When I was a girl growing up on Long Island, my dad and I were about the only country music fans I knew. I was obsessed with all things southern, and a bit of an anomaly in a part of the world where pizza, beaches, and Billy Joel reigned supreme. I even recall confessing to my diary at around eleven-years-old that it was my secret wish to one day become a Georgia peach, whatever I thought that meant at the time!
But nowadays, country music has transcended the masses and even crossed over into pop culture. The laid-back, cut-off jeans lifestyle that everyone was croning about in my favourite songs in the 90’s has made its way West and North. Southern style is big — it’s happy and chill. And so are the sweet, sometimes nostalgic, and often irresistible southern baby names that come with it.
I did get that long-ago wish of becoming a Georgia peach just last year, and my New York family unit is loving the warmer weather and slower pace down in these parts. But no matter where you’re bringing up your little ones, it might be a good idea to bring a bit of southern charm into their moniker.
Here are some classic southern inspired baby names for boys and girls to consider:
Atlanta (G): Atlanta, Georgia (where I now live!) is a colourful, international, progressive city with an extra dose of chic. Give your little girl this name and she’s bound to grow into a force to be reckoned with.
Augusta (G): Softer and less edgy than Atlanta, this small Georgia city also makes a cute southern girls’ name.
Austin (U): Another southern city that serves as a beautiful baby name, Austin TX is what I like to think of as the Brooklyn of the South. It’s bohemian, artsy, and tons of fun. What a cool unisex name option for your little one!
Beau (B): Just about the most elegant and classy southern boys’ name ever, this one means “handsome” in French and it’s never going out of style down here.
Belle (G): The girl’s answer to Beau, this short and sweet southern girls’ name is lovely on its own or adds flair and charm as a middle name to just about anything in the first position.
Brooks (B): Distinguished and solid, a one-syllable name for baby boy that instantly evokes southern charm.
Carolina (G): Why not name your little girl after one of these quintessentially southern states? Carolina literally means beautiful and happy, so it couldn’t be a prettier choice.
Cash (U): In some circles, this wealth-themed choice might seem ostentatious, but we southern mamas love that it’s simple, chic, and rolls right off the tongue.
Clay (B): The southern states are known for their red clay soil, giving localized meaning to this strong nature name for boys.
Colton (B): Derived from the words “coal” or “town,” it’s more the cowboyish feeling of this moniker than the actual meaning that gives it such a southern vibe.
Cricket (G): Historically used as a common nickname for Catherine or Christine, Cricket is taking on speed as a given first name and is popular down south.
Daisy (G): Flower names are big from coast to coast, but this one gives off an especially southern vibe. Not to mention that daisies grow best in drier soils and direct sun, two things the southern states are good at.
Dallas (U): An urban epicenter with a good mix of honky-tonk and high fashion, Dallas is a perfect southern baby name for your little boy or girl.
Delilah (G): This girls’ name with Hebrew origins translates loosely to “flirty,” and its three-syllable construction makes it a southern staple. Want to know why? Say it with a southern accent, and you’ll get it!
Delta (G): After what’s known as the deepest part of the south, the Mississippi Delta, this is a beautiful and different baby girl name. This region produced the Blues, and its people have been incremental to change throughout the storied history of the south.
Dixie (G): This name literally refers to the region of the country called “The Deep South,” and it has a spunky and lighthearted feel to it that your little girl will love.
Finch (B): Plucked right out of one of the most influential books to ever come out of the south, To Kill a Mockingbird, Finch is a creative choice for your baby boy.
Georgia (G): Another place name that works for baby girls, Georgia lends well to the adorable nickname Georgie, and won’t feel out of place no matter what part of the country you live in.
Granger (B): A rustic name that’s gaining popularity recently thanks to country superstar Granger Smith, this boys’ name has an irresistable cowboy-like feel.
Gunnar (B): Meaning “bold warrior,” its origins are in Norse mythology, but last year this one shot to the top 300 in US baby names. I first heard of it while watching the TV show Nashville, and it’s been a favourite on my southern baby list ever since.
Houston (B): One of the hottest and busiest southern cities, it’s a great pick for a fun-loving little boy.
Hunter (B): Hunting is pretty popular around here and this name is thusly a top pick!
Jameson (B): A name of English derivation that means “the son of James,” this one is a common and strong choice for southern boys.
Jolene (G): Thanks to Dolly Parton’s famous song by the same name, this pretty country girl name will never be forgotten. It rolls off the tongue beautifully and has an undeniably southern feel.
Luke (B): Meaning “light giving,” Luke is a precious name for baby boy, and thanks to the stardom of country singer Luke Bryan, it’s also a cool-kid southern boy name.
Maybelle (G): It’s a southernized version of the French “Mabel” meaning “beautiful one,” and it couldn’t be cuter!
Miranda (G): Step aside, Granger and Luke, because Ms. Lambert is just as famous and her name is just as cool.
Montgomery (B): Evoking wealth and power, it’s also a city in Alabama.
RaeLynn (G): I was shocked to see how many mums in my birth-month Facebook groups picked this seemingly unique name for their daughters; this modern invented name currently holds the number 115 spot for US girls.
Rhett (B): It was a South Carolina surname that took off thanks to Gone with the Wind, and still ranks high for baby boys.
Savannah (G): Such a beautiful name for an equally lovely city; this graceful pick for baby girl is among my personal favourites on the list.
Sawyer (U): It’s in the top 100 for boys and only about 100 places behind that for girls. Meaning “woodcutter” or someone who works with a saw, Sawyer has southern undertones.
Tennessee (U): Another place name that shouldn’t be overlooked: Reese Witherspoon’s youngest son has this strong southern name. Although more often given to boys than girls these days, back in the 1840’s it was considered a girls’ name with the nickname Tincy. Adorable!
Tucker (B): It’s an English occupational name, but gets high points in the south for its country feel and goes-with-the-flow sound.
Vera (G): Meaning “faith,” Vera is a special and quiet way to give a nod to one’s beliefs. In the south, faith is big, so it follows that Vera would be popular.
Walker (B): Traditionally a surname with a stately feel, it’s big in the south as a first name for this exact reason.
Wiley (B): Rather than the obvious Willie (for Nelson), this modern take on the name William is a perfect country boy name.
Whitley (G): It’s barely in the top 1,000 US baby girl names, but I predict this moniker with English roots meaning “white meadow” will rise soon. It’s both refined and fresh, making it an excellent choice for a southern baby girl.
Wyatt (B): Meaning “brave in war,” this bold baby boy name is currently just outside the top 25 picks. Ever since Wyatt Earp, a well-known American frontiersman, this popular southern boys’ name has remained in favour.
Wynona/Winona (G): With Sioux origins translating to “first-born daughter,” it’s a pretty pick for your first little girl. It’s also the name of famous southern singer Wynonna Judd, giving it major country cred.