32 Southern Baby Names Parents Will Love No Matter Where They Live

Emily Cardoza | Jun 18, 2020 Pregnancy
32 Southern Baby Names Parents Will Love No Matter Where They Live
Image: @amyhilbrand/twenty20.com


Like sweet baby names with style? Why not get inspired by the beautiful and dynamic American South? The South has everything -- mountains and plains, tasty cuisine, red states and blue states, and all kinds of people with their own brand of Southern hospitality. True Southerners know that their part of this great nation is full of beauty and inspiration, so it seems only natural to pull names from the land they love. These 32 baby names come from the culture, cities, rivers, and symbols in Dixie Land. No matter where a baby is born, parents will find a name here that sounds fresh yet vintage, classic yet unexpected. 

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Love a Southern twang? Who doesn't? The Southern accent is endlessly charming -- and so are the baby names! A Southern baby name brings to mind mint juleps, barbecue, and a Southern debutante/gentleman. If a genteel-like baby name is a must, then take a trip down south where things move a little slower and the people are a little kinder. With the help from our friends at BabyNameWizard, we compiled a list of the best and brightest Southern baby names becoming totally trendy. Perhaps parents are getting charmed by the South's tradition of grace and decorum. Or maybe we've all been struck by the watching too many reruns of Bravo's Southern Charm. Either way, these baby names are totally cute! Take a look and see if expectant parents should add these names to the list.

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    Here is a Southern name on the rise! Atticus is often associated with Atticus Finch, the hero of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and has been steadily gaining in popularity in recent years. This name has Latin roots but a distinctly Southern vibe. 



    Sweet Caroline! We love a baby name that comes with its own theme song and Caroline is such a classic name. The Southern connection is obvious as both North and South Carolina come from the same name roots as Caroline. Caro would be an adorable nickname option!



    Jolene is a name for parents who aren't put off by the prospect of people starting to sing Dolly Parton songs to their sweet baby girl. Jolene, which is currently a top 500 baby name, likely emerged as a combination of the names "Jo" and "Ellen" and has been associated with man-stealing since the 1970s. 



    There are lots of ways to be a Southern gentleman, including the linen wearing, mint julep sipping, preppy kind. A future prepster needs a classic name and Brooks totally fits the bill! This English name also has a country music connection -- the iconic Garth Brooks!



    Dawson's Creek was peak early 2000s TV and was basically an advertisement for the gorgeous town of Wilmington, North Carolina, where it was filmed. Although the name Pacey is also pretty cute, we like the easy elegance of Dawson! 

  • OPAL


    Opal, which comes from the Sanskrit for "gem" is a vintage name with a sweet Southern sound. Opals are the birthstone for October, which could make this an extra cute choice for a fall baby. Opal was a popular choice a century ago, which makes it ripe for a comeback!



    Parents who are looking for a name that has Southern roots but some hipster street cred might want to consider Merle. This name, which comes from the French for "blackbird," is most associated with classic country singer Merle Haggard. This could be a great choice for music-loving parents!

  • BEAU 


    Well, hello there, handsome! Beau, which can be a shortened version of the more formal Beauregard, comes from the French word for handsome and can be found as part of city names all over the south. Beau (pronounced "Bo") is a great choice for parents who like a name that is elegant and romantic. 



    To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most classic works in American literature. This book, set in a small town in Alabama, was written but the iconic author Harper Lee. The name Harper, which comes from the English for harp, has been growing in popularity and is currently in the top 100 most popular names in the US. 



    Is there any woman who seems more preppy, cute, and quintessentially Southern than Reese Witherspoon? The A-list actress was born in New Orleans and raised in Nashville, so her Southern routes go deep. Reese is a a great name with Southern flair, even for girls who may never set foot on a movie set.  


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    In use for over a thousand years, Louis has been worn by everyone, from kings to athletes to pop stars. What gives this name a Southern edge? There's the flourishing cities of St. Louis in Missouri and Louisville in Kentucky, the diverse state of Louisiana, and dozens of local namesakes from Armstrong to Prima. After a few decades in decline, Louis is beginning to rise again both in the US and overseas.  


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    The name of a few Southern cities, as well as a Texas river, Trinity is a modern spiritual name in the same vein as Grace and Hope. The South has long been a more religious area compared to the rest of the US (at least according to a 2014 Gallup poll). The Holy Trinity is a major aspect of Christianity, so Trinity is a lovely choice for families looking for a faith-based name. 


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    Though this name comes from the city in ancient Egypt, Memphis today is most associated with the Tennessee capital of blues, soul, and rock 'n' roll. Meaning "enduring and beautiful" in Greek and Coptic, the name's musical sound is tempered by its unusual -is ending and historical credibility. 

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    Nicole S. Young/iStock

    While Alexandria has never eclipsed the popularity of sister-name Alexandra, adding that extra "i" packs a lot of punch! The city in Virginia was named for a few members of the Philip Alexander family, in order to convince them to give some of their land to the town. Today, the city is known for federal service, from patents to defense. The name Alexandria is sweeping and sophisticated, elegant and experienced -- why not opt for this luxurious choice?


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    Now that Riley is getting claimed by the girls, Raleigh is a fantastic alternative for boys. It's distinguished yet friendly, with excellent inspiration: explorer Walter Raleigh, for whom the capital of North Carolina is named. Raleigh is an unexpected place-name that's bound to gain attention for its jolly sound.


