like in Florida? ›

It's Low-Lying. Most of Florida's land area is built on a large peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Because Florida is surrounded by water, much of it is low-lying and flat. Its highest point, Britton Hill, is only 345 feet (105 m) above sea level.

Does Florida have mountains? ›

There are 238 named mountains in Florida. Britton Hill is the highest point. The most prominent mountain is Sugarloaf Mountain.

What are the 3 bodies of water that surround Florida? ›

Much of the state of Florida is situated on a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida. Spanning two time zones, it extends to the northwest into a panhandle along the northern Gulf of Mexico.

How many lakes are in Florida? ›

Florida's freshwater fisheries comprise more than 7,500 lakes, ponds and reservoirs, and approximately 12,000 miles of fishable rivers, streams and canals—with no closed seasons.

What is the climate in Florida? ›

Introduction. In much of Florida, the climate is sub-tropical, with mild winters (but subject to short cold spells) and hot, sunny summers. Summer, from June to September, is also muggy and with frequent thunderstorms.

How many rivers are in Florida? ›

As surface water moves over Florida's landscape, it drains into channels and forms a weblike network of nearly 1,700 rivers and streams that stretch across the state (Gazetteer of Florida Streams, 1966).

What kind of forests are in Florida? ›

Forests come in many different forms in Florida, ranging from broad and open to densely packed with vegetation. Hammock is a Florida term for a dense forest that is not a pine flatwoods, and can be made up of oaks, cabbage palms, or oaks with mixed hardwoods like holly, southern magnolia, and elm.

How many ecosystems are in Florida? ›

Florida has more than eighty distinct ecosystems, which are home to many different plant and animal species.

Why does Florida have so many animals? ›

Since water areas make up about 20% of Florida's total land area and there is almost no frost, this creates a favorable habitat for many animals. Thus, more than 50 endangered species call Florida home.

What is Florida made of? ›

Florida's landscape varies widely. Many of Florida s prominent features have resulted from karst, a landscape with a base layer of limestone. Because limestone is porous, freshwater gradually dissolves the rock and forms cracks and passages. The limestone layer of the state is honeycombed with underground rivers.

Why do landforms change over time? ›

The Earth's surface is constantly changing through forces in nature. The daily processes of precipitation, wind and land movement result in changes to landforms over a long period of time. Driving forces include erosion, volcanoes and earthquakes. People also contribute to changes in the appearance of land.

Where are rivers in Florida? ›

Florida
RiverCountyWatershed (HUC Code 8)
Econlockhatchee RiverSeminole, OrangeUpper St. Johns
Escambia RiverEscambia, Santa RosaEscambia
Estero RiverLeeBig Cypress Swamp
Fisheating CreekGlades, HighlandsWestern Okeechobee Inflow
44 more rows

Videos

1. Quick Geography Facts About Florida
(Geography Realm)
2. Facts About Florida for Kids | Geography for Kids
(Hey! Guess What)
3. Florida for Kids | US States Learning Video
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4. Exploring Landforms and Bodies of Water for Kids - FreeSchool
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5. What are the 6 regions of Florida?
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