'Sweet Magnolias' Was Filmed In the South—Just Not South Carolina

The Netflix show is set in Serenity, South Carolina, but filmed in Georgia.

Sweet magnolias netflix show
(Image credit: ELIZA MORSE/NETFLIX)

A fourth protagonist in the Netflix romantic drama Sweet Magnolias is  (opens in new tab)the fictional town of Serenity, South Carolina, (opens in new tab) which is as central to the show's DNA as Stars Hollow is to Gilmore Girls. Of course, Serenity doesn't exist, except in the Sherryl Woods book series that the Netflix show is based on. (opens in new tab) But fans are wondering: Where is the idyllic small town in which Sweet Magnolias was filmed? Does it even exist? And if it does, should I move there?

Sweet Magnolias was filmed in Covington, Georgia.

So, not in South Carolina—but still in the South, which is nice to hear for such a quintessentially Southern show. (If I had to take a shot for every time someone said "Bless your heart" on this show, I'd be on the floor.) Covington is a city in Georgia with a population of 13,000, and is known as "the Hollywood of the South," according to Explore Georgia (opens in new tab). (opens in new tab)

That's because...

Several shows before Sweet Magnolias were filmed in Covington

Clearly, Covington has something going on, because multiple hit shows have been filmed here (even the city's Instagram bio notes that (opens in new tab)). Before Sweet Magnolias, dozens of hit shows and movies—including The Dukes of Hazzard, In the Heat of the Night, and Legacies —were filmed here.

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The city is most famous for hosting The Vampire Diaries, and tourists flock to the "Vampire Diaries tour," (opens in new tab) which takes diehard fans around a bunch of locations featured in the series.

But the book series is based on a real-life South Carolina town.

In the introduction to Stealing Home, a book in her Sweet Magnolias series, Woods writes that Serenity is based on the city of Sumter, South Carolina, which Woods visits briefly every summer as a pit stop on her way to her summer home in Florida. Of the people of the city, Woods writes: (opens in new tab) "Thanks for the warm welcome, the laughter, the great meals, and the inspiration for this new community."

Sumter, per the census, has a population of 40,000, so it's considerably bigger than Covington. It's known as the "Gamecock City."

That said, Covington is very excited about Sweet Magnolias.

On the city's tourism website (opens in new tab), it writes happily: "The beautiful, quaint downtown area provides the perfect backdrop for this new romance drama that is set to premiere on Netflix...The romantic drama comes alive as you walk through the Square and visualize the three friends sitting on a bench, laughing and talking as only best friends do. The setting is perfect for the romantic twists and turns told in “Sweet Magnolias”."

People want to move to Serenity.

Maybe it's a product of the troubled times we're living in, but oh man—fans of Sweet Magnolias are loving the close-knit town of Serenity.

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Which is good news, because...

You can visit Sullivan's Restaurant IRL.

In the series, Dana Sue Sullivan, played by Brooke Elliott, owns Sullivan's Restaurant and serves as head chef. In real life, Sullivan's Restaurant is called Mystic Grill, and, yes, you an visit. Reviews on TripAdvisor are glowing (opens in new tab): "This place was amazing. The decor is welcoming and the service is exceptional. Every attention to detail is evident. The meals we had were not only delicious but the presentation was impressive."

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(Image credit: ELIZA MORSE/NETFLIX)
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sweet magnolias netflix

(Image credit: Eliza Morse/Netflix)