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What country outside North America is closest to the United States?

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When thinking of the closest countries to the U.S., of course our minds go straight north to Canada or south to Mexico. This travel trivia question, however, goes further than that. I'm asking what country OUTSIDE North America is closest to the United States. Think you know the answer? Take a look at the options below, take a guess, and then scroll down for the answer and to learn more about some of America's neighboring nations.

Map of the United State in North America
Map of the United State in North America (Photo credit: Frankljunior,

Outside of North America, which country is closest to the U.S.?

a) Cuba
b) French Polynesia
c) Colombia
d) Russia
e) Greenland

Old classic car on a beach in Cuba
Old classic car on a beach in Cuba (Photo credit: danmir12,

It isn't Cuba.

Cuba is just 90 miles from the southernmost point of the U.S., a concrete buoy aptly named the Southernmost Point Buoy in Key West, Florida. That's awfully close, but Cuba is considered part of North America. Plus, there's a country that's even closer to the U.S.

In 2015, President Barack Obama eased travel restrictions to the country, making it legal for American citizens to travel to Cuba for the first time since 1960.

Otemanu Mountain on Bora Bora island in French Polynesia
Otemanu Mountain on Bora Bora island in French Polynesia (Photo credit: shalamov,

It isn't French Polynesia.

French Polynesia's closest U.S. neighbor is Hawaii. Still, these island groupings are a whopping 2,700 miles apart.

French Polynesia is an overseas country belonging to France. It's made up of 118 islands including Bora Bora and Tahiti. French Polynesia is best known for its gorgeous beaches and incredible surfing waves.

Cocora Valley, Colombia
Cocora Valley, Colombia (Photo credit: Toniflap,

It isn't Colombia.

Located in northern South America, Colombia is about 1,400 nautical miles from Key West, Florida.

Colombia has coastlines on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The country is renowned for its beautiful landscapes including mountains, jungles, and beaches. Colombia is also home to one of the largest arrays of animal species on Earth.

Kulusuk Village, Greenland
Kulusuk Village, Greenland (Photo credit: icarmen13,

It isn't Greenland.

From Maine in Northeastern U.S. to Greenland's most southern town, Nanortalik, the distance is about 2,300 miles.

Since it is a territory of Denmark, Greenland is sometimes considered part of Europe, but geographically it is considered part of North America. Greenland is the world's largest island. Unfortunately, it is shrinking, as Greenland's ice sheet is melting due to climate change.

Chukotka, Russia near the United States
Chukotka, Russia near the U.S. (Photo credit: avstraliavasin,

Russia is the closest country to the United States outside North America.

The answer is d) Russia. In fact, Russia is only about 58 miles away from the U.S. Maybe you got this travel trivia question right, thanks to Tina Fey's impersonation of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. Fey's character claimed she could see Russia from her house in Alaska.

That's probably too dang far away to see with the naked eye. There is, however, a tiny Alaskan island in the Bering Strait called Little Diomede, whose 150 residents or so can see the Russian island of Big Diomede just two miles away.

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