Atlantic Coastal Plain Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

The Atlantic Coastal Plain is located along the eastern and southeastern areas of the United States. In this lesson, learn about the land, wildlife, and features of this coastal area.

Beach Bound!

Are you up for a road trip? Let's head to the beaches of the eastern and southeastern United States.

As we head east, you'll notice that the land becomes very flat. That's because this area that borders the Atlantic Ocean is a plain. A plain is a landform that is a large section of land that is level, without hills or mountains. Plains found near beaches are called coastal plains.

The flat land from up in Massachusetts down to Florida and over to Texas is called the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Let's find out more about this large section of flat coast.

The flat land of the Atlantic Coastal Plain stretches as far north as Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Cape Cod

Formation of the Coastal Plain

So how did this large plain develop? It took millions of years, actually. To the west of the plain is a mountain chain called the Appalachians. Over time, rocks and dirt from those mountains would be moved by weather and eventually, they would collect at the Atlantic Ocean. This rock and dirt is called sediment and as it collected, it would spread out in a flat manner.

Sediment from the Appalachian Mountains traveled and collected over many years, eventually creating the Atlantic Coastal Plain.
US map

Features of the Atlantic Plain

You can probably guess on our road trip that you will see many beautiful beaches and lots of flat land, but what other things might you see? The soil of the Atlantic Coastal Plain is generally poor, but it can grow certain crops like cotton and tobacco. Plus, the warm temperatures far south make Florida perfect for growing citrus fruit like oranges.

Off of the shores of states like Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas, a major resource found in the coastal plain is petroleum. This is a natural material found underground that can be drilled and used to make fuels like the gas in your car. On our road trip, you might see a large off-shore drilling site where petroleum is gathered.

Areas of the southern Atlantic Coastal Plain are often drilled for petroleum.

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