JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Heather Headley and Brooke Elliott in 'Sweet Magnolias'

Where Was Romantic Drama 'Sweet Magnolias' Filmed? Step Into the Real Serenity

It's not actually in South Carolina.

Sweet Magnolias Season 3 is headed back to Netflix, and fans are thrilled to reunite with its main stars, best friends Maddie Townsend (JoAnna Garcia Swisher), Helen Decatur (Heather Headley) and Dana Sue Sullivan (Brooke Elliott). The three lifelong friends are dealing with heartache, life, new love and exciting new stories in the latest chapter of Netflix's adaptation of the book series by Sherryl Woods. As much as we love the heartwarming and romantic storylines on the series, the charming backdrop of Serenity is just as much a character as any of its residents. 

Is Serenity a real place? Unfortunately not. Sweet Magnolias is filmed in the South, but not in South Carolina, where the series is set. Just half an hour outside of Atlanta is the city of Covington, Georgia, a picturesque little town that has earned itself the nickname "Hollywood of the South." Covington has become a popular place for capturing small-town life in various movies and TV series over the years. Over 1,000 TV episodes and nearly 200 screenplays have all been filmed in this one town. 

Historic Covington became well-known for serving as the backdrop to the popular teen series The Vampire Diaries and now offers a "Mystic Falls tour." It was also where Remember the Titans, My Cousin Vinny, Footloose (the 2011 version), In The Heat of the Night, Savannah, and The Dukes of Hazzard were all filmed. 

Here are some of the most notable filming locations in town you can visit that are featured on Sweet Magnolias.

Sullivan's Restaurant

Dion Johnstone as Erik Whitley in Sweet Magnolias standing in Sullivans Restaurant


On the show, Dana Sue is the owner and head chef of Sullivan's Restaurant. We see plenty of scenes inside the restaurant as its nearly as important to Dana Sue as her own daughter, and many of the restaurant employees are central to the overall story. Her restaurant was set in The Alley at Mystic Grill in downtown Covington, across from the Newton County Courthouse. 

Southview Cemetery

Ty, Kyle, and Annie are seen walking through the cemetery in the very first episode of the series. It's a spot that fans of Vampire Diaries have probably seen many times because it was a regular hangout on the teen drama.

The Corner Spa

The Corner Spa in Netflix series 'Sweet Magnolias'


While many initially thought that the stunning Lee-Porter Mansion served as the backdrop for the Corner Spa, it's actually not the case. According to Atlas of Wonders, the law offices of Wm. Thomas Craig, which looks similar to the lovely mansion, serves as the exterior for the spa that the three friends renovate and open, excited to start a new chapter of their adult lives. 

The Depot Sports Bar & Grill

The charming little sports bar where the baseball team goes to celebrate with pizza after their games is actually an old railroad depot. You can find the exact spot at 4122 Emory St NW.

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church

The three Magnolias sitting together in a church pew on Netflix series 'Sweet Magnolias'


The church serves as a common backdrop where the townspeople gather every Sunday. There are a few awkward encounters between Maddie and her ex-husband, Bill (Chris Klein), who left her for his mistress Noreen (Jamie Lynn Spears). In real life, the church is the Oakhurst Presbyterian Church in the nearby town of Decatur.

Serenity High School 

Three teens walking up to Serenity High School in Netflix series 'Sweet Magnolias'


In the nearby town of McDonough, Henry County Middle School serves as Serenity High School where we see Maddie's sons Ty and Kyle and Dana Sue's daughter Annie.  

This article was originally published in 2020 but has since been updated.

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