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Our State Geography in a Snap: The Coastal Plain Region

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

See also:
Extended entry on the Coastal Plain (from NC Atlas Revisited)
Extended entry on the Coastal Plain (from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina)

Related Entries: Coastal Life; Settlement of the Coastal Plain; Roanoke Island: The Lost Colony; Mountains; Piedmont, Regional Vegetation

North Carolina's Coastal Plain is low, flat land along the Atlantic Ocean. It is often divided into two parts - the Outer Coastal Plain and the Inner Coastal Plain.

The Outer Coastal Plain is made up of the Outer Banks and the Tidewater region. The Outer Banks are a string of barrier islands separated from the mainland by sounds or inlets. The largest islands in the Outer Banks are Bodie, Hatteras, Ocracoke, Portsmouth, and the Core Banks. Three capes are part of the Outer Banks: Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, and Cape Fear. Near these capes are dangerous shoals, or underwater sandbars which are hazards to ships. Cape Hatteras is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic because shifting sand has caused many ships to run aground. The Outer Banks stretch more than 175 miles along the coast.

North Carolina Coastal Plain Counties

The Tidewater is the area along the coast close to sea level. The mouths of the major streams and rivers empty into sounds or the ocean. There are seven sounds in the Tidewater region: Pamlico, Albemarle, Currituck, Croatan, Roanoke, Core, and Bogue Sounds. This region has many low-lying areas called wetlands, where water covers the land. The Great Dismal Swamp, a series of swamps scattered from Virginia, to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, is North Carolina's largest wetland area. It covers about 750 square miles, making it one of the largest swamps in the United Swamps. The Tidewater is the only place in the world where the Venus Flytrap plant grows naturally.

The Inner Coastal Plain, a higher, drier area, begins west of the Tidewater. The rich, sandy soil here is some of the state's best farmland. In the southwestern corner of the Inner Coastal Plain are the Sandhills, a subregion of rolling, sandy hills. This area has the highest elevation on the Coastal Plain, ranging from about 900 to 1,000 feet above sea level. Longleaf pines are native to this area.




"Social Studies:: Elementary Resouces:: Student Sampler:: Geography," North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Website. (accessed March 27, 2012).

Video Credit:

"The Outer Banks of North Carolina," video courtesy of OuterbanksNC, uploaded on July 21, 2011, (access March 27, 2012).

Origin - location: 



What industry's are in the coastal plain?


What are some food webs in the coastal plains region?


Hi Jerrymia,

That's a great question!  Unfortunately, NCpedia doesn't have anything that directly addresses food webs.

Here a two sites that may have some helpful information to get you started:

Resources that mention food webs and North Carolina from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

Resources from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission that mention food webs:

If you are working on a project for school, you may also want to ask your school librarian for research help or visit your local public library.

I hope this helps!

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library



I want to know the places of interest in coastal plain thanks - Clinton Allen


Hi Clinton,

Here are some resources that might help:

  • North Carolina Places in NCpedia:
  • Some NCpedia places that relate to places in the Coastal Plain --
  • You may also be interested in places like the Outer Banks, towns like New Bern, Wilmington, Beaufort, and Manteo that are well-known historic places in the Coastal Plain.  You can search for this in NCpedia and you'll find entries.
  • Finally, if you look at this entry on North Carolina counties -- -- you'll find links to all 100 counties and you can explore the map by region.  Each county entry will give you some basic information and history about the county with mention of a significant place in the county.  You can visit the links in those entries for more information or search NCpedia for additional entries on places you find mentioned.

I hope this helps!  Please feel free to post back here if you need additional help.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


You need more info


i wanted little facts




great vidio


so what is the absolute location of the coastal plain region? does it have an absolute location?

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