Pensacola (IPA: /ˌpɛnsəˈkoʊlə/) is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 51,923. Pensacola is the principal city of the Pensacola metropolitan area, which had an estimated 461,227 residents in 2012.
Pensacola is a sea port on Pensacola Bay, which connects to the Gulf of Mexico. A large United States Naval Air Station, the first in the United States, is located southwest of Pensacola (near the community of Warrington) and is home to the Blue Angels flight demonstration team and the National Naval Aviation Museum. The main campus of the University of West Florida is situated north of the city center.
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. It is bordered on the north by the states of Georgia and Alabama, and on the west, at the end of the panhandle, by Alabama. It is near The Bahamas and several Caribbean countries, particularly Cuba. Florida's extensive coastline made it a perceived target during World War II, so the government built airstrips throughout the state; today, approximately 400 airports are still in service. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, Florida has 131 public airports, and more than 700 private airports, airstrips, heliports, and seaplane bases. Florida is one of the largest states east of the Mississippi River, and only Alaska and Michigan are larger in water area.
At 345 feet (105 m) above mean sea level, Britton Hill in northern Walton County is the highest point in Florida and the lowest highpoint of any U.S. state. Much of the state south of Orlando is low-lying and fairly level; however, some places, such as Clearwater, feature vistas that rise 50 to 100 feet (15 to 30 m) above the water. Much of Central and North Florida, typically 25 miles (40 km) or more away from the coastline, features rolling hills with elevations ranging from 100 to 250 feet (30 to 76 m). The highest point in peninsular Florida, Sugarloaf Mountain, is a 312-foot (95 m) peak in Lake County. Much of Florida has an elevation of less than 12 feet (3.7 m), including many populated areas such as Miami which are located on the coast. Miami and other parts of south Florida are the most vulnerable regions in the world to rising sea levels associated with global warming.