The Most Charming Southern Towns You Won't Believe Still Exist

What is Southern charm to you? To many it conjures the relaxation of slow days, the taste of sweet tea and the feeling of warm sunshine on your skin. Southern charm is something that seems lost in a world of skyscrapers and pinging emails, but we can promise you it still exists. 

Deep in the heart of the U.S. South, there are five towns that epitomize the elusive Southern charm with friendly people, comfort food and simple pleasures. You’ll find yourself under an enchantment of beautiful views, historic architecture and Spanish moss. These are the small towns that will sweep you off your feet with effortless appeal:

Rhett House Inn, 1009 Craven Street [Beaufort, South Carolina]

Beaufort, S.C. | This old town on Port Royal Island offers more than 300 years of attractive architecture to feast your eye on. Set against a backdrop of the Lowcountry, historic Beaufort is filled with 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century buildings and homes including sprawling mansions and bed and breakfast cottages offering up their rooms for a weekend escape. 

Beaufort River carves through the town, wrapping around downtown while curving and churning. From here the folks of Beaufort are able to capture the finest quality seafood, offering up crab boils and oyster roasts in true southern hospitality style. 

Just a 90-minute daytrip away from Savannah and Charleston, Beaufort is where you want to spend your time soaking up its unique character with a carriage tour or stroll on the waterfront. You’ll find yourself stumbling upon artist studios and galleries that have been likewise inspired by the waterside view, portraying the scenes on canvas.

Window shopping in downtown Fredericksburg [Texas]

Fredericksburg, Texas | Deep in the heart of Texas you’ll find the town of Fredericksburg. Its German heritage has stayed strong since its settlement in 1846, creating a fusion of a European culture with that of the Lone Star State. A walk down the 3.5-mile Hautstrasse (Main Street) reveals this, with its German background apparent in the variety of biergartens (beer gardens) and specialty stores. In the not-so-far distance, you’ll find the Texas countryside overflowing with wildflowers or plump peaches, depending on the season.

It’s a small town with undeniable quirks, an evolution of its ancestors. If you listen closely, you may find a descendent of the town’s founding families still speaking the Texas German dialect, one that has a very distinctive accent. You’ll find generations of Fredericksburg residents gathering in town for events like horse races, dances and parades.

Crawfish Parade Float [Breaux Bridge, Louisiana]

Breaux Bridge, La. | Set in the heart of southern Louisiana, Breaux Bridge lives and breathes Cajun and Creole culture. Lovingly preserving its history and nature, this example of Southern charm serves up a lively downtown, bayous and the best crawfish around.

In Breaux Bridge you can find crawfish simmered, smothered and sautéed amongst other takes on the recipe. Each May the celebrated crustacean is honored in all its delicious forms with the Crawfish Festival. And what Southern festival would be complete without a pageant? The Crawfish Queen is crowned here each year and parades through the streets with her scepter and smile. 

If you’ve come to Breaux Bridge, then you’ve come to eat. Start early with a breakfast of beignets and a midmorning bloody Mary to tide you over. Lunch leads you to a meal of boudin, a specialty sausage, and a side of zydeco music that’ll have you high-stepping with the locals. The accordion music will follow you through dinner and the evening, where the dancing and fun never stops.

A store and restaurant [Mooresville, Alabama]

Carol M. Highsmith | Public Domain
Mooresville, Ala. | Come with a smile for the people of Mooresville, all 53 of them. It’s a postcard-perfect town, with all 0.1 miles and six streets of it included on the National Register of Historic Places. Nearly everything in Mooresville dates back to the 19th century, the only exception being the people, who welcome you with open arms. 

It’s a city where people feel perfectly content to stay, the mayor being the third generation of her family to take the seat and plenty of other people reigning as a sixth- or seventh-generation resident. The spell of Mooresville is an easy one to fall into, with scents of lavender wafting through the streets and the biggest worry is deciding on a flavor of homemade ice cream to order from the local parlor.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens [Durham, North Carolina]

Durham, N.C. | Durham and Duke go hand-in-hand, with blue and white bleeding from every stately home and tree-lined street that fill this college town. Famous for its medical and research facilities, it’s the Blue Devils basketball team that really steals the show and wins over the hearts of fans. On game days you’ll find a palpable excitement that’s hard to deny and even harder not to join in.

When basketball season isn’t in session, Durham transforms into an arts-minded locale with theater spaces, lectures, exhibits and trendy restaurants set in refurbished old brick factory buildings. The city exudes a calm and sophisticated vibe, one that invites you to linger a little longer at the plethora of historic sites and museums.

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Alyssa Derby

Passionately curious about the world around her, Alyssa Derby is a self-proclaimed wanderlust aficionado. She’s tallied a count of seven countries visited, with New Zealand, Greece and Bolivia next up on the bucket list. To reminisce about past trips, s

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