With cooler temperatures settling in, we’re already catching ourselves daydreaming about tropical getaways and lakefront views. Whether you’re like us, dreaming about warmer weather, or you’re in the market for a vacation home, here are three incredibly serene second-home communities across the South. From outdoor adventures to quiet evenings spent by a fire pit, there’s a community for every lifestyle on this list!
Splinter Creek | Taylor, MS
Nestled in the foothills of north Mississippi, Splinter Creek is a second-home community that blends breathtaking nature with the conveniences of modern-day living. Surrounded by natural creeks, ravines, and trees, Splinter Creek’s 33 homesites offer privacy alongside waterfront living — all while keeping sustainability top of mind.
The design of a Splinter Creek home puts nature first, often becoming a part of the natural landscape. This ensures that structures built on the property are both environmentally sensitive and sustainable, while encouraging owners to “build lightly” and preserve the landscape and native flora.
Sitting on anywhere from two to 25 acres, each homesite has its own distinctive character. Through a collaboration among the Splinter Creek team and the architects and builders that individual owners bring to the table, there is a creative design process. Situated beneath stands of mature oaks and plantation pines, the ready-to-build homesites are primed for residents’ environmentally sensitive and sustainable development. With 650 acres and only 33 homesites on one of three spring-fed lakes, the majority of Splinter Creek’s land will be undeveloped.
Thanks to the shorelines and coves, lakeside living is a primary reason most owners choose Splinter Creek for their investment. The lakes are used for swimming and small electric boating — and each is professionally managed by American Sport Fish, one of the largest producers of freshwater fish in the South. In the lakes, you’ll find a variety of fish species, including Coppernose Bluegill, Shellcracker, and Tiger Bass.
The property is also home to more than 10 miles of picturesque hiking trails. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or looking to enjoy a more leisurely stroll, there is a trail for every skill level. Not only is this a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but keep your eyes peeled during your trek, as Splinter Creek is home to nearly 350 species of wildlife!
When it comes to the building process of a Splinter Creek home, residents have two options. First, they can buy a lot and use an architect or a contractor of their choosing. Or, homeowners can buy a lot and use Splinter Creek’s base model home plan. No matter which design option you choose, the nature-inspired architecture remains contemporary and simple, both inside and out.
While life within Splinter Creek is undoubtedly luxurious and serene, homeowners still enjoy proximity to major cities and local attractions. Just under one hour from Memphis and 15 minutes from Oxford, the location is the perfect blend of privacy and convenience. Not to mention, you’re near local Oxford favorites like the Ole Miss campus, Square Books, Oil Shed, Saint Leo, and Taylor’s GRIT and Lost Dog Coffee, to name a few.
Alys Beach, FL
Located on 30A, the scenic highway running along a special stretch of the Northwest Florida coastline, Alys Beach is a place where beauty is abundant, and elegance remains effortless. With a variety of unique ownership opportunities — from elevated condominiums to brownstone-like townhomes and a new concept on the north side of the property — now is the optimal time to consider ownership at Alys Beach.
Alys Beach’s thoughtful approach to ‘New Urbanism’ — originally developed by DPZ CoDesign and now shepherded by town architects Marieanne Khoury-Vogt and Erik Vogt — results in a community plan that is executed at the highest level of design. The pedestrian is at the forefront of life at Alys Beach, where, by foot, owners can enjoy dining, shopping, grocery, and green spaces. The town’s clean, white buildings contrast with blue skies, Gulf waters, and natural landscape, exemplifying the best of indoor-meets-outdoor living.
Boasting elements of Bermudian architecture and the charm of courtyard living, Alys Beach has a multitude of real estate opportunities. With a phased-release approach to development, opportunities for custom and semi-custom homes continue to arise, as well as plenty of options for those seeking a turnkey experience.
The newest release, Phase 4, takes shape amid the rustic beauty at the northern end of the property, near the nature preserve and wetland park. Central to these Phase 4 homes is The Silva amenity, which includes a verdant event lawn, pool, and a covered terrace with a bar and café.
