About the Five Regions of the United States

About the Five Regions of the United States
Among the myriad ways to partition the United States--by physiographic province climate zone, etc.--is a broadly cultural division into five large regions: the Northeast, South, Midwest, West and Southwest. For outdoors oriented travel, each section invites adventure.

The Northeast

The region encompasses the country's largest and most extensive metropolitan areas. It also includes the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the northern provinces of the Appalachian Mountains. Extensive snowfall and rolling topography beckon skiers in the winter, while hikers and motorists appreciate world-class autumn foliage displays.

The South

This typically encompasses the southeastern United States from the Southern Appalachians and Ozarks to the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains. In addition to a cultural reputation for diverse food and music, the South presents many recreational adventures, from hiking the Great Smoky Mountain crest to paddling wild bayous and mangrove forests.

The Midwest

It lies in the heart of the country: north of the Mississippi Delta country, west of the Appalachians, and east of the Great Plains. For the outdoors lover, the region's myriad waterways, from rivers to lakes to swamps to marshes, offer endless opportunities.

The West

It is an enormous region, stretching from the Great Plains to the Pacific Coast and encompassing some of the continent's great mountain systems--the Rockies, the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada among them. There remain huge pockets of wildness, like Washington's rugged North Cascades, Hells Canyon on the Oregon-Idaho border, and the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

The Southwest

It includes the semi-arid and arid lands north of the Mexican border, including portions of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Colorado and Nevada--depending on who you talk to. Its tremendous scenery ranges from Utah's slickrock canyonlands to high, isolated mountain ranges to true desert.

Article Written By Ethan Schowalter-Hay

Ethan Schowalter-Hay is a writer and naturalist living in Oregon. He has written for the "Observer," the Bureau of Land Management and various online publishers. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife ecology and a graduate certificate in geographic information systems from the University of Wisconsin.

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