What is the Location of Appalachia?

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Appalachia is a region in the eastern United States, encompassing parts of 13 states including West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. It is known for its picturesque mountains, rich coal deposits, and unique culture. The region is home to a predominantly rural population, with a history deeply rooted in coal mining and timber industries. Despite its natural beauty, Appalachia faces economic challenges and poverty rates higher than the national average. Efforts are being made to revitalize the region through tourism, education, and sustainable development. Appalachia serves as a reminder of the diverse landscapes and cultures that exist within the United States.

Do you enjoy exploring different regions of the United States? Were you aware that you can gain knowledge about other areas without ever leaving home or school? It’s true! Today, Wonderopolis will take you on a virtual trip to Appalachia!

So where exactly is Appalachia? It is a region in the eastern United States that is both geographical and cultural. Named after the Appalachian Mountains, which define the area, Appalachia spans from southern New York to the northern parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia.

The Appalachian Mountains themselves stretch all the way from Canada to Alabama, but the cultural region known as Appalachia traditionally only includes the central and southern parts of the range. Appalachia covers approximately 205,000 square miles of land, including the entirety of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Appalachia is home to over 25 million people, with nearly half residing in rural areas. In the past, Appalachia heavily relied on mining, forestry, agriculture, and heavy industry, resulting in as many as one-third of its residents living in poverty.

Nowadays, much of Appalachia has diversified into new manufacturing and service industries. Consequently, the overall poverty rate has decreased, but significant disparities still exist between the areas that have diversified and those that have not. Some regions have experienced success, while others continue to face widespread poverty.

Historically, the people of Appalachia have been depicted as backward and uneducated “mountain men” prone to feuding and violence. These stereotypes have been perpetuated by the media over time, but they do not accurately represent the current residents of Appalachia, who live in and appreciate one of the most beautiful regions in the U.S.

In reality, Appalachian culture is renowned for its literature and music. Traditional Appalachian music originated from Irish and Scottish fiddle music. African-American blues musicians introduced the banjo in the late 1700s, and it has since become a prominent symbol of the region’s music. Appalachian music played a crucial role in the development of modern country and bluegrass music.

Folklore is another prominent aspect of Appalachian culture. It is a blend of European, Native American, and Biblical influences and often features regional heroes such as railroad worker John Henry and frontiersman Davy Crockett.

Nowadays, Appalachia is a popular destination for tourists. Its mountainous terrain, breathtaking scenery, and outdoor recreational opportunities attract millions of visitors and generate billions of dollars for the region each year. The most famous attraction in the area is the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, a hiking trail that stretches from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Commonly known as the Appalachian Trail, it spans nearly 2,200 miles and is part of the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking in the U.S.

Give It a Go

Are you eager to learn more about Appalachia? Make sure to explore the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • Are you a fan of Appalachian music? What aspects of it do you find appealing? Which instruments stand out the most? Would you enjoy attending a party with Appalachian music? Why or why not? To gain a better understanding of this music genre, take a look at The Okee Dokee Brothers with guest David Holt, where you can learn more about the instruments used!
  • Have you ever considered becoming a cartographer? This term refers to a mapmaker. Go online and explore the Appalachian Region map, which displays all the counties that make up Appalachia. Print a copy of the map and have a friend test your knowledge on basic facts about the geography of Appalachia!
  • Take a look at 7 Sites to See + Appalachia Trivia. Then, create a brochure using supplies you have or Canva, encouraging friends and family members to visit Appalachia. What are the must-see sites? What can they expect to see? Can you come up with a Top 10 List of Things To Do in Appalachia?

Sources of Wonder

  • http://www.arc.gov/appalachian_region/TheAppalachianRegion.asp
  • http://www.visitappalachia.com/
  • http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=6845770&page=1#.UEeci5MljnM (accessed 15 Mar., 2023)
  • http://museumofappalachia.org/ (accessed 15 Mar., 2023)


1. What is Appalachia?

Appalachia refers to a region in the eastern United States that stretches from southern New York to northern Mississippi. It encompasses parts of 13 states, including West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and more. The region is known for its unique cultural heritage, natural beauty, and significant contributions to American music, literature, and crafts.

2. What are the geographical features of Appalachia?

Appalachia is characterized by its rolling hills, rugged mountains, and lush forests. The Appalachian Mountains, part of the larger Appalachian Mountain Range, run through the region, providing breathtaking landscapes and outdoor recreational opportunities. The region is also home to numerous rivers, including the Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland rivers, as well as the Great Lakes.

3. What is the history of Appalachia?

Appalachia has a rich and complex history. It was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes before European settlers arrived. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the region experienced significant industrialization, particularly in coal mining and timber industries. However, poverty and economic challenges have also plagued the region, leading to efforts to revitalize its economy and improve the quality of life for its residents.

4. What is the culture of Appalachia like?

The culture of Appalachia is diverse and influenced by various ethnic groups, including Scottish, Irish, English, and Native American. It is known for its strong sense of community, folk traditions, and rich musical heritage, including bluegrass, country, and Appalachian folk music. The region’s arts and crafts, such as quilting, pottery, and woodcarving, are also highly regarded and celebrated.

5. Is Appalachia a tourist destination?

Yes, Appalachia attracts numerous tourists each year. Its natural beauty, including national parks such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park, offers opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. The region’s cultural heritage and festivals, such as the Appalachian Festival and the Appalachian Trail Days, also draw visitors who are interested in experiencing the unique traditions and history of Appalachia.

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