Older homes in the south usually have front porches probably evolving from the need to escape the indoor heat of the house plus to view the world around them.Even many of the newer houses are built with some type of front porch. Today with air conditioning most folks are inside during the heat of the day. Yet even with AC the porches are still used in the traditional way of the past only now in the cooler mornings and evenings.
At one time, people walked rather than drove. Folks would commonly use sidewalks or roadways to walk to town for errands or to visit neighbors. The folks passing by the occupied porches would sometimes take the time to chat with the porch sitters for a while. This type of behavior provided a system of socialization for the area.
Appalachian rocking chairs are the familiar choice found on most front porches. However, wicker and metal chairs are also types scattered on porches.
Front sittin' porches are almost akin to an extra living space. Many are decorated with items of interest to the home owner. Porch swings are also popular.
Overall front porches still provide a good place to come "set a-spell" and have a good conversation or to just sit alone rocking -- contemplating the beginning day.