...The Central Gulf Coast is on the northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico and includes the southern portions of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, and the northwest portion of Florida. The flat landscape is heavily forested, with marshlands and bayous dominating much of
the coastal areas. A more hilly terrain can be found in more inland areas. While the Central Gulf Coast every year has to cope with the threat of hurricanes, winters are so mild that the region draws many "snowbirds" from the north. Summers are particularly hot and often humid. ...The nearest foreign neighbors are Mexico to
the south and southwest, Cuba to the southeast and the nations of Central America to the south. ...The primary cities of the Central Gulf Coast are Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La.; Mobile, Ala.; Biloxi, Gulfport, Bay St. Louis and Pascagoula in Mississippi; and Pensacola, Crestview, Milton, Fort Walton Beach and Panama City, Fla. Nearby cities are Lafayette, La., to the west, Hattiesburg and Jackson, Miss., Montgomery and Birmingham, Ala., to the north, and Tallahassee to the east. ...The Central Gulf Coast region's two dozen counties and parishes - as they are called in Louisiana - are grouped into a contiguous belt of seven metropolitan statistical areas and one micropolitan statistical area.