Skip to main content
Long Distance MovingMoving Industry News

Top 5 Destinations in the Southern United States

By April 17, 2024No Comments
Destinations in the Southern United States

Top Five Destinations if You’re Thinking of Relocating to the Southern United States – Exploring the Southern Skies

Top 5 destinations in southern america

The Great Migrations

Since the end of the American Civil War, the movement of people between the southern states of the United States and the rest of the country has been mostly one way—from the rural South to the more industrial (and prosperous) North, Northeast, and West Coast.

It was a shift that made perfect sense. Millions of African-Americans, freed from slavery, decided en masse to re-start their lives elsewhere. White Southerners migrated in enormous numbers as well—and to many of the same cities and regions—which offered economic opportunity to individuals and families who had either lost everything or never had much, to begin with.

Why Are So Many Americans Moving Back to the South?

Why americans are moving south

Nashville, TN

The funny thing is, over the past couple of decades, and especially over the last few years, the South has become a magnet for all sorts of Americans—from every possible background. In point of fact, the American South is currently the most populous and fastest-growing part of the United States.

Texas is currently attracting large numbers of migrants (particularly from California) in search of lower taxes, lower property prices, and a lower cost of living generally. Florida is popular for many of the same reasons, but the Sunshine State has an ace up its sleeve: blindingly-white beaches and year-round sunshine.

Starter home in Florida for roughly $250,000 

Starter home in Florida for roughly $250,000

Other parts of the American South are benefitting from reverse migration as well, much of it related to the cost of living on the coasts. It’s a much more affordable region of the country overall. Property prices and rents are much lower. It’s also economically vibrant. Many major US corporations, from Coca-Cola to Bank of America, are based in the South.

Read Here: The Best Moving Companies in California

Relocating to South America

Bank of America Corporate Center (right) – Charlotte, NC

So Where is Everyone Headed?

There’s no question that Florida and Texas–in that order–are driving much of the southward migration in the US at the moment. Both are economic dynamos that promise lower cost of living, lower taxes, and the ability to save money. But other Southern states, like Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas, are equally vibrant. 90 percent of the population growth in the United States in 2022 occurred in the South, which added roughly 1.4 million new residents. The entire region now boasts a population of roughly 130 million—a remarkable figure.

Know Here: Cost of a Long Distance Move

Top 5 Destinations for Americans Relocating to the Southern United States

For Americans thinking seriously about a long-distance move to any of the Southern states, here are the destinations that are top of the heap at the moment:


Top 5 Destinations if You're Relocating to the American South

Woman stretching on a Florida beach at sunrise

More Americans are moving to Florida than any other state–not just in the South, but in the country. A strange and exotic land of endless sunshine and snowy white beaches, sticky heat, year-round air conditioning, occasionally problematic alligators, and some of the country’s finest golf courses, Florida is undeniably unique. There’s a remarkable diversity of…just about everything in Florida, including people, culture, language, lifestyle, and, of course, ecology.

Moving to the Sunshine State

Seven of the 10 cities that Americans are moving to most can be found in the state of Florida—and include, top to bottom, Sarasota, Fort Myers, Lakeland, Port St. Lucie, Ocala, Daytona Beach, and Naples. (On a personal level, I’m an unabashed fan of Vero Beach, which I can’t recommend enough).

That’s an impressive list, and other data largely confirm Florida’s current popularity. A March 2023 report from the real estate company RedFin, for example, identifies Miami as the major city that Americans want to move to most. Four other cities in Florida also feature on the list, with Tampa coming in at number 5, Orlando at number 6, Cape Coral at number 7, and North Port-Sarasota at number 9.

Why americans are moving south in 2024 img

Happy beachgoers in Sunny Isles Beach, FL (in northeast Miami-Dade County)

Why Florida (besides the obvious)?

