2 Florida cities rank among the 20 friendliest towns in the South. Here’s where and why

Is Miami friendly?

If you didn’t get cut off on I-95 today and the ventanita gave you a little extra cafe, sure, why not?

But the Magic City didn’t make the cut of the friendliest towns in the South. And neither did any other place in South Florida.

But Florida does have two cities on the list, with friendliness bolstering their quirky charms, deep history and vibrant art scenes.

What makes a town friendly? And who made the list?

Southern Living has some answers.

The popular publication recently surveyed readers, asking them to share their favorite friendly places. More than 20,000 people responded with comments about their hometowns and places they’ve visited.

“The locations range from the beach, to the mountains, to the Texas hills, but they all have one thing in common: A desire to make everyone feel welcome, no matter where they are from,” Southern Living writes.

Southern Living narrowed the list down to the 20 friendliest towns in the South, two of which are in Florida. Covington, Louisiana, earned the top spot on the list.

Sorry, Miami.

So, which two towns from the Sunshine State made the cut?

Here’s the rundown:

St. Augustine

St. Augustine was ranked No. 8 of the 20 friendliest cities in the South. What Southern Living said about the city:

This Florida favorite is rich in history, nature, and according to readers, friendly people. When it was named The South’s Best city in 2023, writer Valerie Rains visited St. Augustine and let the locals be her guide. As she wrote: “From picturesque brunch spots to windswept beaches, St. Augustine’s fan club never steered me wrong.” Through personal recommendations and helpful tips, she found a gracious place that has loads of appeal way beyond the touristy areas (although those spots have their charms as well). Or as one reader put it: “They make you feel like family. One that gets along.”

Fernandina Beach

Fernandina Beach was ranked No. 20 of the 20 friendliest cities in the South. What Southern Living said about the city:

According to our readers, Fernandina is a little slice of Old Florida paradise. And, not surprisingly, spending time in paradise tends to put people in a good mood. “Everyone is happy and welcoming, no matter where you encounter them—bars, restaurants, shops, on the street,” said one person. “You meet strangers on the beach and they will take pictures for you and quickly you learn their whole life story,” said another. And all that friendliness can turn visitors into locals. One reader said: “My husband I were born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida but lived away for over 30 years. We decided to move back to Florida and retire. We chose Fernandina for the small town feel, welcoming environment, and a slower paced small town with all the amenities.”

Top 20 friendliest cities

1. Covington, Louisiana

2. Beaufort, South Carolina

3. Fairhope, Alabama

4. Spartanburg, South Carolina

5. Oxford, Mississippi

6. Southport, North Carolina

7. Round Top, Texas

8. St. Augustine, Florida

9. Fredericksburg, Texas

10. Laurel, Mississippi

11. Carolina Beach, North Carolina

12. Eureka Springs, Arkansas

13. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

14. Hendersonville, North Carolina

15. Williamsburg, Virginia

16. Ocean Springs, Mississippi

17. Auburn, Alabama

18. Paducah, Kentucky

19. Henderson, Kentucky

20. Fernandina Beach, Florida