Southern Living names Charleston #1 in 2023 South’s Best Awards

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Readers of Southern Living magazine have given the Holy City another top ranking in its annual South’s Best Awards.

For the sixth year, the Charleston region ranked at the top of the awards, which recognize readers’ favorite destinations and experiences, covering everything from cities and small towns to restaurants and hotels.

The magazine noted Charleston’s “vibrant culinary scene, fantastic shops and boutiques, the coastal breezes blowing in over the Battery–it’s no shock that The Holy City stays at the top of this list year after year.”

Explore Charleston Board Chair and Bulldog Tours Founder John LaVerne said he is thankful for the “prestigious accolades.”

“The exposure from the award reinforces to travelers the attributes that make our region a premier destination, from our vibrant urban core to our beautiful island communities,” LaVerne said. “Being honored for the sixth year demonstrates our ability to remain relevant and to consistently provide high-quality, engaging and authentic visitor experiences in a highly-competitive industry.”

Greenville was the only other South Carolina town to rank this year. It came in at 7th place.

Savannah came in at second place and Asheville came in third place. Atlanta and Nashville rounded out the top five.

Additional honors for 2 restaurants, Folly Beach & Georgetown

In addition to the honor for Charleston, Rodney Scott’s BBQ was named South’s Best BBQ Joint in South Carolina. The magazine notes that Scott has built a “multi-state whole hog empire” with locations in Alabama, Atlanta, and another on the way in Nashville.

“It all started in 2017 at the flagship on King Street in downtown Charleston, where Scott introduced city diners to the Pee Dee style of ‘burn barrel’ cooking he learned at his parents’ restaurant in the small South Carolina town of Hemingway,” the magazine’s website states.

It says Scott’s “tongue-tingling vinegar and red pepper sauce” is what made Scott a Southern barbecue star.

Readers voted Mount Pleasant-based Page’s Okra Grill as the Best Locally-Owned Restaurant in South Carolina. Southern Living says Page’s cemented itself “as a standout in a city full of destination-worthy dining.”

“The family-run restaurant offers an irresistible menu of elevated but familiar Southern stapes, like chicken fried steak, barbecue-filled egg rolls, and fried green tomatoes with roasted red pepper and peach jam,” the website states.

Since it sources much of its seafood locally, the magazine says that ordering seafood at Page’s is “always a good idea.”

Meanwhile, the cities of Folly Beach and Georgetown ranked among the South’s Best Tiny Towns.

Folly Beach is “the kind of place where the only footwear required is flip-flops and the only rule is to have a good time,” Southern Living says. It also mentions the Folly Beach Pier, which just reopened after extensive renovations.

For Georgetown, Southern Living cites the state’s Hammock Coast well-known “rich history, generous hospitality, and natural Lowcountry beauty.”

Georgetown, it says, “has plenty of all three.”

Patrick Phillips

Patrick joined the Live 5 News team in October 2006.