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Starkville, Oxford earn top spots in USA Today’s 10Best Awards

Starkville, Oxford
Photos courtesy of Visit Starkville and Visit Oxford

Two of Mississippi’s premiere college towns have earned recognition from USA Today.

Starkville, home of Mississippi State University, was voted “Best Small Town in the South” as part of the publication’s 2024 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. Commonly referred to as “StarkVegas,” Starkville topped small-town destinations such as Batesville, Ark., Thomasville, Ga., West Monroe, La., and Maysville, Ky., for the top spot.

“Starkville is much more than a college town,” USA Today editors wrote. “You’ll find a thriving arts scene, multiple historic districts, many opportunities for bird-watching, and plenty of great food. Don’t miss checking out the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, a treasure trove of artifacts and correspondence.”

Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill called the honor well-earned, especially considering she already believed Starkville to be the best small town in the South.

“The USA Today results are incredibly exciting,” Spruill said. “I have always believed Starkville deserves to be recognized as a great place to live, work, play, and learn. It is especially rewarding to see that so many others believe that as well.”

100 miles northeast, Oxford is also celebrating being part of USA Today’s annual awards. Home of the University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss, Oxford was named “Best Small College Town in the U.S.”

“Oxford, Mississippi, may not be on your radar, but it should be!” USA Today editors wrote. “Just 90 minutes outside of Memphis, the charming live oak-laden home to [Ole Miss] holds a classic town square, where you’ll find the iconic two-story Square Books anchoring a corner with its wide veranda. Dining options include James Beard chef-helmed eateries, soul food, and comfort good served at a gas station. The college campus is a mere stroll away from downtown.”

Oxford topped the other Oxford in Ohio (Miami University), Frostburg, Md. (Frostburg State University), Granville, Ohio (Denison University), and Athens, Ohio (Ohio University) for the No. 1 spot on the list.

Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill said she and others in city leadership were thrilled to see the town recognized for its charm.

”Those of us who are privileged to call Oxford our home know what an amazing place we get to live in,” Tannehill told SuperTalk Mississippi News. “It is always nice when others notice! Oxford and Ole Miss share a one-of-a-kind relationship and provide a quality of life that is second to none.”
The 2024 USA Today Readers’ Choice Awards can be found here.

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