Skip to main content

10 Best Family Towns to Live in for Southern Fishing

10 Best Family Towns to Live in for Southern Fishing

Say what you will about the majestic white winters up north — this article pays homage to warm summer days walking South Carolina's beaches, fishing Georgia's lakes and sampling spicy seafood gumbo in Louisiana. It was a mighty challenge, but we've compiled a list of the ten best family towns to live in for Southern fishing.

This isn't a ranking so much as sampling what it might be like to have it all: civilization and the great outdoors, spectacular weekends and jobs galore, quality time with happy kids who also make high scores in science and math. Sounds realistic, right? Why not!

Keep in mind, though, the competition was fierce. We started by researching data from housing prices, rankings for school districts and reputation among fishermen. After cross-referencing these three criteria, some compromises narrowed the list down further: our finalist cities represent a diversity of both lifestyles and fishing opportunities spread across eight Southern states.

So forget your worries and forget the cold. Come sit a spell and bring the kids, too!

Charleston, South Carolina

Southern style comes aplenty with Charleston's marinas, sandy beaches and antebellum architecture. With a convenient hour's drive south you'll find Beaufort, S.C., a saltwater fisherman's paradise, and just to the north is another sportsman's hub, Georgetown. In particular, the quiet Mt. Pleasant suburb has quality fish markets and restaurants near Shem Creek, the historic Boone Hall Plantation site and the state's 16th top-ranked high school, Wando High.

Image via wikimedia

Guntersville, Alabama

Home of this month's 2014 Bassmaster Classic, Lake Guntersville delights anglers with its largemouth bass, crappie, sauger and catfish. Here, among all the spots we researched, Marshall County has one of the cheapest costs of living. Something must be special — for example, gives the nearby Douglas High School an 8-out-of-10 rating. But if you don't believe us, then just ask Chris Lane — current Guntersville resident, father of four and 2012 Bassmaster Classic Champion.

Image via Alabama State Parks website

New Orleans, Louisiana

Tropical storms may cloud New Orleans' reputation for some, but savvy sportsmen know 'The Big Easy ' for some of the nation's best fishing. Here the 2011 Bassmaster Classic ended in nearby Venice, La., a modest Mississippi River town world-famous for its abundant catch. The city's Benjamin Franklin High School ranks 1st in the state, and the cozy uptown neighborhood of Carrollton is home to several charters for K-12, not to mention Tulane University.

Image via wikimedia

Gainesville, Georgia

We chose Gainesville over the nearby Suwanee (Money magazine's #33 best place to live, 2013) due to cheaper home prices, lower traffic and driving distance to Lake Lanier, Chattahoochee National Forest and Lake Russell. On the Georgia department of natural resources website you'll find a Northeast Fishing Guide and info on trout-stocked waterways and kid-friendly public fishing areas. Gainesville's Chestatee High School ranks #21 in the state, not far behind #11, Suwanee's Peachtree Ridge.

Best Place to Live

Georgia Fishing Resources

Georgia Home Resources

Georgia Best High Schools

Image via wikimedia

Apalachicola, Florida

Known for its oyster and shrimp industries, the Apalachicola Bay area also offers relaxing opportunities for light-tackle and kayak fishing. Take a boat into St. George Sound for sea-trout, redfish and sheepshead, or spend a day inland catching bass with the fam'. Real estate here is much cheaper than around Miami or the keys (in Islamorada, for example, another famed Florida fishing spot), but you're still within driving distance of some of the state's finest beaches.

Image via

Morehead City, North Carolina

For diverse fishing in all seasons, few choices top Morehead City. Saltwater highlights include some of the world's biggest redfish, as well as tuna, dolphin and marlin. The inshore area also offers seatrout, along with prime bass farther inland. Home prices are slightly higher due to tourist traffic along the coast, but area schools receive decent reviews including an 8-out-of-10 rating for Croatan High School in nearby Newport, N.C.

Image via

Jasper, Texas

East Texas boasts two hotspots famous for year-round largemouth bass: Sam Rayburn Reservoir and Toledo Bend Reservoir. Located conveniently next door, Jasper could easily serve as your small-town headquarters for both 'Big Sam ' and Toledo Bend. For educational opportunities, you could also try several Houston suburbs just two hours south: for example, the high school in The Woodlands, Texas, ranks in the top 50 statewide — no easy feat in the country's largest state.

Image via wikimedia

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tulsa sits at the doorstep of some of the nation's most diverse fishing. Lake Tenkiller is especially impressive with its clear waters, 130-mile shoreline and prime largemouth bass. Driving distance also includes Fort Gibson Lake, the Arkansas River and smaller waterways plentiful in smallmouth bass, catfish, crappie, carp and even trout. Tulsa is home to the state's #1 high school, Booker T. Washington, as well as honorable mentions just outside the city including #16, Bixby High School.

Image via Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department

Eufaula, Alabama

Just south of Montgomery near the Georgia border is the little gem, Lake Eufaula. Once known as the South's bass-fishing capital, Eufaula still packs a punch with plentiful largemouth bass, along with sunfish, crappies, catfish and hybrid bass. Barbour County is also generous to hunters seeking whitetail deer, so look no further for low-key family outings and affordably low costs of living.

Image via wikimedia

Islamorada, Florida

The final stop in our 'live the dream ' tour is the tropical wonderland of Islamorada, a tiny strip of dry land halfway between Miami and Key West. Here the daily catch might include anything from grouper, snapper, dolphin and swordfish to tarpon, permit and bonefish. But what's it like to live there, you ask? Due to high costs and its exotic but impractical location, the place is just a village by population. Perhaps it's more reasonable to visit from the Fort Lauderdale area or West Palm Beach, home of Florida's 8th top-ranked Suncoast Community High School.

Image via wikimedia

Which one is your top choice? Share with us in the comments!

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Subscribe Now and Get a Full Year

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now