The contiguous United States (called conus by US military personnel) or the "Lower 48" (the 48 states other than Alaska and Hawaii) is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, with much of the population living on the two coasts.Its land borders are shared with Canada to the north, and Mexico to the south.The Rockies are, on average, the highest in North America, extending from Alaska to New Mexico, with many areas protected as national parks.Due to the vast distances involved, travelling between regions often means crossing through many different landscapes, climates, and even time zones.Such travel can often be time-consuming and expensive, but often very rewarding.The United States of America is a large country in North America, often referred to as the "USA", the "US", the "United States", "America", or simply "the States".Home to the world's third-largest population, with over 318 million people, it includes both densely populated cities with sprawling suburbs and vast, uninhabited natural areas.
The United States is not the America of television and the movies.It is large, complex, and diverse, with several distinct regional identities.With its history of mass immigration dating from the 17th century, it is a "melting pot" of cultures from around the world and plays a dominant role in the world's cultural landscape.It's famous for its wide array of popular tourist destinations, ranging from the skyscrapers of Manhattan and Chicago, to the natural wonders of Yellowstone and Alaska, to the warm, sunny beaches of Florida, Hawaii and Southern California.
The US also shares maritime borders with Russia, Cuba, and the Bahamas.
If counting the Insular Areas and Minor Outlying Islands, the United Kingdom, Samoa, and Haiti would also share maritime borders. The Appalachians extend from Canada to the state of Alabama, a few hundred miles west of the Atlantic Ocean.