Listen up! U.S. Geo-oddity border anomalies class is now in session.

In case you remember my little writeup on states sharing an island border, well, consider this somewhat of a followup.

OK – pop quiz time. There are three pairs of two states that each share a water border, but no land border (including bridges!), between them. Can you name them? (Answer after the jump)

1) Rhode Island-New York

Yes – Rhode Island, separated by the length of Connecticut from New York, shares a maritime border with the Empire State. No joke! Long Island stretches far enough into the ocean that only 14 miles separate Montauk Point from the coast of Block Island.

I discovered this craziness a week ago when I walked along the west coast of Block Island. I spotted the radar from the infamous Camp Hero on Long Island (yes, that’s the picture above). It was barely noticeable in the distance, but my camera zoom helped to hone in on the UFO-esque object in the distance. I spotted New York from Rhode Island, a route that – without a ferry (until you get to the Rhode Island shore) would take 285 miles to drive on-land.

It is possible to cross this border without a private boat. The seasonal Montauk-Block Island ferry runs in the summers.

2) Minnesota-Michigan

This one also surprised me as both states are separated by Wisconsin. However, Isle Royale National Park is a mere 15 miles away from the Northern Minnesota shoreline. A May-September ferry crossing from Grand Portage, MN allows you to make this curious little Great Lakes border crossing with ease, and to mark one of the lesser-visited National Parks off your list.

3) Missouri-Kentucky

This was brought up by a fellow reader awhile back and is worth mentioning again here. Missouri and Kentucky are separated by a swath of the Mississippi River and there are no official bridges or roads connecting the two states – or at least not by intent.

One can quite easily cross a couple bridges and zoom through the southernmost tip of Illinois – but that would still be utilizing at least a mile of Illinois water and land.

Meandering in the Mississippi has put some Kentucky land on the old Missouri side of the river. A quick look on Google shows some plots of farmland being affected and a couple dirt roads leading to and from the area. This makes a land crossing over the border technically feasible and eliminates the states as sharing only a water border.

The old school way to crossing this border is to take the ferry from Dorena, MO to Hickman, KY.

USA and Canada? 

The U.S. has two states that share water with Canada – those being Ohio and Pennsylvania. In fact, Ohio’s Bass Islands come quite close to Canada’s southernmost points, Pelee Island and Middle Island (this leads to another another odd fact – parts of Ohio go further north than Pelee Island and the extreme southern point of Point Pelee National Park). One can even take a ferry from Sandusky, Ohio to Pelee Island.

I’m not aware of any ferry service that runs from Pennsylvania to Canada (and specifically crosses the border between the state and country – an Erie-Niagara Falls line may not count). Feel free to enlighten me if there is one.

3 thoughts on “SEPARATED BY WATER

  1. It’s amazing how much you can stare at a map and not see certain things. You are right, Illinois and Michigan do share a chunk of Lake Michigan – with the Illinois-Indiana-Michigan tripoint (how weird does that sound?) hidden in that body of water somewhere…

    Completely forgot about Russia and Alaska, especially in regards to the Diomede Islands, St. Lawrence Island and Attu Island – all very close to Russian territory (especially Little Diomede, of course).

  2. Even closer: Napatree Point Conservation Area (Watch Hill, RI) to Fisher’s Island (NY) is just over two miles.
    RI/CT/NY come together in the water between them.
    (recent discussion on “Grew Up In Rhode Island” Facebook Group)

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