Social Studies - 2018-19

VS.2b - Five Geographic Regions of Virginia

The student will demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between physical geography and the lives of the native peoples, past and present, of Virginia by

b) locating and describing Virginia’s Coastal Plain (Tidewater), Piedmont, Blue Ridge Mountains, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau.

Adopted: 2015


  • A region  is an area that has certain characteristics that make it different from other regions.
  • Region is a concept that is used to identify and organize areas of the earth's surface for various purposes.
  • A physical region is identified by its physical (geography) features.


Geographic regions have distinctive characteristics.

Virginia can be divided into five geographic regions.


Terms to know

  • Fall Line: The natural border between the Coastal Plain (Tidewater) and Piedmont regions, where waterfalls prevent further travel on the river
  • Plateau: Area of elevated land that is flat on top

Geographic regions

  • Coastal Plain (Tidewater)
    • Flat land
    • Located near Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay (includes the Eastern Shore)
    • East of the Fall Line
  • Piedmont (“at the foot of mountains”)
    • Rolling hills
    • West of the Fall Line
  • Blue Ridge Mountains
    • Old, rounded mountains
    • Part of the Appalachian mountain system
    • Located between the Piedmont and Valley and Ridge regions
    • Source of many rivers
  • Valley and Ridge
    • Includes the Great Valley of Virginia and other valleys separated by ridges (the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Valley and Ridge regions are part of the Appalachian mountain system)
    • Located west of the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Appalachian Plateau
    • Located in Southwest Virginia
    • Only a small part of the plateau located in Virginia


Updated: May 18, 2018