Whether you hail from the South or just like the feeling of balmy afternoons, the calm of a porch swing, and the kindness of strangers, southern baby names have potential...for families from coast to coast! 

Southern names somehow manage to feel traditional and totally contemporary at the same time—which could explain their rise in popularity in all regions. So what makes a baby name southern? A big trend among southern parents is to impart a place name or family name on their little one. Naming your child after a famed country singer or other southern celebrity is another option. Or you could simply look for a southern baby name that calls to mind the comfort and peace of a sunny southern afternoon.  

Whether you’re looking for a southern boy name or southern girl name, here are some ideas to jumpstart your search. And P.S.: If you want to Super-Southernize your baby’s name, consider Elizabeth or Jo for a little lady’s middle name; and Layne or Brooks for the middle spot with Baby Boy.  

Now, sit back with a sweet tea in hand and take note of some of our favorite Southern baby names!

Southern Girl Names 

Caroline: One of the classics, Caroline is actually the female version of Charles (another popular name down south!). Plus, it’s akin to Carolina, the name of not one but two southern states. 

Collins: A surname with European origins traditionally used for boys, Collins has picked up steam among southern baby girls in recent years.   

Daisy: With a warmer climate comes more flowers...which maybe explains why nature names are popular down south. The daisy is a flower that does well in the southern soil, and it’s a pretty girls’ name that will be just perfect for your Southern belle. 

Ellie: This name means “bright, shining one” and is a stand-out pick for southern baby girls. It also satisfies your nickname needs for Elizabeth, Eleanor, or Ellen (three other popular Southern baby girl names!).

Georgia: When it comes to place-themed southern girl names, the state of Georgia is on our mind. (See what we did there?) Interestingly, Georgia has an actual meaning too—“farmer”—which feels southern in its own right. Georgeanne and Georgette are adorable alternatives for your little peach. 

Grace: An English name of virtue, this mellow moniker has religious connotations and also evokes loveliness and charm, whether your baby girl is southern or not.  

Magnolia: The magnolia is a beloved southern flower that grows on tall, strong trees and smells like lemony heaven. White magnolias are a common flower in southern bridal bouquets and symbolize purity and nobility.  

Palmer: This southern baby name, which means “holder of the palm,” is technically unisex, but it’s been growing in popularity with southern baby girls. Southern Charm’s Cameran Eubanks gave the name to her daughter in 2017, upping the profile of this understated southern name.   

Scarlett: A color name deriving from English for red, Scarlett’s popularity dates back to the classic novel Gone With the Wind. These days, the name is solidly in the top 100 baby names, landing at #20 (perhaps due to Scarlett Johansson’s rising star?). 

Sutton: A stunning baby name meaning “from the southern homestead,” this is another unisex baby name that has been growing in popularity for little girls. Triple-threat and TV star Sutton Foster is likely to have lots of little name twins within the next few years. 

Southern Boy Names

Alden: This baby boy may need a few years to grow into his name’s meaning—“old, wise friend”—but it’s still a beautiful sentiment. Bonus: If you’re a Jason Aldean fan, you can impart it as a quiet nod to the star. And Alden Ehrenreich, the heartthrob actor now playing Han Solo, makes it even cooler for the next generation. 

Bennett: Meaning “blessed,” this boy’s name is about as southern as they come! The Medieval form of Benedict, Bennett is a common yet special boys’ name currently hanging just outside the Top 100 Names in the U.S. (And is Benny not the cutest nickname ever?) 

Harrison: Like many southern things, this name is a total classic. In addition to gracing the likes of Harrison Ford, George Harrison, and other nostalgic and newer celebrities, it’s also just a solid Southern boys name; and a derivative of the English, Harry.  

Hunter: Meaning (no surprise) “one who hunts,” this boy’s name is quintessentially southern. And it’s been hovering around the 50th most popular boys’ name in recent years. 

Luke: This southern boy’s name has biblical and Greek roots, but has evolved into a cowboy-ish pick for southern baby boys (and beloved country stars, like Luke Bryan!).

Mason: A name with English origins meaning “stone worker,” this one evokes hard work and good ethics. It’s also just so darn cute; which is perhaps why celebs have turned to it, including Kourtney Kardashian, who used it for her first son back in 2009.

Rhett: Rhett means “advice,” which is short, sweet, and frank just like the sound of the name itself. It’s another Gone With the Wind inspired choice, made popular as a first name after the release of that book. In the states, Rhett was originally a surname rooted in South Carolina, as it was brought to that state from Dutch colonists back in the late 1600s.  

Sterling: Your baby boy will absolutely shine with a name that means “of the highest quality.” The obvious association is silver, and Sterling has been a solid name pick for southern babies for years. A similar choice is Steel and these two would pair perfectly for a set of twin boys. 

Walker: It has English origins and is a common surname throughout the states, but Walker also makes a sturdy first name for southern baby boys. (Plus, it’s the “W” in the Texan born-and-bred George W. Bush’s name). 

Wyatt: Translating to “brave in war” and sitting high on the baby name list at #26, Wyatt is a surname from the Middle Ages that started growing in popularity as a first name after Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell imparted it on their son in the ‘80s. 

Gender-Neutral Southern Baby Names

Harley: It’s a unisex southern name derived of two parts from Old English: “hara” or hare, and “leah” or clearing/meadow. Harley is a modern take on a nature-inspired name with a soft side..that also could be interpreted with a bit of a harder-edge if you’re a motorcycle enthusiast. 

Julep: Sweet, sassy, and oh-so-southern. Consider this precious moniker which means “rose water” for your southern baby boy or girl and bear in mind it also doubles as a delectable summer cocktail enjoyed down south. What could be better? 

Parker: The English occupational name “park keeper” is a Southern name that has swagger. While three times likelier to be given to a baby boy, Parker is a pretty pick for baby girls as well.  

Presley: Perhaps it’s most relevant due to the late, great Elvis Presley, but this darling boy or girl baby name is hip in its own right. And it’s super southern to boot, with the direct meaning, “priest’s meadow,” a pretty straightforward derivation of the “God’s country” concept, which is how some refer to the southern states. 

Southern: It’s jaw-droppingly to-the-point, but what a beautiful way to pay homage to the South with a baby name—and a perfect (if obvious!) way to round out this list of southern baby names!

Final Thoughts on Southern Baby Names

Did you find the baby name you’re looking for? If these southern baby names didn’t quite charm you, here’s some more baby name inspiration:

And while choosing a baby name is a BIG part of baby prep, so is planning a baby shower and putting together your baby registry (while you’re at it, don’t forget to register for the ultimate baby gift: SNOO Smart Sleeper!)

About Jenny Studenroth Gerson

Jenny Studenroth Gerson is an Atlanta-based lifestyle journalist and novelist (Let Me Let You Go, 2020). Her work can be seen in publications including HuffPost, Cosmo, and WSJ, among many others. Jenny has researched thousands of baby names, combed through hundreds of nursery designs, and curated dozens of baby shower guides, making her absolutely the mom—and writer—you want to talk to when planning for Baby. When not meeting deadlines, she is chasing toddlers or chugging coffee—or both! Find her on Instagram @ourlifeinrosegold for mom hacks and more.

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