Moving to the South? This region is a beautiful area full of rich history, traditional and delicious home-cooked meals, and endless amounts of Southern hospitality and charm you just can’t find anywhere else. Let’s learn more about living in the South, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Here are some of the most important factors to consider when making your move:
Your Guide to Moving to the South
Southern culture is all about hospitality! There is a certain charm that exists in the South, where you can say hi to anybody and you immediately feel like family. Politeness and good manners are key in this region, so don’t be shocked if you start to be called sir or ma’am more frequently or if you’re greeted to your new home with a slew of baked goods at your doorstep. The culture in the South is deeply rooted in tradition, and family is one of the most important things.
In the South, expect to be surrounded by more socially conservative and religious views than you may find elsewhere in the country. As part of the “Bible Belt” you can expect to see filled churches every Sunday. Life does not move quickly in the South, as sitting on the porch and sipping on some homemade sweet tea is the epitome of a good day. However, you’ll see buzz pick up for football season - college football especially. As noted by some Southerners, football isn’t a sport, it’s part of the culture.
The South is known for its mild winter with the occasional winter storm, rainy and pollinated spring, hot, humid summers, and beautiful fall seasons. Moving to the South means coming prepared for the weather that sometimes seems like it can’t make up its mind.
While you won’t be dreading the start of winter like states up north due to winter highs averaging in the 50s, summer can be a fairly uncomfortable season. Expect high humidity and temperatures averaging in the 90s - and a lot of mosquito repellent. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, be prepared for the pollen that paint the region yellow every spring. Fall is a fairly mild season, aside from hurricane season that begins at the start of June and ends toward the end of November.
Shopping & Errands
Depending on where your are moving in the South, there are many options for shopping and errands. In smaller, rural towns, expect family-owned stores that carry your necessities and have a very local feel. While nothing glamorous, you definitely will feel the Southern hospitality and will be able to enjoy fresh produce from the area. In suburban areas you will find your big-name grocery stores and department stores for running errands. If you are closer to the city, there will be less big-name stores and more boutique and specialty stores - even for groceries. Those living in the city are likely to eat out more than cooking at home with all the dining options, but fresh produce can be found at farmers markets when it’s time for a home-cooked meal.
In the summer, there are plenty of festivals with local vendors if you’re looking for a fun combination of fun and community while shopping for local art, food, and more!
Having a car is mostly necessary in the South unless you live in the city. While some public transportation is available, it is still in the works to be as efficient as systems seen in places like New York and D.C. Once on the highway, getting from place to place is fairly easy - unless you get trapped near the cities around rush hour. Thankfully, the South has some of the lowest gas prices in the country, averaging between $2.46 to $2.74 a gallon. Compare that to the national average of $2.85, or to the California average of $4.04.
The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world, which is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing to have a hub to essentially fly anywhere you want, but with the curse of dealing with the endless crowds. Regardless, flying in and out of the South is typically out of Atlanta, meaning other cities may require connecting flights to get home.
Things to Do
With a mix of old Southern charm and metropolitan cities, the South has an endless amount of things to do and explore. Take Georgia, for example: Savannah is dripping with Spanish moss, historic sites, and grand homes of the past, whereas Atlanta is a bustling city filled with trendy restaurants, the busiest airport in the world, and headquarters from some of the biggest corporations. While the living is slow and relaxed in the South, you can certainly find the hustle of a city with ease. Even the big cities all have big, unique personalities that make exploring each one exciting every time.
Other exciting things to do in the South include Graceland, Space Center Houston, the Kentucky Derby, the Appalachian Trail, the Georgia Aquarium, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Big Bend National Park, and many more Southern beaches, trails, cities, and towns to explore.
While it is possible to find outstanding schools in the South for grade school, the South does not have the greatest reputation for education due to poor funding and attendance. If moving to the South with children, make sure to do your research on schools and find the best fit for you. Rural schools tend to suffer more from budget cuts than those in the suburbs and cities.
That being said, universities in the South are highly popular for those both in-state and out-of-state. For those who do attend college, there are a number of schools who have die-hard alumni and a strong fan base. College is so celebrated due to a mix of pride and the excitement surrounding college football and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Do the terms “Roll Tide,” “Go Dawgs,” or “War Eagle” mean anything to you? The soon will after moving to the South and being swept up in the college football craze. On top of football, Southern universities perform well nationally. Duke University ranks 8th nationally, Vanderbilt University ranks 14th, Emory ranks 21st, and University of Virginia ranks 25th.
Health & Fitness
Unfortunately, the South notoriously ranks as the unhealthiest region in the country. With habits like smoking and eating unhealthy diets, health issues like obesity and diabetes are prevalent in Southern states. The good news? The focus on health has been shifting in the region! In cities especially, healthy food options are appearing more frequently and city initiatives are being put into place to encourage walking and being outside instead of using transportation.
Remember when we said football is a part of the culture for Southerners? Texas A&M University saw this as an opportunity to improve the health of the region. They have teamed up with 13 SEC schools to use college football games as a platform to promote healthy lifestyle activities. This, along with growing awareness about the importance of health, is the start of creating a healthier Southern region.
Fitting right in with the famous Southern hospitality is Southern food. Nothing quite compares to the food you can get in the South. From the home-cooked meals made at home or at the local diner to the guilty pleasures of greasy Waffle House at 2 in the morning (fun fact: the South is home to nearly 1700 of the 2500 total Waffle Houses in the country), your stomach will be full of food while your heart full of love. Sweet tea, fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, collard greens, shrimp and grits, bread puddin’... name it and you will find it!
Of course, healthier versions are available, especially closer to the cities. Many renowned chefs choose kitchens in the South to experiment with bold new flavors and traditional flavors alike.
Lincoln Military Housing in the South
Lincoln Military Housing proudly offers military service members and their families premier off- and on-base military housing across the South, including Albany, Camp Lejeune, Dahlgren, Fort Sam Houston, Little Creek, Norfolk, Oceana, Northwest Annex, Portsmouth, Quantico, and Yorktown.
If you are about to call the South your new home, apply for military housing today and become part of the Lincoln Military family!
The Southern United States is such a beautiful region rooted in deep history, rich culture, and community values. The area honors its roots through its traditions, food, and hospitality. If you’re looking to call the South your home, congratulations are in order.