Florida’s sunshine, beaches, natural beauty, and all-round vitality would be enough to make it an attractive destination at any time, but right now—when Americans are dealing with inflation and skyrocketing property prices—moving to Florida is increasingly seen as a way to save money and live well. GDP is growing at 6% annually, unemployment is under 3% (below the national average), and, of course, there’s no state income tax for individuals. The average home price in the state–just over $392,000–is almost exactly half that of California. In short, becoming a Florida resident has obvious appeal at the moment.

Florida has especially strong retail and IT sectors. Other important industries include manufacturing and construction (a product of the population influx), finance, transportation and warehousing, and professional, scientific, and technical services.

Florida is effectively a giant magnet at the moment, attracting new residents from all over the country. And there’s no sign that things are slowing down.

Read Here: Best Reasons to Move to Florida


Texas Longhorns

The second-largest state in the Union both in area and population, Texas currently boasts over 30 million residents. In the popular imagination, Texas is a land of cowboys, ranches, oil wells, football, and, perhaps, newfound riches. But the reality—as you might expect—is a bit more nuanced. Texas is a state that’s diversifying rapidly in every possible way—racially, culturally, and linguistically—but there’s no doubt at all that its conservative character remains strong, a product of its embrace of individualism and its penchant for low taxes and light regulation of the economy.

What makes Texas so attractive?

Texas’ economy is dynamic. Growth is well above the national average, unemployment is extremely low, and each year more than half a million Americans from other parts of the country decide to make the Lone Star state their home.

At the moment, Texas’ strongest growth is in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, health care, and finance—all of which were expanding at roughly 6% as of February 2024.

Destinations in the Southern United States

Crosswalk in Austin, TX

The cost of living is 6-8% lower in Texas than it is in the United States as a whole, allowing people to save money. Even popular sections of Dallas and Austin are affordable by the standards of the coastal states. The average price of a home in Texas is roughly $299,000.

Read Here: The Best Moving Companies in Texas

Great spots in the Lone Star State

Texas offers endless choices to potential new residents. Austin, with its hot job market—especially in high-tech—remains a thriving (and liberal) cultural hub with wonderful music, unforgettable food, and a wide variety of festivals and events. The median age in the city is 35. All of the pros and cons of urban life can be found in Dallas and Houston. Smaller communities like Aquilla, Bluff Dale, and Kingsbury are renowned for their safety, while Diboll, Clarksville, and Colorado City are known for being especially affordable while still offering excellent quality of life. The Texas Gulf Coast offers the same–as well as gorgeous beaches.

Why americans are moving south in 2024 img4

Cinco Ranch, a highly-rated suburb of Houston, TX

Cinco Ranch, a suburb of Houston, is deemed by many to be the best place to raise a family in the entire state, offering a wonderful quality of life, excellent employment and educational opportunities, and abundant recreation.

North Carolina

Destinations in the Southern United States

The Blue Ridge Mountains under the blue and white sky in western North Carolina

North Carolina is a land of lofty mountains, undulating hills, tidal rivers, lovely beaches, estuaries, marshes, swamps, thick forests, and charming cities. The Tar Heel State never fails to impress.

A business-friendly environment

In July 2022, North Carolina was ranked as the best place to do business in the United States. The state is home to several high-ranking universities and offers excellent employment prospects, a high quality of life, reasonable prices, and a mild climate. In the most recent state population estimate, published in December 2023, North Carolina’s population had increased by 1.3%, or roughly 140,000 residents, over the course of the previous year.

The cost of living is four percent lower in North Carolina than it is in the average US city. The income tax rate is flat—everybody pays the same percentage, regardless of income level. The median price for a family home in the state is just under $370,000.

Read Here: Complete Checklist for Long-Distance Moving

Top spots in North Carolina

Almost any available list of the best places to live in North Carolina has Charlotte at or near the top. It’s a wonderful city – safe and affordable, with a rich cultural scene, a bevy of sports teams, tons of open green space, and plenty of economic opportunity.

