These four Mississippi communities made this year’s Southern Living Best Small Towns list. Do you live in one of them?

Published 8:08 am Saturday, March 11, 2023

The annual Southern Living list of 50 Best Small Towns in the South proves that big things definitely come in small packages. That is certainly true for the four Mississippi communities that made the 2023 list, which was recently unveiled on the Southern Living website in March.

The three Mississippi communities that made an appearance are:

Ocean Springs at No. 18

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The community on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was touted for its thriving arts community, vibrant entertainment districts, delicious food offerings and unique small-town charm. The writers highlighted Aunt Jenny’s Catfish Restaurant and the award-winning restaurant Vestige as examples of the wide-ranging food options in the town.

Oxford at No. 22

Calling it the South’s quintessential college town, Southern Living writers highlighted the home of the Ole Miss campus for its literary and arts scene and said the community had a refined sense of Southern style.

Laurel at No. 25

The home of HGTV stars Erin and Ben Napier, Laurel has been turning heads of late. Southern Living says the town has become a Southern hot spot that has revitalized its downtown, thanks to the efforts of the Napiers and other locals. The writes say a trip to Laurel would not be complete without a visit to the Napier’s flagship store, the Laurel Mercatile Co.

Bay St. Louis at No. 47

Bay St. Louis blends the best of New Orleans with the cool vibes of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, according to Southern Living writers. The community, located less than an hour from New Orleans, was described as being a tried and true coastal town with a funky, artsy beat. The community offers beaches, water trails and a downtown with a French Quarter feel that can’t be beat, the writers said.

The list, which was compiled using recommendations by Southern Living readers, is highly coveted by small communities across the south, which use the ranking for publicity and marketing.

The complete list of 50 towns is below: 

  1. St. Augustine, Florida
  2. Beaufort, South Carolina
  3. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
  4. Dahlonega, Georgia
  5. Blowing Rock, North Carolina
  6. Fairhope, Alabama
  7. Tybee Island, Georgia
  8. Sanibel, Florida
  9. Folly Beach, South Carolina
  10. Fredericksburg, Texas
  11. Beaufort, North Carolina
  12. Hendersonville, North Carolina
  13. Abingdon, Virginia
  14. Helen, Georgia
  15. Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama
  16. Bluffton, South Carolina
  17. Eureka Springs, Arkansas
  18. Ocean Springs, Mississippi
  19. Hot Springs, Arkansas
  20. Mount Dora, Florida
  21. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
  22. Oxford, Mississippi
  23. Chincoteague, Virginia
  24. Bardstown, Kentucky
  25. Laurel, Mississippi
  26. Berea, Kentucky
  27. Leipers Fork, Tennessee
  28. Wimberly, Texas
  29. Middleburg, Virginia
  30. Lewisburg, West Virginia
  31. Broken Bow, Oklahoma
  32. Natchitoches, Louisiana
  33. St. Francisville, Louisiana
  34. Guthrie, Oklahoma
  35. Paducah, Kentucky
  36. Fernandina Beach, Florida
  37. Port Aransas, Texas
  38. Mountain Home, Arkansas
  39. Dunedin, Florida
  40. Covington, Louisiana
  41. Georgetown, South Carolina
  42. Williamsburg, Virginia
  43. Round Top, Texas
  44. Jonesborough, Tennessee
  45. Boone, North Carolina
  46. Thomasville, Georgia
  47. Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
  48. Shepherdstown, West Virginia
  49. Danville, Kentucky
  50. Opelika, Alabama