In a win for the Hill Country, Fredericksburg was the only Texas town to make the top 10 best small towns in Southern Living’s seventh annual South’s Best Awards. In the Alabama-headquartered magazine’s upcoming April issue, they tabulated the top 50 best Southern small towns, cities, hotels, state parks, and barbecue restaurants.
In the past, Fredericksburg has earned praise for being one of the best Texas towns for retirees. In last year's 2022 South's Best Awards, Fredericksburg ranked as the No. 4 best small town and San Antonio was named one of the best family getaways.
"In a year when more people than ever are traveling and moving to the South, we wanted to put a spotlight on small towns in this year's South's Best Awards,” declared Sid Evans, the editor in chief of Southern Living in a release. “These are the hidden gems our readers picked for their character, charm, and unmistakable southerness.”
St. Augustine, Florida was named the No. 1 best southern small town, with Beaufort, South Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee coming in at No. 2 and No. 3. Other cities on the best small towns list hail from Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama.
The top 10 out of 50 Best Small Towns include:
- No. 1 – St. Augustine, Florida
- No. 2 – Beaufort, South Carolina
- No. 3 – Gatlinburg, Tennessee
- No. 4 – Dahlonega, Georgia
- No. 5 – Blowing Rock, North Carolina
- No. 6 – Fairhope, Alabama
- No. 7 – Tybee Island, Georgia
- No. 8 – Sanibel, Florida
- No 9 – Folly Beach, South Carolina
- No 10 – Fredericksburg
Texas' capital city also earned some impressive recognition as one of the best southern cities overall, according to Southern Living's rankings. We already know Austin is one of the best cities for entrepreneurs, filmmakers, family-friendly vacations, remote workers, and retirees.
Austin ranked No. 10 in the South’s Best Cities list, with cities in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee ranking higher than the Lone Star State. Charleston, South Carolina was ranked the South’s best city, with Savannah, Georgia and Asheville, North Carolina respectively ranked in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots.
Featured on the magazine’s first-ever celebrity cover is Hoda Kotb, an NBC Today co-anchor. The cover spotlights her connection to New Orleans, which was ranked the No. 6 best southern city.
Evans shared his excitement to have Kotb share her “longtime connection” to Louisiana’s most famous city.
“This whole issue is about the places we love, and in Hoda's case, the city clearly loves her back,” he said.
The top 10 South’s Best Cities list includes:
- No. 1 – Charleston, South Carolina
- No. 2 – Savannah, Georgia
- No. 3 – Asheville, North Carolina
- No. 4 – Atlanta
- No. 5 – Nashville
- No. 6 – New Orleans
- No. 7 – Greenville, South Carolina
- No. 8 – Chattanooga, Tennessee
- No. 9 – Alpharetta, Georgia
- No. 10 – Austin
In the category for the best barbecue by state, Austin’s own Franklin Barbecue was declared the best in Texas.
Southern Living’s Top Barbecue by state rankings are:
- Alabama – Saw’s BBQ in Birmingham
- Arkansas – Wright’s Barbecue in Fayetteville
- Florida – Tropical Smokehouse in West Palm Beach
- Georgia – Fox Brother’s Bar-B-Que in Atlanta
- Kentucky – Moonlite Bar-B-B Inn in Owensboro
- Louisiana – The Joint in New Orleans
- Mississippi – The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint in Ocean Springs
- North Carolina – Lexington Barbecue in Lexington
- Oklahoma – Leo’s BBQ in Oklahoma City
- South Carolina – Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ in Charleston
- Tennessee – Peg Leg Porker in Nashville
- Texas – Franklin Barbecue in Austin
- Virginia – Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que in Williamsburg
- West Virginia – Dem 2 Brothers and a Grill in Charleston
Southern Living’s April issue goes on sale March 17.
The full list of Southern Living’s survey and its methodology can be found on SouthernLiving.com.