A Home School Field Trip to Laurel & Jones County, Mississippi

Whether you’re virtual schooling, home schooling, or just looking for an educational road trip, Laurel and Jones County is ready for your little learners! From history to art, these fun and informative activities are sure to entertain your whole family!

 

Landrum’s Homestead & Village Home School Field Trip Laurel MS | Landrums Homestead and Village

History comes to life at Landrum’s Homestead and Village here in Laurel, MS. With a step back in time, your family is in for a uniquely educational experience! The homestead – which is a recreation of an 1800s settlement – spans more than 30-acres and has more than 85 buildings, display, and exhibits. When you’re at Landrum’s, you’ll find an 1863 log house and corn crib, barn and farm animals, blacksmith shop, restored houses, village chapel, one-room school house, antique farm and tool equipment, a barber shop, watermill gristmill, and so much more!

Bonus Idea: Events at Landrum’s such as Old Tyme Fall Festival, Christmas at the Homestead, and Christmas Candlelight Tours offer even more homestead excitement with fun activities for all ages!

 

Geocaching

If you’ve never been Geocaching, you and your kiddos are sure to love this modern-day treasure hunt! All you have to do is create a free log in at Geocaching.com, and you’re ready for the adventure to begin. The Geocaches (the treasure) are fun to find, but more importantly, discovering them will bring you to a variety of locations. Most of the geocaches located here in Laurel correlate historical facts which are sure to spur interesting discussions with your group. These topics include information on the creation of Masonite, Olympian Ralph Boston, opera singer Leontyne Price, Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, and more! Head to Geocaching.com and search Laurel, MS to get started!

 

Veterans Memorial Museum

The Veterans Memorial Museum is home to thousands of artifacts, photos, vehicles, and pieces of our country’s history. Many of the items on display were donated by veterans who reside in the Jones County community. Visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to discover truly unique artifacts such as a piece of the USS Arizona, which was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor, artifacts of the US Merchant Marine from the WWII era, a piece of support beam from a German fortification at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, France, and so much more!

The museum, which was built on land that was part of the Laurel Army Air Base property during WWII, is open Wednesday – Friday from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Start planning your visit at Veterans-Memorial-Museum.org.

 

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art

The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is a free museum located in Laurel on beautiful Fifth Avenue. From the building itself – a Georgian Revival structure erected in 1923 – to the permanent collections and traveling exhibitions, there is an abundance of art, culture, architecture, and beauty to be found! This fall, be sure to explore two new exhibits “Bill Scott: A Garden in the Studio” and “Spirit Lines: Helen Hardin Etchings”, both on display through mid-November. Museum patrons will also take in a variety of permanent collections ranging from Japanese Woodblock Prints to classic European and American art.

If one of your homeschoolers is working on an assignment on art history that requires research, they’re in luck! The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art Library is a reference library of more than 10,000 volumes specializing in art history and art reference with emphasis on the Museum collections.

Bonus Idea: If you’re little ones are ready for another treasure hunt, be sure to stop by the front desk of the museum to grab an artBINGO card for an interactive exploration of the exhibits.

 

Find out more about how to Visit Mississippi responsibly, and be sure to visit our FAQ page for the most current community and safety information.

 

Shop ‘til You Drop: Where to Shop in Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi

Shopping in Laurel, MississippiShopping in Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi is more than just strolling through one street with a few shops. It’s a veritable shopping mecca of various districts filled with antique shops, trendy boutiques, eclectic gift shops, name brand stores, and so much more! Get ready to shop ‘til you drop when you visit Laurel and Jones County!

 

Laurel, Mississippi: Small Town, Big Shopping

Downtown Laurel and 16th Avenue are truly a shopper’s delight! We just hope you left room in your suitcase for all of the home furnishings and accessories, wardrobe staples for every season, and antiques galore!

Souvenirs are bountiful at shops such as HAND+made, Cotton Boll, Frames Unlimited, Bella Bella, and many more! Find tea towels, Laurel-themed tchotchkes, t-shirts, stationary, seasonal décor, art for your walls, and so much more.  Books make a great gift (and gift to yourself), so be sure to swing by Bookstore in the Window to nab the title you’ve been wanting to add to your TBR pile.

