With the largest land area of any state east of the Mississippi River, the Georgia landscape runs
from the mountains in the north and northeast to the coastal plain in the southeast. The most southerly
of the Blue Ridge mountains enter Georgia in the north and northeast. The central piedmont extends south
and southeast from the mountains and levels to a coastal plain and coastal flatlands.
Georgia can be divided into six main land regions; the Appalachian Plateau, the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region,
the Blue Ridge, the Piedmont, the Atlantic Coastal Plain, and the East Gulf Coastal Plain. They are presented below, beginning in the southeast
along the Atlantic Ocean and moving
northwest towards the Appalachian Mountains
Atlantic Coastal Plain: The Atlantic Coastal Plain is part of the Atlantic Plain that stretches
from Massachusetts to the Florida peninsula
and around the Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic Coastal Plain lies in southeast Georgia along the state's
Atlantic Ocean shoreline. Occupying
about 1/4 of Georgia, the Atlantic Coastal Plain is characterized by a flat landscape.
The Okefenokee Swamp lies in the
southern part of the Atlantic Plain and in part of the East Gulf Coastal Plain. The rivers in the
Atlantic Coastal Plain drain into the
East Gulf Coastal Plain: The East Gulf Coastal Plain covers almost 1/4 of Georgia in the southwest.
Similar to the flat landscape of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the flat East Gulf Coastal Plain's soil is
less sandy. Part of the Okefenokee Swamp lies in the East Gulf Coastal Plain. The great Suwannee River,
like all rivers in this land region, flows south into the Gulf of Mexico.
Piedmont: Northwest of the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the East Gulf Coastal Plain, the Georgia
Piedmont cuts across the state. The Piedmont is marked by a hilly landscape in the north where it abuts
the Appalachian regions at around 1,500 feet above sea level. The land loses elevation to the southeast,
where the hills become more gently rolling and the land is only about 400 feet above sea level. The clear
difference in landscape where the southeastern edge of the Piedmont meets the Atlantic Coastal Plain and
the Gulf Coastal Plain is called the Fall Line. It is along this line that the rivers flowing from the
higher elevations of the Piedmont fall to the lower Coastal Plains forming waterfalls and rapids.
Blue Ridge: A small section of the Blue Ridge is found in northeastern Georgia north of the
Piedmont. The mountain peaks in the Blue Ridge area rise 2,000 to almost 5,000 feet above sea level;
more than 20 above 4,000 feet. These mountains are forested with hardwoods and pine softwoods. The
rushing rivers in the Blue Ridge provide hydro-electric power to Georgia. Georgia's highest mountains
are found in the Blue Ridge area, including
Bald, or Mount Etonah, which rises 4,784 feet above sea level.
Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region: The Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region in northwestern
Georgia consists of a series of broad, fertile valleys separated by parallel ridges of sandstone.
Appalachian Plateau: Isolated to a small piece of Georgia in the extreme northwestern corner
of the state, the Appalachian Plateau stands about 1,800 to 2,000 feet above sea level and consists
of narrow valleys and wooded ridges.
Lookout Mountain and
Sand Mountain are found in this region.
( Georgia Close-up )