2020 was a year of firsts for everyone. The world came to a screeching halt amid the global pandemic forcing many companies to allow employees to work remotely for the first time. The increased use of technology added more time to daily schedules and more money to companies’ bottom line. These changes proved to be a staggering inflection point for both remote workers and their employers.

As the global pandemic loosens its grip on the country, some employers have decided to continue offering remote work as an option for their employees. Permanent work-from-home arrangements mean employees are untethered to a specific geographic location. As a result, remote workers are now free to trade in their business suits for loungewear and live life unencumbered by exhausting commutes and tedious face-to-face meetings.

This new freedom allows remote workers the ability to do their jobs from anywhere. If you dream of working in an oasis surrounded by swarms of oak trees, streets lined with artery-red bricks, with art and culture scenes steeped in history, then look no further. These Southern cities receive high marks for affordability, plentiful co-working spaces for those looking to work outside the house, and a hefty volume of things to do and see that’s likely to have you counting down the minutes until you can punch out and wander.

The Top 5 Southern Cities PERFECT for Remote Working

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston can easily conjure images of iconic cobblestone streets, Spanish moss cloaking towering oaks, and stunning historic homes. But for those looking to relocate, this charming Southern city also landed in the top five list of Zillow’s “Best U.S. Cities for Digital Nomads” due to numerous rentals available. The capital city has a population of roughly 750,000, and typical rental rates hover around $1,650, according to a report recently released by Zillow and Yelp.

This beautiful coastal city offers charming historic architecture and is located near Sullivan’s Island, Palm Isle, and Folly Beach, which are top sites for those looking to soak up the sun in their off-hours. If you’re a foodie who favors Southern fare, this city’s legendary food scene is another reason to make Charleston your next hometown. It was rated one of the Top 10 Best Foodie Cities in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report.

Rainbow Row in Charleston, SC, one of the best Southern cities to work remotely

Affordability, culture, and amazing food are just three great reasons to consider a move to Charleston if you have the freedom to work remotely.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

If internet connectivity and speed are high on your list of relocation requirements, you want to consider moving to Chattanooga, nicknamed “Gig City,” not for the bustling gig work economy but for its high-speed internet. Chattanooga was the first American city to provide a city-wide gigabit network.

If you’re not tech-savvy, there are beautiful, wide-open spaces for outdoor enthusiasts to explore. The city is nestled between the majestic Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau range.

Chattanooga, TN, skyline

Whether you’re looking for high-speed internet or mountain-top views, Chattanooga and the surrounding areas deliver. Image: Wikimedia Commons via Breethol

RELATED: 12 New Reasons To Visit Chattanooga

Tampa, Florida

If you long to put down roots in a location with year-round sunshine and unvarying warm temperatures, head to Tampa. This sprawling metropolis, located along Florida’s west coast, is home to a university, burgeoning street art scene, and several co-working locations throughout the city. In addition to being a great place for remote workers, Tampa is perfect if you’re enterprising in nature and have a start-up venture in mind. U.S. News ranked this Gulf Coast city among the
Ten Best Metro Areas for Women Entrepreneurs.”

The Central Florida city is a great option for remote workers eager to feel sun-kissed sand between their toes while lounging near a beach after knocking off at 5 o’clock. It’s also an ideal jumping-off point for weekend jaunts to Orlando, Naples, Sanibel Island, Sarasota, and Miami, to name a few.

Aerial view of Tampa Bay, FL, one of the top Southern cities to work remotely

That’s not a bad view for a day at the “office.”

Lewisburg/Morgantown/Shepherdstown, West Virginia

If you prefer the great outdoors over bustling nightlife, you should seriously consider logging in from West Virginia. This state earned the epithet “The Mountain State” by being the only state located completely within the Appalachian Mountain region. The state’s seemingly endless hiking trails and white-water rapids are perfect for adventure lovers seeking new digs.

In addition to its breathtaking beauty, the state is offering a $10,000 bounty to entice remote workers to relocate to one of three towns: Lewisburg, Morgantown, or Shepherdstown. The Ascend West Virginia incentive program includes $10,000 spread out over a 12-month period as well as co-working space and free outdoor equipment rentals.

Downtown Morgantown, WV

Morgantown, WV, is a quaint mountain town offering serious incentives for remote workers. Image: Wikimedia Commons via Stryker33

RELATED: 6 New Southern Boutique Hotels to Put on Your Radar

Austin, Texas

Austin is not only the capital of the Lone Star State, but it’s also the ‘Live Music Capital of the World.’ This city tops many remote working lists with its relatively low cost of living, access to a plethora of co-working spaces, and a bevy of legendary live entertainment and annual music festivals. Monthly housing rental rates hover around $1,300, according to the Zillow and Yelp Report.

This capital city consistently ranks high on lists of best places to live, eat, and play. Austin ranked number three on the 2020-2021 Best Places to Live list and 13th Best Foodie Cities in the U.S. by U.S. News. With a population of nearly 1 million people, Austin is a big city where you can work by day and explore the city’s after-hour offerings at night.

View of downtown Austin, TX

Log on in a co-working space by day and explore the sounds of the city by night — Austin is ideal for remote working.

If you’re looking to trade in your current city, the South’s quaint small towns and bustling metropolises alike offer charm and flair — and the opportunity to earn your keep in an inspiring new location.

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