Shopping in Laurel, Mississippi

To furnish your home in classic and Southern style, shop for furniture and home décor at Lott Furniture, J Parker Reclaimed, Rubie’s Home Furnishings, and Today’s Furniture. From large buffets, couches, and your dream dining room table to smaller items such as tabletop décor, flatware and dishes, lighting, and anything else your home may need.

Looking for on trend clothing and accessories? Fill your closet with classic and trendy pieces from  Poppy’s Boutique, Allie’s on Magnolia Boutique, Leila Boutique, The Boutique on Central, The Spotted Dog, plus Guild and Gentry and Bella Bella for menswear and so many more!

Always popular for shoppers in Jones County, antiques abound! Start your search at Peddlers’ Junktion, Southern Antiques, and The Rusty Chandelier. Unique pieces are sure to please the antique-lover in your group!

Of course, Scotsman General Store and Laurel Mercantile Co. are must-stops for fans of HGTV’s Home Town. Be sure to check out our list of must-see places to complete your HGTV’s Home Town experience.

 

Shop Local in Ellisville, Mississippi

Downtown Ellisville is a collector’s paradise, a souvenir-seekers must see, and every trendy fashionista’s one stop spot for clothing and accessories!

Carol’s Marketplace is a great place to grab some locally-grown fare to bring back to your table at home. From muscadines to fresh-shelled peas, gathering your souvenirs on your dining table back is home sure to bring back Mississippi memories!

Shopping in Ellisville, Mississippi

Carpenter Bros. Emporium of Wonderful Whatnots

Carpenter Brothers Emporium of Wonderful Whatnots features antiques, collectibles, and – well – whatnots! Whether you’re a collector or a browser, you’re sure to find something to make you smile at Carpenter Brothers.

For cute clothes, be sure to swing by Southern Sass Too, which features trendy styles sizes small-3XL! Grab a cute romper, dress, top, jewelry, and more!

 

Even More Shopping at Sawmill Square Mall

Indoor shopping, playing, and dining fun is the name of the game at Sawmill Square Mall in Laurel.

Find national brands like Bath & Body Works, The Children’s Place, rue21, Claire’s Boutique, Belk, Foot Locker, and many others! Local favorites such as Pretty Please! Children’s Boutique, It’s What a Girl Wants, and Pink Anchor are sure to please as well.

Meanwhile, when hunger strikes, grab a bite from Chick-Fil-A, The Alamo, Classic Cookie, Corndog 7, Estelle’s Southern Cuisine, or Tacos!

The shopping fun continues outside of the mall as well with surrounding shops including Razmes Party Supplies, Goodness Gracious, Quarter Century, and more!

 

For more ideas on where to shop when you visit Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi, be sure to check out our full list of stores.

 

Plan a Fall Getaway | 5 Things to Do this Fall in Jones County, MS

There’s nothing quite like fall in the South, and Jones County, Mississippi is no exception. This season, we’re giving you permission to slow down – to sit on the porch of your B&B and slowly sip your coffee in the morning. To wander with no destination in mind as the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls wafts through the downtown streets. The views are Gingko trees in shades of gold, shops that are blissfully less crowded than big city destinations, and restaurants serving up their best and most delicious fare al fresco. Here, you’ll enjoy temperate weather – rarely needing more than a light sweater in the evenings. Autumn in Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi is something special, and we hope you’re making plans to experience it! Here are five things to do while you’re here this fall. Continue reading

Gather the Girls: Plan a Getaway to Jones County

Laurel is the perfect destination for a girls getaway! Especially if you’re a fan of Ben and Erin Napier’s home renovations on HGTV’s Home Town. Gather up your girlfriends because there’s plenty to see and do – both what you’ve seen featured on the small screen and beyond!

Plan a girls getaway to Laurel, MS!

