COLLEGE TOWNS OF THE SOUTH
We tapped college newspaper editors across the region to profile their towns and asked legendary coaches, spirited alums, university presidents, and prominent professors to share their favorite spots.
EDITED BY KEVIN BENEFIELD
Beyond the Tailgate
College Towns of the South: Athens, Georgia
Known for its music, football, and vibrant culture, Athens in northeast Georgia is both sophisticated and sweet. The Victorian-era downtown is filled with galleries and boutiques, while its concert venues lure international acts and its restaurants earn raves from Food & Wine.
College Towns of the South: Auburn, Alabama
In the sea of blue, orange, and white, people hug each other as they celebrate another win by the Tigers. But the Auburn family spirit doesn’t stop with football; it can be seen all over town throughout the year.
College Towns of the South: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
As the state capital, Baton Rouge is the epicenter of Louisiana’s political life and a great place to discover the state’s past. The city’s vibrant culture, a blend of French, English, and Spanish influences, rivals that of its older sister, New Orleans.
College Towns of the South: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
From James Taylor to Eric Church, Carolina lingers in the hearts of its songwriting sons. This sentiment is shared by students and alumni of the oldest public university in the country, UNC-Chapel Hill, and by those who visit this town in the Piedmont of North Carolina.
College Towns of the South: Clemson, South Carolina
Nestled in the backwoods of Upstate South Carolina, Clemson is home to a vibrant college community and storied football program; it’s also an outstanding example of a small town done right.
College Towns of the South: Columbia, South Carolina
The state capital and home to the University of South Carolina, Columbia encapsulates classic Southern charm and the vigor of USC students. And the city’s evolving landscape still manages to cling to its historical roots.
College Towns of the South: Gainesville, Florida
Nestled in the wetlands of North Central Florida, Gainesville mixes vibrant academia with Old Florida charm. The town is united by football, and on...
College Towns of the South: Knoxville, Tennessee
Although Knoxville retains its Southern grit, the east Tennessee city has put on some polish in the last three decades. The downtown is home to the bustling University of Tennessee campus, as well as a vibrant urban center offering a blend of old and new, rustic and refined.
College Towns of the South: Oxford, Mississippi
Named after the university town of Oxford, England, this north-central Mississippi town was founded in 1837 by three men who wanted to establish a site for the state’s first higher-learning institution. Now, more than 175 years later, Oxford is home to the University of Mississippi (colloquially known as Ole Miss), as well as a rich cultural and literary history.
College Towns of the South: Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee merges the beauty of a small Southern town with the upbeat lifestyle of a big city. Florida’s state capital offers lush parks and outdoor adventure, grand old homes and a booming nightlife.
College Towns of the South: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
When most people think of Tuscaloosa, they think of the Crimson Tide. But those who know this city well think of: fishermen reeling in bluegill on Lake Tuscaloosa; students jogging along the town’s Riverwalk; kids filling up on biscuits at Rama Jama’s across from Bryant-Denny Stadium.
College Towns of the South: Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville may not have a big-conference college, but it still plays host to one of the SEC’s biggest games. But as you’d expect from the largest city in the contiguous United States, Jacksonville has much more to offer than the annual football classic.