A Laurel Bucket List: 7 Things to Do & See in Jones County, MS

There’s so much to do and see in Jones County, Mississippi, and it may be hard to decide where to start. When you’re visiting, be sure to stop by these must-see spots!

Things to do in Laurel MS

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art

This always-free museum opened in the early 1920s and is the oldest museum in the state. Exhibits paintings, pottery, and sculpture from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, plus Indian artifacts and more! It has also been recognized by Mississippi Magazine as one of the top museum’s in the state for many years.

Insider’s Tip: Start your day at the Lauren Rogers Museum Of Art not only for the amazing exhibits, but for the staff who are in-the-know about what to do and where to eat in Laurel (& beyond).

 

DeSoto National Forrest

The largest National Forrest in Mississippi, the DeSoto National Forrest offers a wide array of diverse recreational opportunities and camping locations. Hiking, biking, and more are awaiting your inner outdoor enthusiast!

 

Laurel Little Theatre

Known for the neon Arabian sign that shines its light over Downtown Laurel, the Little Laurel Theatre has been the heart of the arts & culture scene in Jones County for nearly 60 years. To find out what shows are playing this season, visit LaurelLittleTheatre.com.

 

Historic Walking Tour

Laurel, MS simply oozes with charm, and there’s no solitary attraction that highlights it more than a walking tour through the Historic District. The homes are charming and the oak-lined trees and quaint parks make it simply magical.

 

Bok Homa Casino

If gaming is your thing, Bok Homa Casino definitely needs to be on your Jones County itinerary. More than 800 slot machines, old school classics, and new thrills plus dining options make a day of fun a sure bet!

 

Landrum’s Homestead & Village

Self-described as a living history museum, Landrum’s Homestead & Village is a replica of a standard 1800’s settlement, and offers visitors a unique way to experience time gone by. From a country store to family events, this exceptional attraction is definitely a must-see in Laurel!

 

Veterans Memorial Museum

The Veterans Memorial Museum in Laurel, MS houses thousands of military artifacts and memorabilia that reflect the service and sacrifice of countless courageous service men and women.  The museum also offers a reference library, guest speakers, book signings, reenactments, and special events.

 

Shopping

Shop ‘til you drop may be a silly saying, but it could easily become reality in Jones County. Explore our occasional markets and antique stores to find treasures of days gone by, including the Carpenter Brother’s Emporium of Wonderful Whatnots in Ellisville. Spend your day perusing popular downtown shops, plus sweet boutiques and places to grab a bite. Don’t forget to swing by the Sawmill Square Mall for the name brand stores you love. For a full list of places to shop, head to our Shop page.

 

For more things to do and see in Laurel and Jones County, MS, head to our Discover and Events pages.

 

Sharing our Town: Introducing Laurel, MS to the World

Many call it quaint and charming. Countless call it welcoming and Southern. The luckiest of us call it Home.

Laurel MS, Home Town

Small Town, Big Charm

Hometown. It’s a word meant to describe the setting of someone’s childhood, but in Jones County, it’s so much more than that. Sharing our little corner of the South with the world gives us the opportunity to do what we love most: welcome people with open arms and an abundant serving of Southern hospitality. The quintessential small town that you read about when you were little? That’s Laurel, Mississippi.

 

You Can Count on a Smile

Jones County, in all of its Hallmark-movie, Stars Hollow-esque glory is so much more than just a town. It’s hearty helpings of comfort food. It’s a stroll through the oak-lined streets to discover a coffee shop, a sweet boutique, or a cozy park. It’s being greeted by kind, thoughtful, and generous people who are truly happy you’re here. Whether you’re grabbing a burger at the PDI-Phillips Drive-In, picking up a gift (and ok, one too many souvenirs) at the Laurel Mercantile, looking for a trade at the swap meet at Hellfighters USA, or you’re grabbing some treasures from days gone by at our antique stores, you’re guaranteed one thing:  to be greeted with a smile and treated like family. Why is that, you ask?

