The Most Charming Southern States, According to Southerners Themselves

A new survey of 5,000 southerners rated some states higher on southern hospitality than others.

Joel Carillet/E+/Getty Images
Joel Carillet/E+/Getty Images
Joel Carillet/E+/Getty Images

Much of the South is known for having a certain charm, from quirky roadside attractions and quaint small towns to friendly locals who are sweeter than sweet tea. But which state truly takes the cake when it comes to being the most charming around?

A recent survey of 5,000 Americans commissioned by Oddspedia, a sports and entertainment data and betting site, aimed to uncover which states most embody southern hospitality. The top spot on the resulting “Southern Hospitality Index” went to Tennessee, which is known for its music capital along with other cities full of unique charm like Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. Coming in second place, just a tenth of a point behind, is the big peach state, Georgia, home to the city of southern hospitality, Atlanta, and taking the third spot is coastal South Carolina.

Tied at the bottom of the index as the least charming states are Delaware (which, we’d argue, is Delaware really even the South?), and Florida, the sprawling vacation destination for many. Oddspedia’s ranking was based on charm, politeness, helpfulness, and friendliness of each state. The 5,000 people polled were from the South, and were asked to rank their own state and other southern states based on these factors.

Below is the full ranking of southern states according to the “Southern Hospitality Index.”

1. Tennessee
2. Georgia
3. South Carolina
4. Louisiana
5. North Carolina
6. Kentucky
7. Alabama
8. Virginia
9. Texas
10. Mississippi
11. Arkansas
12. West Virginia
13. Oklahoma
14. Maryland
15. Delaware
16. Florida

The website also asked respondents to name the most charming celebrities hailing from the South, and it’s no surprise that the darling patron saint sweetheart Dolly Parton took the top spot (she also hails from the top charming state as well). With her signature wit and lovable friendly laugh, Dolly Parton has also embodied helpfulness throughout her long career. Parton has brought awareness and financial aid to a variety of causes such as childhood literacy, was one of the major donors to help fund the research and development of the Covid-19 vaccine, and in 2022 she received a Courage and Civility award from billionaire Jeff Bezos, which gave Parton $100 million to support charitable causes of her choosing. If there ever was a southern hospitality icon, it’s Dolly Parton. We’ll always love you and your southern charm, Dolly!

Looking for more travel inspo?

If you’re ready for an adventure but not sure where you’d like to go or what to do, we’re on it. The best new hotels opening up around the world. The most exciting places to travel without a passport. The world’s best beaches, as ranked by travel influencers. It’s all here along with all the travel news you need to stay informed and inspired.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTikTokTwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube.

Lisa White is a contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Instagram.


Mad Mex’s New Menu Item Is Inspired by a Popular Mexican Street Food

mad mex chicken al pastor

Mexican restaurant chain Mad Mex has dropped a new protein, and it’s one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.

Enter, Chicken Al Pastor. It’s traditionally made with pork and grilled on a spinning rotisserie with a pineapple sitting a top, but Mad Mex has put its own spin on it, serving chicken bathed in an Al Pastor marinade with a touch of juicy pineapple.

You can order the protein-packed filling in your favourite burrito, bowl, quesadilla, nachos, or in a taco.

As always, these things are here for a good time, not a long time. Pop into your local Mad Mex restaurant, order delivery or through the Mad Mex app today.

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