The major landforms of South Carolina include the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, Piedmont Plateau and a variety of offshore islands. Despite its relatively small size, South Carolina contains a variety of geographical features. The Atlantic Ocean, mountain ranges and southern location play key roles in shaping South Carolina's climate and topography.
Just off South Carolina's Atlantic shoreline lie hundreds of islands. These islands, called sea islands, lie just beyond the Atlantic Coastal plain, which extends 70 miles toward shore. These islands and the South Carolina coast have wet and marshy environments, shaped by rivers traversing South Carolina's surface. Major rivers include Pee Dee, Savannah, Santee and Edisto. Most of South Carolina's reservoirs and lakes dot the Atlantic shoreline, too.
Further inland, the water-covered shoreline gives way to several mountain ranges, including the Blue Ridge Mountains. This chain forms from the larger Appalachian Mountain range, which runs along the Eastern Atlantic coast from Quebec through Georgia. The Blue Ridge Mountains cover land in several states. This mountain chain contains undulating peaks with various heights. The tallest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina is Sassafras Mountain. Sassafras reaches 3,560 feet at its summit, making it the highest point in South Carolina. Within the Appalachian and Blue Ridge mountain chains lie forested areas and some farm land.