It’s because people in Jones County have an enviable desire to be connected with the community. To pull up a chair next to their neighbor at the YWCO on Pancake Day. To take part in the smiles of little ones as they bounce from house to house on Halloween.  To laugh with neighbors and old friends while setting up tailgating chairs and picnic blankets during Fourth of July fireworks, Downtown Movie Nights, & New Year’s Eve Countdown parties. To take in each season together as a community – as a family. And whether you’re here for a day trip, a long visit, or permanently, you’re part of that family.

 

Hometown & Home Town

 

If anyone has exemplified what it means to truly love a place, it’s Erin and Ben Napier through their show HGTV’s Home Town. Laurel is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, and much of the credit is owed to them. Their love of our town and their desire to make it the best it can be – to truly live up to its potential – is contagious (it doesn’t hurt that their charisma and sweet chemistry is unarguably craveable). They’re introducing Laurel and Jones County as home of the most friendly, welcoming people, and we’re so glad they are because nothing could be truer. We’re here to share our stories (because we’ve got plenty of those), our history, our quaint downtown, and more.

Welcome to our hometown, and even if you’re only in town for a short stay, we hope you’ll think of it as yours.

 

 

And we know what you’re thinking, “yeah, yeah cue the Cheers theme song.” But here, it’s absolutely true. Just ask anyone on the street (because they’re sure to be happy to stop for a chat), and they’ll tell you the same. For more information about visiting Laurel & Jones County, explore VisitJones.com or follow along on Facebook or Instagram.  Be sure to catch Season 4 of HGTV’s Home Town premiering in January 2020.

 

Winter Events: How to Holiday in Laurel & Jones County

 If there’s one thing we know how to do in Laurel & Jones County, MS, it’s celebrate the holidays! From pancakes to parades and everything in between, we’re bringing yuletide cheer all season long with these holiday events.

Holiday Events in Laurel MS

Twinkling Lights & Celebratory Delights

It’s simply not the holidays until the tree is trimmed and drummers are drumming! ‘Tis officially the season when the annual tradition of lighting of Laurel & Ellisville’s Christmas trees take place, followed closely by the annual Christmas parades in each city. Find the details for each event below:

City of Laurel Christmas Tree Lighting

Ellisville Christmas Tree Lighting

Ellisville Christmas Parade

Sertoma of Laurel’s Christmas Parade

 

Annual Christmas at Landrum’s

For more than 36 years, Christmas at Landrum’s has given guests the opportunity to step back in time to experience Christmas past. The Candlelight Tours at Landrum’s Homestead & Village are Hallmark Christmas movie-worthy in their charm and full-on Christmas spirit, but guests will also find walking tours, a candlelight tour, demonstrations, kids’ events (including Santa himself, of course), Confederate soldiers reenactments, Southern Strings Dulcimers, and more.

Get details for all of Landrum’s holiday events below:

Christmas at the Homestead

Christmas Day Camp

Christmas Candlelight Tour, December 14th

Christmas Candlelight Tour, December 21st

 

Charlie Brown Jazz Christmas at Laurel Little Theatre

Good grief! There’s lots of merry fun happening in Jones County each holiday season, but is it even the holidays if Charlie Brown and the peanuts gang aren’t involved? Visit the Laurel Little Theatre on December 6th to ring in the season with music from this much-loved classic!

 

Laurel Kiwanis Club Pancake Day

Arguably the best day of the year, Pancake Day takes the holiday celebration to a whole new (delicious) level. All-You-Can-Eat pancakes with butter & syrup, sausage, white & chocolate milk, and Coca Cola products are served at two locations in Laurel. Proceeds help fund scholarships for deserving high school seniors at the five high schools in Laurel and Jones County, plus provide multiplication and division flash cards for hundreds of third grades students at local elementary schools.

