Colonial North Carolina's geography was split into three main areas: the coastal, Piedmont and mountain regions. There were swamps, islands, foothills and mountains in North Carolina. The geography of the state has not changed much since colonial times.
The coastal plain of North Carolina includes the eastern third of the state and its related islands. The islands are called the Outer Banks and are sandy strips of land off the main shoreline. The next section of the coastal plain is called the tidewater and includes the wetlands and swamps along the coast. Beyond the coastal plain is the inner coastal plain, which is a dry, flat area that has much of the highest-quality farmland.
The Piedmont region is also called the foothills and is the transitional middle area of the state between the coastal plains and the Appalachian mountains. This region is most well-known for its rolling hills, though due to its relatively high elevation compared to the coastal plain and its flatness relative to the mountain area, it is also called a plateau.
The mountain region is made up of a section of the Appalachian mountains that contains the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smokey Mountains. This is the smallest of the three geographic regions in the state and includes the Eastern Continental Divide, which determines whether water flows toward the Atlantic Ocean or the Mississippi River.