Beautiful Southern Cemeteries

Eleven burial grounds that are peaceful, historic, and memorable

Bonaventure Cemetery
Savannah, Georgia


Made famous by the book and film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, this sprawling, oak-shaded, Southern-gothic graveyard is just a short drive from downtown Savannah. Block out an afternoon to explore the resting places of lyricist Johnny Mercer, poet Conrad Aiken, and Edward Telfair, Georgia’s first governor.

Cave Hill Cemetery
Lexington, Kentucky

photo: Courtesy of Cave Hill Cemetery

The picturesque Victorian cemetery and arboretum is home to a few Southern legends: boxing great Muhammad Ali, Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland Sanders, and Patty and Mildred Hill, the two sisters behind the “Happy Birthday” song.

Hollywood Cemetery
Richmond, Virginia


The nineteenth-century burial ground is the second-most-visited cemetery in the nation, behind only Arlington National. Its 135 riverfront acres—dotted with ancient tulip poplars, bald cypresses, and black gum trees—are home to the grave sites of two presidents and thousands of Confederate soldiers.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
New Orleans, Louisiana


This beautiful oak-lined grid of aboveground tombs rests on the edge of the leafy Garden District. The 10,000 interred in the city’s first planned cemetery include jazz musicians and Civil War soldiers. But perhaps its most famous inhabitants are fictional—a family of witches created by the author Anne Rice.

Magnolia Cemetery
Charleston, South Carolina


Hugging 130 acres on the banks of the Cooper River, the oldest public cemetery in Charleston is so lovely that it’s not uncommon for visitors to drive up to explore this oak-lined gem in the Holy City.

Mount Holly Cemetery
Little Rock

photo: Courtesy of Mount Holly Cemetery

Dubbed the “Westminster of Arkansas,” this Little Rock landmark is known for its Victorian statuary and notable residents, including eleven state governors and Quatie, the wife of Cherokee chief John Ross. An annual pre-Halloween performance by local students, called “Tales of the Crypt,” shares stories of those who rest here.

Oakland Cemetery


Visit the graves of prominent Atlantans, including Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell; the city’s first African American mayor, Maynard Jackson; legendary golfer Bobby Jones; and thousands of nameless Civil War soldiers. In October, the cemetery’s “residents” come to life through reenactments—it’s the only time the gates stay open after dark.

Randolph Cemetery
Columbia, South Carolina


See the ongoing efforts of a dedicated preservation team at this early African American cemetery, where nineteenth-century plots display West African burial symbols such as yucca and cactus to ward off evil spirits.

Rose Hill Cemetery
Macon, Georgia

photo: Courtesy of Visit Macon

Famous as the hangout spot and final resting place of the Allman Brothers Band members Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks, and Berry Oakley, the oldest cemetery in Macon—situated on the picturesque banks of the Ocmulgee River—continues to be a draw for Southern rock lovers.

St. Joseph’s Cemetery (Wrong Way Cemetery)
Rayne, Louisiana

photo: Tony Olinger

While aboveground tombstones are abundant throughout Louisiana cemeteries, there is a key difference in the mausoleums in St. Joseph’s: For reasons unknown, they are all oriented north-south, an unusual and eerie departure from traditional east-west oriented headstones.

Westview Cemetery

photo: Jeff Clemmons

The graves of several notable Atlantans lie within the six hundred rambling acres of Westview, the largest civilian cemetery in the Southeast—Coca-Cola founder Asa Candler, civil rights lawyer Donald L. Holowell, and the city’s longest-serving mayor, William B. Hartsfield, among them.