 

The Renaissance Holiday Tour of Homes

On Sunday, December 15th, enjoy a tour of homes located in Laurel’s historic district, which features four homes, including two featured in HGTV’s Home Town. Decorated for the holidays in true Southern, magazine-worthy fashion, this tour is sure to mimic the setting of the idyllic Christmases of your dreams. The tour is from 1:00 – 4:00 in the afternoon, and refreshments will be served at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

Purchase tickets at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art & Patina’s, $10

 

Downtown Movie Night: Christmas Edition

Your heart is sure to grow three sizes at Downtown Movie Night: Christmas Edition! Featuring the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck with Santa at 5:00 PM followed by Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch on the big screen at 6:30 PM. It’s free fun for the whole family.

 

Downtown Countdown: New Year’s Eve

10…9…8… the countdown to 2020 is on! Join us for the inaugural (and free) Downtown Countdown this New Year’s Eve in the heart of Downtown Laurel.

Ring in the new year with beer and champagne service, food trucks, and special events from our Downtown Merchants, as well as live entertainment and special guest appearances. Children’s areas plus VIP options are available. Start 2020 in style in Laurel, MS!

 

For more information about holiday events or events for any season, check out our events page.

7 Reasons to Be in Jones County this Fall | Can’t Miss Events

As the weather begins to cool, Jones County comes alive. Outdoor events, plenty of shopping, a fair 100 years in the making, and so much more take place in beautiful Laurel & Ellisville, Mississippi. Simply put, fall and winter in Jones County are magical times, and we’re sharing seven reasons you need to be here!

#1 All of the Arts

It’s easy to find beautiful art on display in Jones County all year long, but this fall, the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art & the Jones College Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery seem to have outdone themselves. From Masonite on display (spoiler alert: this popular material from the 20th Century was invented right here in Laurel) to an Arts Festival that is out of this world, it’s easy to immerse yourself in the arts during your visit to Jones County!

Fall Events in Jones County Mississippi at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Arts

 

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art’s Upcoming Exhibits & Events

What Lies Beneath: Masonite and American Art of the 20th Century

Music of the Middle Ages Concert

Very Special Arts Festival

 

Jones College Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery’s Upcoming Exhibits

Allen Chen Sculpture Exhibit – Allen Chen, associate professor of art at the University of Southern Mississippi, uses his artform to, “…explore the possible experiences shared in an object when it’s interpreted as sculpture.” Don’t miss this unique exhibit at Jones College Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery through October 25, 2019.

 

#2 Halloween Hijinx!

Ghosts, goblins and spooky fun can be found in Jones County in the days leading up to Halloween. Decorated houses and special events offer lots of options. Treats in the Streets at Jones College is a free family event with booths, games, costume contests and plenty of treats for the under 12 crowd. Trick or Treating in the Avenues on Halloween in downtown Laurel has quickly turned into a “must do” for locals. The neighborhoods deck out in their ghoulish finery to make this one of those true memory making evenings.

 

#3 Football

In the South, claiming loyalty to a football team is akin to breathing, but when you’re in Jones County, the choice is easy! The Jones College football team playing at their home stadium in Ellisville is an event you don’t want to miss. Check out the full schedule to see the Bobcats dominate on game day!

 

#4 Cotton Gin Market at Rasberry Greene

Fall Events in Jones County Mississippi at Cotton Gin Market

At The Cotton Gin Market, vendors from all over Mississippi and the South come together deep in the Piney Woods for a showcase of curated craftsmen, artisans, makers, purveyors of vintage and antique goods, delicious southern food and the sounds of South Mississippi.

Rasberry Greene is an event venue located a few miles outside Soso. Market takes place on October 26, 2019, and the hours are 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 

#5 Wine Down

Wine Down Downtown is a wine tasting and shopping event which takes place on select Fridays from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. with downtown merchants and restaurants staying open late.  Purchase a wine tumbler and receive 2-ounce pours from participating restaurants and vendors. Sip and shop your way through Downtown Laurel. Did we just describe the perfect Friday night?

