South Carolina is divided into four distinct areas; the Sea Islands, Atlantic Coastal Plain, Piedmont Plateau and Blue Ridge Mountains.
Hundreds of sea islands front its deeply indented southeastern Atlantic Ocean coastline. From there the broad and flat Atlantic Coastal Plain extends inland near 70 miles. Swampy along the coast, it's criss-crossed by dozens of rivers and covers about 50% of the state.
The land then rises gently into forested sand hills (central), and then into the rolling hills of the Piedmont Plateau, where average elevations are near 1,000 ft above sea level.
The forested Blue Ridge Mountains, famed for a bluish color when seen from a distance, stretch across the northwestern edges of the state. The state's highest point is located here; Sassafras Mountain, at 3,560 ft.
The Appalachian Mountains, about 1,500 miles in length, extend from Georgia through the Carolinas, up through New England and on into the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Quebec.
South Carolina is drained by many rivers. Major ones include the Edisto, Great Pee Dee, Santee and Savannah In addition, the state contains many manmade lakes and reservoirs, including Hartwell, Keowee, Marion, Moultrie and Murray lakes. and the Strom Thurmond Reservoir.
For a closer look at the topography of South Carolina, view this map