Photo by allyelyse04 via Instagram

Road Trip-Worthy City

When you and your girlfriends are ready for a weekend-long, quiet getaway, Laurel and Jones County offer the perfect respite from crowded city scenes and beach towns. With plenty of cozy B&Bs, name brand hotels, and Airbnbs to rest your head, Jones County is an ideal girlfriend getaway destination. While you’re here you and your girls can shop, explore history, discover the beauty of Southern architecture, and eat to your heart’s (and tummy’s) content! Continue reading

Your Guide for a Day Trip to Laurel, MS

Only have one day to spend in Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi? It’s a choose your own adventure whether you’re here for a day trip or are spending a whole week with us, and with these ideas, you’re sure to see a little bit of everything the New State of Jones has to offer.

Day Trip to Laurel

Photo courtesy Christine Johnson

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Things to Do in Laurel: Spring Edition

With so many things to do in Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi, visitors want to come back time and time again. With events, races, cooking competitions, and so much more, spring is the perfect time for both new and repeat visitors to come get to know Laurel, MS.

 

Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook OffChili Cookoff | Things to Do in Laurel MS This Spring

When: Saturday, February 8, 2020

Laurel Main Street kicks off each new year with the annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off. The event takes place the second Saturday in February and is held in downtown Laurel with music, beverages, and teams vying for their chili to be named the best.

Mardi Gras Celebrations

When: Saturday, February 8, 2020 (Ellisville) & Saturday, February 15, 2020 (Laurel)

Family friendly Mardi Gras parades take to the streets in both Ellisville and Laurel during the Mardi Gras season each spring. The whole family is sure to enjoy the festivities.

 

First State Bank Laurel Leap Day 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament

When: Saturday, February 29, 2020

 

In its inaugural year, the First State Bank Laurel Leap Day 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is set to be a slam dunk. Courts will be set up in the Front Street parking lot in Laurel, MS, along with a DJ, food vendors, and beverages. Participants and fans are welcome to attend!

 

Carl Touchstone Memorial Mississippi Trail 50

When: Saturday, March 7, 2020

Both seasoned ultra-runners and first time long distance racers love the The Carl Touchstone Memorial Mississippi Trail 50 which is held in early March each year on the Longleaf Horse Trail in the De Soto National Forest just south of Laurel, MS. Participants take in the beautiful natural scenery during the 20K, 50K, or 50 Mile run.

 

Laurel Main Street Touch-A-TruckTouch a Truck | Chili Cookoff | Things to Do in Laurel MS This Spring

When: Saturday, March 7, 2020

Touch a Truck provides a unique opportunity for children to explore vehicles of all types in one place – from emergency vehicles to delivery trucks. Personnel will teach the children about the equipment displayed and how these machines help us and serve their communities.

 

Landrum’s Homestead & Village Second Saturday Family Day

When: Saturday, March 14, April 22, May 9, June 13

Family Day is the perfect spring event for all ages! Families can enjoy time together touring the Homestead, taking wagon rides, watching wood carving demonstrations, sampling biscuits cooked on a wood stove, gem mining, and more! Food and snacks will be available for purchase from the smokehouse, and homemade ice cream is the perfect sweet treat for a spring (or summer) day. Admission is $10, Children 3 and under are free.

 

Wine Down Downtown

When: Friday, March 20, April 20, May 20, July 17, Wine Down Downtown | Things to Do in Laurel this SpringAugust 21, September 18

Presented by Laurel Main Street, Wine Down Downtown features extended shopping hours in downtown Laurel as well as wine tasting! Attendees start by purchasing a $15 re-usable, collector-style wine cup, which allows for unlimited wine tastings at all participating merchants. Non-wine drinking participants are welcome to join the fun for free. More than 30 downtown merchants and restaurants will be open and ready for a fun night downtown!

 

Catch a Show at Laurel Little Theatre

When: March 27-29 & April 3-5, 2020

Each season, the shows at Laurel Little Theatre are a joy to experience. In Spring 2020, Director Frankie Bennett will bring the comedy, “Doublewide, Texas” to the Arabian stage for two straight weekends.

 

Community Bank’s Downtown Crawfest

When: Saturday, April 18, 2020

One of the most anticipated events of the year, Crawfest takes place each April in Downtown Laurel. This culinary competition features live music, beverages, and, of course, teams cooking up crawfish hoping to be named the winner. Teams offer tasting trays to serve their crawfish creations, and attendees get to cast their vote for People’s Choice of best overall boil.

