17 Reasons The South Is The Best Place To Live

17 Reasons The South Is The Best Place To Live

For anyone who’s lived or even spent a fair amount of time there, the South isn’t just a place; it’s a state of mind. It’s a totally different culture experience that sometimes feels otherworldly and it never leaves you, no longer how long it’s been since you were last there. Here’s why it might just be the best darn place to live in the country.

1. Y’all means all: Southern hospitality is the real deal.

Sure, stereotypes abound, but genuine warmth is the South’s secret weapon, as Southern Living points out (and anyone who’s been/lived there already knows). Strangers offer a smile and a “howdy,” neighbors bring over casseroles when life gets rough, and folks go out of their way to lend a hand. It’s a reminder that kindness still exists in abundance.

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2. Sweet tea is its own food group.

There’s tea, and then there’s Southern sweet tea – a sugary elixir that’s as essential to life as breathing. It’s on every menu, served in Mason jars, and fuels everything from front porch chats to church socials. Unsweetened tea? Bless your heart…

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3. The food is soul-satisfying and steeped in tradition.

family having dinner around the tableiStock

Crispy fried chicken, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits smothered in gravy, shrimp and grits, gumbo… the list goes on and on, so get ready to kiss any diet goodbye. Southern cuisine is about comfort, about generations-old recipes passed down with love. It’s more than a meal; it’s a hug in food form. If you ever move away from the South, you’ll miss it.

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4. We know how to slow down and savor life’s simple pleasures.

The South operates on its own time zone. We understand the importance of porch-sitting, firefly-catching, and long meandering conversations with no agenda. Hustle culture hasn’t fully infected us; we cherish those moments of pause as much as achievement.

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5. Small towns still hold their charm.

While the South has booming cities, the heart of the region lies in those tight-knit communities. Where everyone knows your name, Friday night lights are the main event, and the town square is where memories are made. It’s a slower pace that fosters a deep sense of belonging.

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6. Manners are non-negotiable.

“Yes ma’am,” “no sir,” and “please and thank you” are ingrained from childhood. Some see it as outdated, but it’s a basic courtesy that makes daily interactions smoother. Beneath the politeness is respect – for elders, for visitors, and even when disagreeing, it’s done with a modicum of civility.

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7. The cost of living is (often) amazingly affordable.

While areas are changing, many parts of the South offer a sweet spot – lower housing costs, cheaper groceries, and less frenetic competition than major coastal cities. In fact, as Allied Van Lines reveals, it’s about 6.3% below the national average.  This translates to less financial stress – room to buy that house with the big yard, or save for those family vacations.

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8. History is tangible, the good and the bad.

The South is a paradox – breathtaking beauty stands alongside the scars of a complex past. Plantations, Civil War battlefields, the streets where Dr. King marched…history here isn’t abstract. It’s a living legacy that shapes the present, sparking necessary conversations about how to build a better future.

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9. There’s a festival for everything, and they embrace the quirky.

Rear view of large group of people enjoying a concert performance. There are many raised hands in front of the camera.

Fried bologna festivals, Possum Queen coronations, watermelon seed-spitting contests… the South celebrates the unique with unabashed joy. These gatherings are about community spirit, a touch of friendly rivalry, and embracing the delightfully oddball things that make life interesting.

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10. Tradition is cherished, even with a modern twist.

The South holds onto its past, but not in a way that stifles innovation. You find chefs reinventing old recipes, historic homes turned into hip breweries, and traditional crafts reimagined for a new generation. It’s a balancing act that honors the past while fearlessly embracing the future.

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11. Music is in its soul.

The birthplace of blues, jazz, country, and rock ‘n’ roll – the South practically vibrates with rhythm. Live music isn’t confined to concert halls; it spills out onto porches, into hole-in-the-wall bars, and fuels impromptu jam sessions that bring strangers together. Music is a universal language, and the South speaks it fluently.

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12. College football isn’t just a sport, it’s a religion.

men watching american football on couch

Fall Saturdays are sacred. It’s tailgating all day, body paint, face-offs between generations-old rivals, and a stadium energy that crackles. Oh, and don’t forget the tailgating parties! Even if you’re not a sports nut, the South sucks you into the pageantry and passionate fandom…and you secretly start to love it.

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13. Storytelling is an art form.

Long-winded tales full of colorful characters and folksy wisdom are part of the Southern charm. It’s more than just recounting events; it’s about cadence, inflection, and the joy of finding the extraordinary in ordinary moments. Everyone’s got a story to tell, and you’re guaranteed to be entertained.

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14. The landscapes are breathtakingly diverse.

From the misty Blue Ridge Mountains to the swamps of Louisiana, the beaches of the Gulf Coast to the rolling hills of horse country, the South is a tapestry of natural beauty. Within a few hours’ drive, you can witness nature’s raw power and find pockets of serene tranquility.

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15. It’s a porch-sitting paradise.

Porches are an extension of the home, designed for relaxing. Rocking chairs, a porch swing, maybe a ceiling fan to stir the humid air — it’s the perfect place to unwind. Watch the world slow down, wave at neighbors, or while away an afternoon lost in a good book. Porches are essential to the Southern way of life.

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16. There’s a strong sense of faith and community for many.

Sunday mornings mean church filled with soulful music and spirited sermons, but it’s more than the service. Church communities are often the backbone of Southern towns, offering support in hard times, fellowship, and those legendary church potlucks.

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17. The South is a melting pot in its own right.

Diversity thrives in the South. We’ve got the Cajun and Creole influences in Louisiana, the vibrant Gullah Geechee culture of the Lowcountry, and a rapidly growing immigrant communities in major cities. The South is evolving, with its own unique blend of old traditions and exciting new voices shaping its future.

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Phoebe Mertens is a writer, speaker, and strategist who has helped dozens of female-founded and led companies reach success in areas such a finance, tech, science, and fashion. Her keen eye for detail and her innovative approach to modern womanhood makes her one of the most sought-out in her industry, and there's nothing she loves more than to see these companies shine.

With an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and features in Forbes and Fast Company she Phoebe has proven she knows her stuff. While she doesn't use social media, she does have a private Instagram just to look at pictures of cats.