Remaining 2019 dates include November 22, and December 20.

 

#6 100th South Mississippi Fair

One of the largest fairs in the state, the South Mississippi Fair is nine fun-filled days of rides, concerts, exhibits and shows. In its 100th year in 2019, there’s more fun happening than ever! Enjoy concerts in the Magnolia Center which include acts such as Mark Farner’s American Band, Champaign Jam, Sawyer Brown, and more! See fair favorites including Pirate Man Dan, Robocars, Disc Connected K-9s, plus the Art Show, Livestock Show, Pie Baking Contests, and Arts & Crafts.

General admission is $5. Children under 48” tall are free. Parking is free.

 

#7 Get Happy & Merry

Landrum’s 36th annual Christmas at the Homestead is an old-fashioned Christmas celebration and a merry step back in time. Grab the family to see hand-made craft vendors, Civil War re-enactments, farm animals, gem mining, and live entertainment. Stop by the General Store to listen to Bobby Hathorn pickin’ his banjo, grab some kettle corn, and take a wagon ride through the beautiful nature trails. The thousands of twinkling Christmas lights are sure to bring you holiday cheer!

But Christmas fun doesn’t stop there. Laurel & Ellisville are known for having a holly jolly good time all December long. Start by watching the tree twinkle to life at the Christmas Tree Lighting in Downtown Laurel on December 5th.

Fun events this fall in Jones County at the Christmas Parade and more!Get into the holiday spirit when you experience A Jingle Jazz Christmas Concert (December 6) and the Concert Choir Christmas Concert (December 5 & 6) both hosted by the Jones College of Fine Art.

 

What’s more fun than pancakes and parades (we certainly can’t think of much)? The famed Kiwanis Pancake Day starts the morning of December 7th and the Christmas Parades in Laurel & Ellisville take place later the same day. It’s sure to be a merry day in Mississippi!

 

Want more information on fall events and things to do in Jones County, Mississippi? Be sure to check out the events calendar at VisitJones.com for fall and holiday small town fun.

 

Erin and Ben Napier Hometown HGTV

Erin and Ben Napier Hometown HGTV Show

Ben and Erin Napier

Ben and Erin Napier have revealed that Home Town, the show based in Laurel, MS, has been approved for season one.

The show centers on Ben and Erin helping home buyers choose and renovate a home in Laurel, located in southern Mississippi.  Local professionals weigh in heavily on the design and implementation of the renovations.

Erin and Ben announced that the show was approved at the 5th Annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off in downtown Laurel, MS.  Ben and Erin are very excited to showcase Laurel to the world and working to make it thrive as it did early in the 20th century.

For more information on Erin and Ben Napier, and the love they have for their home town, check out their website at erinandben.co or on the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HometownonHGTV.

For more information on Laurel, MS, and Jones County, visit visitjones.com.

Welcome to The New State of Jones

The New State of Jones rests upon the notion that there exists an “old” State of Jones. However, you do not have to lose one to embrace the other. A restless, some may say rebellious, spirit stirs from the first generations who settled in Jones County near Ellisville and seceded from the Confederacy to create the Free State of Jones.

As the turn-of-the-century brought the next generation of restless, progressive entrepreneurs leaving their homes in the Midwest to carve out a new home, the population centered on Laurel where the sawmills saw all races working side-by-side, a growing middle class of merchants arise, Mississippi’s first museum built and the first public school for African-American children established.

Today, this subtle, rebellious spirit of her residents still lies under the surface as young families forsake the ubiquitous surroundings of large, suburban cities for a slower pace of life.  Never has it been more evident with the majority of growth realized by self-made, multi-generational companies and world-class corporations who call Jones County home.

Learn more about the history of The New State of Jones, or select something from the menu above to see what The New State of Jones has to offer for you.