Destinations in the Southern United States

Asheville, NC at sunset

Asheville, a city of about 95,000 in the Blue Ridge Mountains—and known for its historic architecture and uniquely vibrant arts scene—actually tops Charlotte on many lists. Its lovely downtown core is especially noteworthy. Other top spots include Wilmington, Durham, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Chapel Hill, and the Outer Banks. The space between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill is known as the Research Triangle and hosts three major research universities (North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Numerous high-tech companies call the area home.

South Carolina

Destinations in the Southern United States

Picturesque street in Charleston, NC

Renowned for its popular vacation towns, South Carolina is also celebrated for its rich cultural traditions, its balmy climate, its lovely beaches, and its seemingly infinite number of first-rate golf courses.

The pull of the Palmetto State

South Carolina’s economy is strong, the cost of living is reasonable, housing is affordable, and all of these factors—plus the sheer beauty of the state’s natural environment—has led it to becoming the third fastest-growing state in the country in 2022, right behind Texas and Florida. (It added just under 90,000 new residents that year). Unemployment, at 3%, is below the national average, and GDP sits just below 6%. The median cost of a family home in North Carolina is $370,500. The retail sector dominates the economy, but construction, IT, manufacturing, transportation, and health care all make significant contributions.

While Charleston is probably the first spot people think of when they think of South Carolina (no surprise, given its historic architecture, legendary eateries, and unforgettable atmosphere), there’s no shortage of other towns and cities capable of charming those who may be thinking of relocating to the Palmetto State.

The Blue Ridge Mountains and South Carolina’s impressive coastline and lakes are a major draw, obviously, but the state is even more renowned for its natural friendliness and rich cultural traditions.

Read Here: Is Self-Packing for a move worth it?

Top spots to consider in South Carolina

Many published lists of “the best places to live in South Carolina” put the city of Columbia at number 1, noting its location in the center of the state, its mild climate, and its vibrant cultural scene. And the city has 14 golf courses!

Charleston, Greenville, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Sullivan’s Island, and Summerville all feature highly on most lists as well. Charleston, it goes with saying, offers a truly unique fusion of history, Southern charm, unforgettable food, rich culture, coastal vistas, harbor-front parks, and impressive architecture. Many suggest it’s the most beautiful city in the American South and it’s hard to argue with that claim.


Destinations in the Southern United States

Women walking in the Buckhead Forest neighborhood of Atlanta

Georgia sits in the heart of the Old South. When Union General Francis T. Sherman sought to end the Civil War in late 1864, he promised he would do it by “making Georgia howl.” And that’s exactly what he did – burning farms and destroying crops, roads, and personal property in order to demoralize Georgians and convince them to stop supporting the Confederate cause. Post-Civil War, millions of Blacks left Georgia, but a lot also stuck around and many more returned after 1970. Today, fully one-third of Georgia’s population is Black, and the Black population of Atlanta is five times what it was in 1970.

Georgia’s strengths

Georgia’s people are incredibly diverse and so is the state’s landscape. You can move quickly from a vibrant city like Atlanta to smaller, slower-moving communities with quaint Main Streets and the atmosphere of a bygone age. Atlanta and its environs have seen remarkable growth over the past few decades in areas like finance, insurance, tourism, technology, manufacturing, real estate, the hosting of conventions and trade shows, the service sector, logistics, transportation, film, and communications. It’s all light-years beyond where Atlanta was even a few decades ago.

Destinations in the Southern United States

Atlanta at night

The cost of living in Georgia is below the national average. Quality of life—and in particular opportunities for work-life balance—are high. Whether you’re interested in city life, the Blue Ridge Mountains, or the miles of gorgeous coastline in the southeast, Georgia has a ton to be proud of. Culture, food, art, and entertainment all have an inimitable spirit that draws heavily from both past and present

Destinations in the Southern United States

Tree in Alpharetta, GA

Economic growth is strong. Unemployment is low. The population is increasing rapidly and will be 11 million in 2023.