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    A fun and fashionable route to Maggie, Magnolia is a botanical choice with grace and gravitas. It's the state flower of both Mississippi and Louisiana, as well as a well-loved name in pop culture, from the movie Steel Magnolias to the song "Sugar Magnolia." Feminine but not frilly, Magnolia is a lovely pick for a little girl.

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    Andrii Oleksiienko/iStock

    Actress Reese Witherspoon brought this name into the spotlight when she named her youngest son Tennessee, a lovely and unusual choice. The name is Cherokee in origin, and has a bit of a literary connection via author Tennessee Williams. Nicknames Tenn or Tenny help it feel more casual, making Tennessee an even more delightful pick.


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    After more than a few years trending downward, the sweet and retro Virginia is back on the rise. What makes this name so enticing? There's the lovely vintage sound, there's a plethora of nicknames (including Ginger, Ginny, and Nia, for modern fans), and there are many inspiring Virginias -- Woolf, Hamilton, and O'Hanlon, to name a few. The state was named in honor of Queen Elizabeth I (who was called "The Virgin Queen") at the request of Sir Walter Raleigh.


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    Another popular Southern choice, the name Austin skyrocketed in the 1980s and 1990s. It's now a well-established option alongside similar-sounding Aiden and Aaron, with a more modern edge. The city in Texas was named for Stephen F. Austin, the "founder of Texas" and an early white settler. The name originally comes from a form of August, which makes it a quirky choice for a summer baby.

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    What’s not to like about classic and sophisticated Georgia? There are dozens of fabulous Georgias, from artist O'Keeffe to actress Hale to author Blain, plus the excellent songs "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Georgia on My Mind." It's popular internationally too, making it an accessible choice for many personalities and heritages.


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    This handsome name of a small town in Georgia has a kind and dignified feel to it, perfect for a modern boy. The town was named for the folk hero Nancy Morgan Hart, and has the pleasant meaning of "deer spring." Recently featured on Breaking Bad, Hartwell is an old-fashioned choice with endless potential today.


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    With so much attention recently, this place-name is bound to take off! Selma, of course, was the site of the 1965 civil rights marches led by Martin Luther King Jr.; these marches were immortalized in the Oscar-winning film Selma. This incredible history, as well as the vintage style and pleasantness of the name, make Selma a wonderful choice for those honoring the past and hoping for a better future.

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    This natural choice sounds like a combination of Flynn and Clint, but it's a vintage choice recorded as far back as 1913. It's tough yet handsome, an unexpected choice for a bold baby boy. A few towns in the South bear the name, but the most famous Flint is in Michigan (we know -- not the South, but still) -- whose ongoing water crisis could sour the name a bit.


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    A popular name since the 1990s, Savannah is a fantastic choice -- it's long, girly, and elegant. It fits in with standards Anna and Hannah, but adds a modern twist. Plus, it's got a bit of a Southern drawl but works well no matter where a baby will live. The city in Georgia was named for the Savannah River, which has a few unofficial etymologies, including connections to the Shawnee people and the area's similarity to sweeping African landscapes.


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    Similar in sound to Beau or Bowie, Bayou is an uncommon nature-themed choice with a stylish Southern accent. The word was first recorded in Louisiana, being an English version of the Chocktaw word bayuk. With the American South known as "bayou country," this sweet choice is wonderfully accessible for either a boy or a girl.


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    Love Camila or Amelia but worry they're too popular? Try Camellia. Floral and elegant, this attractive name is used far less often than the other two names but combines the best traits of both of them. The camellia is the state flower of Alabama, and acts as an important symbol in the classic book To Kill a Mockingbird. While nicknames Cam and Cami help it feel more contemporary, long and luscious Camellia is sure to impress.


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    Dallas is one of Texas' iconic cities, and the Dallas-Fort Worth area is the fourth largest city in the US. The name connotes calm historic vibes and also a thriving metropolitan. Dallas successfully straddles the fine line of yesterday and tomorrow in the South. The name is Scottish in origin, meaning "a meadow dwelling."


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    Nicole S. Young/iStock

    A major city in North Carolina, this city was named for the then-queen of Great Britain, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Today, Britain's Princess Charlotte has inspired many Americans to use Charlotte once again! A classic English name, Charlotte combines timeless nobility with accessible friendliness -- a gal certainly doesn't have to be a princess to wear the name with pride. Adorable nickname Charlie adds an extra level of congeniality.

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    This name could honor Southern hero George Washington Carver, an inventor and early black luminary. It also fits in stylistically with other occupational choices, like Carter or Parker. Carver has an artistic connection but feels cool and timeless, the type of name that will age well with a little one.


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    The South has long worn the nickname of Dixie or Dixie's Land, with various musical groups and supermarket chains using the term to indicate their connection to the South. The origins of this term vary -- one theory being that the nickname came out of the use of ten-dollar "dix" notes by French banks. Today, it's a sweet name for a Southern belle. The name has gotten a little more use in recent years, with more fans drawn to its energetic, feminine sound.


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    Early American explorer Daniel Boone is now an almost mythical figure. Though he really did explore some of the South, books and television shows make him out to be a larger-than-life adventurous frontiersman. Still, parents like the name well enough -- it's in the top 1,000 baby names in the US. Not bad for the "rippin'est, roarin'est, fightin'est man the frontier ever knew!"

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    Pretty and polished, Pearl is a retro choice that feels fresh and new. It was a favorite name in the late 19th century, but has begun to gain fans today. The pearl is the state gem of Tennessee, and a favorite among celebrity parents. But any little Pearl is sure to shine all on her own!

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