The United States is the third largest country (in land area) in the world. The 48 contiguous states (sometimes called the Continental United States) are located in North America and bordered by Canada in the north, Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico in the South, the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east. Alaska is located to the west of Canada, and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, south-west of California. The United States has numerous territories including: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and United States Virgin Islands.

The highest point in the US is the summit of Mount McKinley in Alaska (elevation 20,320 feet), the lowest point is in Death Valley, California at 282 feet below sea level. The longest river is the Mississippi River (2,348 miles long). The largest freshwater lake is Lake Superior, one of the great lakes. The largest island is Hawaii.

The continental US is comprised of a vast central plain, and mountainous terrain in the west, with hills and low mountains in east. Alaska has tall mountain ranges interspersed with wide river valleys. Hawaii is a group of Islands formed by undersea volcanoes, the tallest of which (Mauna Loa) is approximately 56,000 feet in height from its base on the sea floor to its summit. Two of the largest mountain ranges in the continental US are the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians.

Elevation extremes ">Elevation extremes

lowest point: Death Valley -86 m
highest point: Mount McKinley 6,194 m

Geographic coordinates ">Geographic coordinates

38 00 N, 97 00 W