The Best of Georgia

Many of the places in Georgia that boast exceptional quality of life are suburbs of Atlanta (like Johns Creek and Milton) and neighborhoods within the city itself (like Atlantic Station, Midtown, and Buckhead Forest). The town of Alpharetta also ranks very highly and has gained almost 10,000 new residents over the past decade (to reach approximately 65,000). The average price of a home in Georgia is currently around $322,000.

International Van Lines: We Know the South!

When it comes to helping Americans and others relocate to Texas, Florida, Georgia, or the Carolinas–or any other state in the South or across the nation–one full-service, low-cost moving company stands head and shoulders above all the rest: International Van Lines (IVL).

IVL is consistently ranked among the very best domestic and international movers on planet Earth by some of the most respected publications in the country, including Forbes, USA Today, US News, and Consumer Affairs. Other moving companies try (and try hard), but none has mastered the logistics of long-distance interstate moving the way IVL has. Check out the full list of IVL moving services below.

One of IVL’s premier moving vans

One of IVL’s premier moving vans

Where does IVL operate?

The answer to this is simple. IVL operates everywhere. Every state in the Union. More than 180 countries around the world. And, of course, we’re based in the South—in Coral Springs, Florida to be precise (near Fort Lauderdale). So we love the idea of helping fellow Americans move to the part of the country we call home. 

Why IVL?

We handle your personal belongings as if they were our own. IVL has the knowledge, experience, personnel, and infrastructure that no other moving company—local, long-distance, or international—can come close to matching. These assets give IVL a truly unique degree of flexibility and resilience. We can move more, we can do it faster, and—invariably—we do it better than any other moving company. Whether you’re relocating to Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Florida—or any other state. IVL is uniquely positioned to get your stuff where it needs to be.

Click the link for a free moving quote or contact IVL at (877) 647-1336 to speak directly with a member of our team. We’d love to hear from you.

IVL Team in action

IVL team members at HQ in Coral Springs, FL (with founder and CEO Josh Morales, fourth from left)

A Full List of IVL’s Long-Distance Moving Services

Wherever you may be headed in the American South, IVL stands ready to help. For a ton of useful info on IVL’s comprehensive door-to-door relocation services and mastery of the entire moving process, click here and here. In a nutshell, here’s what IVL offers, regardless of where you are or where you’re headed:

  • Full packing and unpacking services.
  • Furniture assembly and disassembly.
  • Comprehensive ocean and/or air freight services, though most moves to the South rely on IVL’s fleet of moving vans.
  • IVL’s storage services include short-term storage, long-term storage, and temperature-controlled storage.
  • Debris removal.
  • Comprehensive long-distance vehicle transport via enclosed or open trailer. Click here for additional details. Any and all motor vehicles can be moved internationally using our roll-on-roll-off (“RoRo”) service. (Don’t forget to apply for a new driver’s license. It’s all too easy to put it off. Apply as soon as you can after you move).
  • Liability protection including full value protection.
  • Moving services for unusually delicate items (e.g., pianos, artwork, antiques, and electronics).
  • Comprehensive long-distance corporate relocation and military relocation services.
  • Customs clearance management (for international moves).
  • Live chat and customer service 24/7.
  • Easy shipment tracking from your moving date to your move-in date.
  • Transparent, easy-to-understand estimates and moving quotes (check out IVL’s online pricing calculator for a clear breakdown of moving costs).
Southern Skies - Top 5 Destinations if You're Relocating to the American South
Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

To promote speed and efficiency, IVL occasionally works with local moving companies. IVL also requires a deposit—typically one-quarter of the final bill—though this is refundable in the event of cancellation.

Is International Van Lines Fully Accredited?

Yes. IVL is licensed by DOT, FMC, and AMSA.

What Do IVL’s Customers Have to Say?

Our Trustpilot customer reviews average 4.8/5 stars. Other moving companies can’t say the same.

International Van Lines


Contact IVL today to speak directly with a member of our team. For your free moving quote click here!


Leave a Reply