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

Emily Cardoza | Jun 23, 2017 Pregnancy
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  • Louis

    little Asian boy

    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 United States and overseas.  

  • Trinity

    baby girl glowers

    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 United States (at the very least according to a 2014 Gallup poll). The Holy Trinity is a major aspect of Christianity, and if a faith-based name is important to your family, Trinity is a lovely choice.

  • Memphis

    redhead boy

    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 unique -is ending and historical credibility. If you want something that's somehow both modern and antiquated, Memphis might work for you.

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  • Alexandria

    young african american girl
    iStock.com/Nicole S. Young

    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?

  • Raleigh

    baby in crib

    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.

  • Magnolia

    little girl magnifying glass grass

    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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  • Tennessee

    boy with his hands on face
    iStock.com/Andrii Oleksiienko

    Actress Reese Witherspoon brought this name into the spotlight when she named her youngest son Tennessee, an amicable and elaborate 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.

  • Virginia

    little blond girl

    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.

  • Austin

    baby boy playing outside

    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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  • Georgia

    smiling young girl

    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.

  • Hartwell

    little boy on slide

    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.

  • Selma

    little girl playing with bubbles

    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 recent 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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  • Flint


    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.

  • Savannah

    cute little girl outdoors

    A popular name since the 1990s, Savannah is a fantastic choice -- it's long, girlish, and elegant; it fits in with standards Anna and Hannah, but adds a modern twist; and it's got a bit of a Southern drawl but works well no matter where your 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.

  • Bayou

    little blond boy by water

    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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  • Camellia

    girl playing with bubbles outside

    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.

  • Dallas

    boy blowing on dandelion

    Dallas is the fourth largest city in the United States and the third largest in Texas. 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."

  • Charlotte

    little girl smiling braids
    iStock.com/Nicole S. Young

    A major city in North Carolina, this city was named for the then-queen of Great Britain, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Today, a member of the British royal family has inspired many Americans to use Charlotte once again! A classic English name, Charlotte combines timeless nobility with accessible friendliness -- you certainly don'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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  • Carver

    little boy with hat and sunglasses

    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 your little one.

  • Dixie

    little girl on the beach

    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 and more fans drawn to its energetic, feminine sound.

  • Boone

    boy playing on slide

    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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  • Pearl

    girl among flowers

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

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