Beyond the beautiful architecture and landscape, Alys Beach has a wide variety of amenities for homeowners to enjoy. ZUMA Wellness Center is exclusive to property owners and vacation rental guests, offering cutting-edge fitness classes as well as a quiet outdoor space, treatment rooms, strength training, and a stunning indoor-outdoor swimming pool.
Caliza Pool & Restaurant, another amenity exclusive to property owners and rental guests, includes a 100-foot pool, furnished loggia, rooftop terrace, 75-foot lap pool, and family pool. Homeowners might also choose to spend their time at the Beach Club, an owner-exclusive amenity located directly on the Gulf. Whether enjoying a cocktail on the Sunset Terrace or catching a game in the lounge, the Beach Club embodies what it means to be a homeowner at Alys Beach.
In addition to the private amenities enjoyed by Alys Beach homeowners, there are a variety of other pursuits and locales to enjoy. Community spaces feel vibrant and balanced with quiet, tranquil pedestrian paths. The Town Center has blossomed over the past several years and includes a roster of carefully curated shops and restaurants.
Now entering its 20th anniversary, the master-planned vision of New Urbanism is truly coming to life and continues to develop with discernment and diligent attention to detail.
Russell Lands on Lake Martin | Alexander City, AL
Russell Lands on Lake Martin’s newest neighborhood, The Heritage, is a stunning example of luxurious lakeside living. The 1,500-acre community is located along a beautifully wooded waterfront featuring 12 miles of pristine shoreline. An overwhelming response to two waterfront property releases in the neighborhood to date has resulted in additional phases currently in development.
Beyond the serene, luxurious living folks have learned to expect at Russell Lands, there are some new additions to look forward to. The resident-owned Benjamin Lake Club is exclusive to The Heritage homeowners and offers a saline pool, tennis and pickleball courts, fire pits, and more. The two-story clubhouse is being designed by renowned architectural firm Cooper Carry and is expected to open in the summer of 2025.
Members are now enjoying the state-of-the-art course at the private Wicker Point Golf Club, which opened earlier this fall! Situated in the heart of The Heritage, Wicker Point Golf Club features the only Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw-designed golf course in Alabama, an 18-hole course offering pine trees, creeks, and lakefront views.
As golfers finish their rounds, they’re invited to enjoy Wicker Point Golf Club’s exquisitely appointed clubhouse. Designed by Birmingham-based architect Hank Long of Henry Sprott Long & Associates, the clubhouse features a beautiful wraparound porch that offers sweeping views of the golf course and Lake Martin.
The Russell Lands community treats homeowners and guests to a variety of on-site dining, entertainment, and shopping. For a casual meal with family, Kowaliga Restaurant serves delicious food alongside beautiful views. At the newest addition, Fanny Goldmine Diner, guests will enjoy smash burgers stacked high with fresh toppings. After lunch, spend the day strolling through Russell Crossroads and local favorites like Catherine’s Market, The Company Store, and The Stables.
When it comes to house plans at Lake Martin, Russell Lands guarantees a gold standard in design. Ranging from around 3,000 to 5,000 square feet and up, houses in The Heritage typically offer at least four bedrooms, four full bathrooms, and at least one half bathroom. When you’re ready to build, you’re invited to work with one of Russell Lands’ approved builders or designers to create the home of your dreams. (To view a sampling of Heritage designs, click HERE.)
Each Lake Martin home also takes full advantage of the natural surroundings, offering a plethora of outdoor activities. With more than 40,000 acres of water for fishing and boating, Lake Martin is home to a full boating dealership and four waterfront Russell Marine locations — each offering boats and water accessories for sale as well as rental opportunities.
The Lake Martin community is also home to Russell Forest, hosting over 100 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. Not only is this area a beautiful outdoor playground, it also serves as a classroom for Russell Lands’ Naturalist and Wildlife Educator, Marianne Gauldin, who teaches homeowners and visitors about the local flora and fauna via presentations and guided tours.
This article is sponsored by Splinter Creek, Russell Lands, and Alys Beach.
All photography provided unless otherwise noted.