 

Annual Day in The Park

When: Saturday, May 2, 2020

The Laurel Arts League’s largest annual event, the Day in the Park, offers a one-mile fun run and 5K run and a day of entertainment! Attendees can enjoy live music, student and juried art competitions, delicious festival cuisine, children’s activities, and the works of skilled craftsmen from across the region.

 

Mother’s Day Blues Festival

When: Sunday, May 10, 2020

What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with the annual Mother’s Day Blues Festival? Gather your family and enjoy the day with blues entertainment and great food at the South MS Fairgrounds in Laurel, MS.

 

Still looking for more ideas of things to do in Laurel, Mississippi? Check out our bucket list-worthy round up of things to do during a stay in Laurel.

Laurel, MS is One of the Best Small Towns in America!

There’s no doubt about it that Laurel, Mississippi is a special place. Our hometown pride runs deep, but it’s more than just the locals who love Jones County, MS. With our beautiful oak-lined historic district, unique events throughout the year, charming downtown, military museums, a National Park, and so many things to do, it’s no wonder we’ve been touted as one of the best small towns in America.

Best Small Towns in America Laurel Mississippi

Renewed, Transformed, and Loved

When Laurel renovation pioneers Ben & Erin Napier introduced Laurel, Mississippi to the world on HGTV’s Home Town, a renaissance began. Like a cool fall breeze, a freshness settled upon our Mississippi small town, and the renewed energy is only growing. But the truth is, we were always one of the best small towns in America. Our town just needed a little love to revitalize it. And now we all have a deepened sense of pride in this little hometown of ours. Southern Living Magazine recently visited Laurel and described it perfectly.

 “The rebirth of Laurel, Mississippi, is proof of what real people can do with a little creativity, a lot of commitment, and a deep well of love.”

Best Small Town in America

There’s plenty to be proud of in Laurel and Jones County, MS, but we especially relish showing off our people, our passion, and what makes us such a unique little corner of the South. Our list of 7 things to do and see in Laurel features shopping, gaming, history, arts and culture, and more, and these must-see spots are just the start of why Laurel is one of the best small towns in America.

History and beauty run deep here. The Laurel Mercantile describe Laurel as “…a postbellum, culturally rich hamlet where creativity and industry mingle in our rich entrepreneurial history.”

History meets aesthetics in The Laurel Historic District which features the largest in-tact contiguous collection of turn-of-the-century craftsman & bungalow style housing.

From the Civil War to Masonite to our modern Main Street, there’s plenty of backstory, change, growth, and beauty to discover.

The appeal is only enhanced by the surrounding towns. In Ellisville, visitors will experience another historic downtown with shopping and dining options and unique spots such as the historic Deason Home which was built in 1845. Looking to try your luck? Head to Sandersville to roll the dice at Bok Homa Casino. Soso is home to Rasberry Greene, an event venue that features the much-anticipated Cotton Gin Market each year. There’s so much to do, see, and experience in Jones County, MS…and to eat, of course – there’s always plenty to eat.

As you stroll through the oak-lined streets, you’ll discover that Jones County and Laurel, Mississippi are more than just a place to stop and snag a few photos for Instagram (although we definitely think you should do that, too). It’s a small town with a big heart, palpable renewed spirit, a slow Southern pace, and it’s a true weekend destination. We can’t wait to welcome you!

 

Get a firsthand peek into HGTV’s Home Town with a tour of the spots featured on the show and let us help you find the perfect place to rest your head!

Laurel, MS: Experience the Filming Location of HGTV’s Home Town

Get a firsthand peek into HGTV’s Home Town with a tour of the area where the show is filmed: Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi.

HGTV Hometown filmed in Laurel MSThe HGTV’s Home Town Experience

On HGTV’s Home Town, the darlings of Mississippi, Ben and Erin Napier take old houses and turn them into dream homes as they lovingly welcome people to Laurel, MS. With hotels, local Bed and Breakfasts, and Air BnBs, there’s plenty of room to make our hometown yours for the weekend so that you can enjoy Laurel, MS beyond the TV screen. Here’s a list of must-see places to complete your HGTV’s Home Town experience.

