Our Ocean Reef Resorts guests come to the Gulf of Mexico every year to visit the dazzling Emerald Coast of Northwest Florida. In fact, literally generations of families have made it an annual tradition to come down for beach vacations as often as they can. Parents brought their kids here decades ago, and now the grandkids are arriving to experience the magic of white sugar beaches and glowing jewel-toned waters in our tropical paradise. Picture perfect coastal villages have been created here along with world-class gated resorts, almost a dozen gorgeous championship golf courses, loads of great restaurants, friendly beach bars, outstanding shopping venues, and a wide array of family amusements. Hence, besides the beautiful beach, there's lots to do! However, you or others who have not been here may be some questions about the Gulf itself, and here are some answers!
What is Unique about the Gulf of Mexico?
The Gulf of Mexico is the largest gulf on the entire planet! It borders the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas as well as the nations of Mexico and Cuba. The states form its eastern and northern border wrapping around to the west. Mexico hosts most of its western border while Cuba is towards the southeast. The Gulf coastline spans 1,680 linear miles across the US, making it the third-largest contiguous coast in the nation. It extends 1,394 linear miles in adjoining Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico is shaped basically as an oval. It is enormous, measuring 915 miles across from east to west at its widest point and encompasses an amazing 615,000 total square miles. It is noted for having a long chain of barrier islands that extend from the Florida coastline all the way over past Mississippi and the again from Houston to Brownsville, Texas, into Mexico. Barrier islands are one to five miles offshore, and the intracoastal canal uses the waters in between for ship navigation. The only parts of the Gulf that do not have barrier islands are marshy areas in Louisiana and parts of Mexico that have a rocky coast.
Read more: The 5 Largest Gulfs in the World
How deep is the Gulf of Mexico?
The average depth of the Gulf is approximately 5,200 feet deep. However, some other parts of the Gulf of Mexico are extremely deep. The deepest depths are located at what is called "Sigsbee Deep," which is located about 200 miles southeast of Brownsville, Texas, and is estimated to be between around 12,000 to over 14,000 feet below the surface.
Why is the Gulf of Mexico not an Ocean?
Oceans are large wide bodies of water and not encroached upon by land boundaries. The Gulf of Mexico is surrounded on three sides by land comprised mostly of the United States and Mexico. Cuba's island nation is towards the southeast, where the Gulf opens up into the Caribbean Sea and into the open Atlantic. There are only sixty-two gulfs located in the world. The four other largest gulfs in addition to the Gulf of Mexico include the following: The Gulf of Guinea off the Atlantic side of the African coast; The Alaskan Gulf bordering the Aleutian Island chain on the northern Pacific; the misnamed Hudson Bay, which is really a gulf in Canada and the Persian Gulf in the Middle East where most of the world's oil comes from.
Read more: Ocean vs. Gulf
What Marine life is found in the Gulf of Mexico?
There is an abundance of all kinds of marine life found in the Gulf of Mexico, including oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops. The largest creatures are whales, and there are eight different types that call the Gulf home, including the Blue, Bryde's, Fin, Killer, Minke, Humpback, Sperm, and Northern Right whales. There are also a number of wonderful dolphins that frolic in the Gulf here, including the Atlantic Spotted, Fraser's, Striped, Clymene, Pantropical Spotted, and Spinner dolphin. There are also West Indian Manatees and sea turtles. Green, Hawksbill, Kemps Ridley, Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles are found here. The cornucopia of bountiful fish is phenomenal and is what originally made Destin, Florida famous since it now boasts having the largest private charter fishing fleet in all of North America. These fish include Albacore Tuna, Amberjack, Cobia, Flounder, Grouper, King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Pompano, Red Fish, Sea Trout, Sheep Head, Snapper, Spanish Mackerel, Scamp, Shark, Tarpon, and Trigger Fish. There are also trophy fish, which include the classic Swordfish, large blue fan-finned Sailfish, giant Mako Sharks, and the cobalt colored Blue Marlin.
Read more: Can you see whales in Destin?
What is the Gulf of Mexico Known for?
The Gulf of Mexico is known as the place to go for great fishing, as a vacation destination, and oil production. Fortunately, oil rigs are not allowed off the Florida coast but can be found elsewhere over in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Primarily the Gulf of Mexico in our part of the world is noted for being a fantastic place to go for a family vacation on the Gulf or a great destination for a beach reunion among friends. This is especially true along Destin's Emerald Coast, although many people take advantage of the great fishing found here by chartering a boat to try their luck at deep-sea fishing in the Gulf. The white sugar beaches in this part of the Gulf extend from Pensacola Beach through Destin, Miramar Beach, the captivating picturesque coastal villages along Scenic 30A and Panama City Beach. These sugary shores are composed of powdery white quartz crystal sand, which was washed down to the Gulf during the last Ice Age and finely ground down through wave action over the eons of years. They have a stunning shimmering brilliance and cast an underwater reflection of sunlight through natural microscopic plankton that creates a luminescent glowing color of green jewels.
Read more: Why is the Sand so White in Destin?
Take a Gulf of Mexico Vacation!
Ocean Reef Resorts is proud to present hundreds of private vacation rental properties of all kinds here, ranging from cute cottages, to beachfront mansions, to luxury residential towers that overlook the spectacular seascape. Enjoy perusing here on our friendly state of the art website to see vibrant imagery of the area, aerial satellite views, detailed property descriptions, rental rates, and calendar dates showing availability. You'll be glad you did!