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Our State Geography in a Snap: Three Regions Overview

Reprinted with permission from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction website.


The three landforms of North Carolina make up the three major geographic regions of the state: the Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, and the Mountains. The Coastal Plain Region is usually divided into two sub regions: the Outer Coastal Plain, commonly referred to as the Tidewater; and the Inner Coastal, which is less impacted by the effects of the ocean as it is located further inward.

North Carolina regions by county

North Carolina Counties - Click to see a large version

View the list of North Carolina counties.

North Carolina physical regions

Physical boundaries that divide the regions                               Link to 1985 Geologic Map of North Carolina.  From North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.                 


"Geography of North Carolina," North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, (accessed March 26, 2012).

Raisa, E. 1940. Landforms of the United States. Reprinted in The North Carolina Atlas Revisited.

NCDENR. 1985 Geologic Map of North Carolina (links to a number of maps). (accessed September 2, 2015).

Additional Resources:

North Carolina One Map. North Carolina Geospatial Portal. (accessed September 2, 2015).

Image Credits:

North Carolina Geological Survey. Geologic map of North Carolina: North Carolina Geological Survey, General Geologic Map1985. (accessed September 2, 2015).





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Kelly Eubank, Government and Heritage Library


oh,i didn't understand at first.


i love this it helps a lot


this does not help


i agree


It was a nice refresher on the physical topography of North Carolina, with the Piedmont, mountains, and coastal plain.


The 3 NC geographic regions are officially depicted (and taught in schools) as the mountains, piedmont, and coastal. Throughout NC, local news and weather broadcasters commonly describe events occurring in locales differentiated among the "mountains", "foothills", and "piedmont" areas. If piedmont means "foot of the mountain or foothills", how are these subject "experts(?)" correct in their information descriptions? Also, if these broadcasters are misinforming the public, why is this permitted to continue?


sorry, I found info but not enough to know on the boundaries of each physical region.



I'm sorry you didn't find this helpful.

This resource may help -- it is the geologic survey by the USGS from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources --

I hope this helps and please let me know if we can provide any additional information!

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


Interesting map. But i would move the Fall Line about 20 miles or so farther east than shown, especially in the Northern part of the state. And probably at least 40% of Halifax County, and a significant part of Northampton is most definitely in the Piedmont.

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