 

Take a Historic Home Tour

Start your Laurel experience at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art or the Laurel Welcome Center where you’ll find the official Laurel Walking Tour brochure. Wandering the oak-lined streets of the Laurel Historic District will give you and up-close-and-personal view of so many historic and stunning homes, plus the beautiful parks and streets you’ve seen on episodes of HGTV’s Home Town.

 

Shopping

Laurel Mercantile Co in Laurel MS

Downtown Laurel is basically its own character on the show. Episode after episode, viewers will see the twinkling lights, plus watch Erin grabbing fabrics, antiques, knickknacks, and more from the darling shops throughout the town.

To truly get a sense of the style showcased on Home Town, start your shopping at Laurel Mercantile Co. and Scotsman General Store. Style and American Made are the theme of Laurel Mercantile Co. This retail store includes apparel, candles (oh the candles!), sundries, kitchenware, bath-ware, home décor including pillows, fabrics, vintage finds, and art for your walls back home.

Meanwhile the Scotsman General Store is a step into Southern days gone by. An ode to general stores that were known across the south decades ago, visitors will find apparel, preserves (and other delicious perishables), soda pop, and a peek into Ben’s woodshop. Pro Tip: stop by during the filming of HGTV’s Home Town to watch him create custom pieces featured on the show!

For more places to find toys, apparel, accessories, and antiques, check out our list of where to shop in Laurel and Jones County.

 

Dining

If there’s one thing we Southerners know how to do, it’s gather around a table, so it comes as no surprise that there have been many dining establishments featured on HGTV’s Home Town. Here are a few fans may remember.

Sweet Somethings Bakery in Laurel MS

  • Pearl’s Diner is Southern cooking at its best. From fried chicken to mac ‘n cheese and everything in between, you’re sure to get your fill of both mouth-watering fare and sweet Southern hospitality.
  • Lee’s Coffee & Tea is the perfect spot to grab a cup of soup, a sandwich, fresh baked goods, and (as the name implies) a hot cup of coffee or tea.
  • The Loft on Central Avenue features seafood, steak, and pasta in a beautiful setting. Settle in for a perfectly cooked steak in the courtyard, and you’re guaranteed a perfect Southern night.

Beyond the show, Erin and Ben regularly feature all the best spots to grab a bite in Laurel on Instagram.  They’ve named many local favorites including Café La Fleur, David’s grocery, The Knight Butcher, Shug’s Cookie Dough & Candy Bar, PDI / Phillips Drive-In (we hear Ben gets the #3), Mimmo’s Restaurant, Sweet Somethings Bakery, The 5000 MS, and more!

For a full list of restaurants in Laurel and Jones County, head to our Where to Eat page.

 

Local Favorites Featured on the Show

Erin dropped the sweet tidbit that her parents went on their first date at The Little Laurel Theatre, and it’s definitely a must-see sight in Jones County, MS. Located in the heart of Downtown Laurel, Laurel Little Theatre features a varied season of shows every year, so check out what shows are playing during your visit. Be sure to nab a pic under the neon Arabian sign during your visit!

The Loblolly Festival is one of the most annually anticipated events in Laurel. On the first Saturday of October, Laurel’s heritage as a sawmill town is the center of attention as folks gather to celebrate, shop, and eat. This free festival features arts and crafts vendors, live music, rides, and all of the best festival food (hello, funnel cakes and corn dogs). Demonstrations take place throughout the day, and the local shops are available for perusing as well.

Laurel and Jones County Mississippi

The murals seen on the show are a big thing here in Laurel and Jones County. Literally a big thing. Covering walls and the sides of buildings, these gorgeous quotes are both charming and Instagram-worthy. See how many you can find (and be sure to tag us in your Instagram posts).

 

Whether visiting in the fall, spending the holidays in Jones County, or joining us for a quick weekend getaway to Laurel, we’re so happy to get to share our little corner of Mississippi with you! Welcome to our hometown!

 

Find out more about how to Visit Mississippi responsibly, and be sure to visit our FAQ page for the most current community and safety information.