The eastern portion of North Carolina close to the Atlantic Ocean, also known as the coastal plains, comprises roughly 40 counties and several mid-size metropolitan areas. Compared to the western portion of the state, the coastal plains are less populated and less urban. The three biggest cities in the area are Fayetteville, Wilmington and Greenville; the fourth largest is Jacksonville.
Fayetteville and its surrounding communities comprise the coastal plains' largest metropolitan area. With a population of just over 120,000, the area is just big enough to be described as urban. About a third of the area's population consists of soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg, and the city is a hub for military traffic and businesses catering to that clientele. According to the "visit Fayetteville" website, the city is self-described as "America's Hometown" with the slogan of "History, Heroes, a Hometown Feeling."
Wilmington is a port city with a population of about 100,000 people. The Wilmington area is a popular vacation and travel destination for residents of the urban areas of the state as well as visitors from out of state. The city, famous for its popular downtown Riverwalk area, is situated between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean. Wilmington is home to a branch of the university of North Carolina and also a popular movie and television studio.
Greenville proper is home to around 80,000 people, with the metro area consisting of slightly more than twice that amount. The city is often characterized as a bustling and growing community popular with young people and outdoorsmen. In recent years Greeville has become a hub for business and commerce with several shopping districts. Located within the city limits is Eastern Carolina University. Greenville has been recognized as a popular biking area, and is home base for several professional BMX riders.
Jacksonville is the smaller of the coastal plains' metropolitan areas. Its home to roughly 80,000 residents, many of whom are young men stationed at the two local Marine bases. The metro area is double the population of the city proper; Jacksonville has seen a fair amount of growth in recent years due to the influx of young people and marines.