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North Carolina

North Carolina Geography

North Carolina is divided into four distinct areas; the Outer Banks, Atlantic Coastal Plain, Piedmont Plateau and ranges of the Appalachian Mountains in the far-western reaches of the state.

The Outer Banks are a long string of narrow and sandy (some tree-covered) barrier islands that curve out into the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Hatteras, the eastern-most point of the state, is a frequent target of hurricanes that strike the eastern U.S.

From there the broad and flat Atlantic Coastal Plain extends inland near 65 miles. Swampy along the coast, and especially in the far-northeast, it's criss-crossed by dozens of rivers and covers about 35% of the state.

The land then rises gently into some forested sand hills, and then into the higher rolling hills of the Piedmont Plateau, where average elevations are near 1,150 ft above sea level.

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.

The thickly-forested Blue Ridge Mountains, famed for a bluish color when seen from a distance, stretch across the western reaches of the state, on into Virginia.

The Smoky Mountains extend along the state's southwestern border with Tennessee. In the Black Mountains northeast of Asheville, North Carolina's highest point, Mt. Mitchell, stands at 6,684 ft. It's the highest peak in the Appalachian Mountains, and the highest peak in eastern North America.

North Carolina is drained by many rivers. Major ones include the Cape Fear, Neuse, Roanoke and Yadkin. In addition, the state contains many somewhat small manmade lakes and reservoirs. The largest of these is Lake Norman, at 32,510 acres.

For a closer look at the topography of North Carolina, view this topographic map

North Carolina Photographs

Waterfalls on the Eno River Passing Through a Hardwood Forest

Waterfalls on the Eno River...
by Raymond Gehman
Buy This at Allposters.com

North Carolina Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Burlington Alamance 336
Taylorsville Alexander 828
Sparta Alleghany 336
Wadesboro Anson 704
West Jefferson Ashe 336
Newland Avery 828
Washington Beaufort 252
Windsor Bertie 252
Elizabethtown Bladen 910
Leland Brunswick 910
Asheville Buncombe 828
Morganton Burke 828
Concord Cabarrus 704
Lenoir Caldwell 828
Camden Camden 252
Newport Carteret 252
Yanceyville Caswell 336
Hickory Catawba 828
Chapel Hill Chatham 919
Murphy Cherokee 828
Edenton Chowan 252
Hayesville Clay 828
Shelby Cleveland 704
Whiteville Columbus 910
New Bern Craven 252
Fayetteville Cumberland 910
Moyock Currituck 252
Kill Devil Hills Dare 252
Lexington Davidson 336
Mocksville Davie 336
Wallace Duplin 910
Durham Durham 919
Rocky Mount Edgecombe 252
Winston Salem Forsyth 336
Louisburg Franklin 919
Gastonia Gaston 704
Gates Gates 252
Robbinsville Graham 828
Oxford Granville 919
Snow Hill Greene 252
Greensboro Guilford 336
Roanoke Rapids Halifax 252
Dunn Harnett 910
Waynesville Haywood 828
Hendersonville Henderson 828
Ahoskie Hertford 252
Raeford Hoke 910
Engelhard Hyde 252
Mooresville Iredell 704
Sylva Jackson 828
Clayton Johnston 919
Trenton Jones 252
Sanford Lee 336
Kinston Lenoir 252
Lincolnton Lincoln 704
Franklin Macon 828
Marshall Madison 828
Williamston Martin 252
Marion McDowell 828
Charlotte Mecklenburg 704
Spruce Pine Mitchell 828
Troy Montgomery 910
Pinehurst Moore 910
Rocky Mount Nash 252
Wilmington New Hanover 910
Garysburg Northampton 252
Jacksonville Onslow 910
Chapel Hill Orange 919
Bayboro Pamlico 252
Elizabeth City Pasquotank 252
Hampstead Pender 910
Hertford Perquimans 252
Roxboro Person 336
Greenville Pitt 252
Tryon Polk 828
Asheboro Randolph 336
Rockingham Richmond 910
Lumberton Robeson 910
Reidsville Rockingham 336
Salisbury Rowan 704
Forest City Rutherford 828
Clinton Sampson 910
Laurinburg Scotland 910
Albemarle Stanly 704
King Stokes 336
Mount Airy Surry 336
Bryson City Swain 828
Brevard Transylvania 828
Columbia Tyrrell 252
Monroe Union 704
Henderson Vance 252
Raleigh Wake 919
Cary Wake 919
Warrenton Warren 252
Plymouth Washington 252
Boone Watauga 828
Goldsboro Wayne 919
North Wilkesboro Wilkes 336
Wilson Wilson 252
Yadkinville Yadkin 336
Burnsville Yancey 828

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.