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
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!
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
Even before Ben and Erin Napier made traveling in an airstream utterly trendy, Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi was home to plenty of places to rest your head among the great outdoors. Whether you’re looking for a cabin, RV parks, or campground, Jones County has you covered!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 area where the show is filmed: Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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!
Countless new memories are waiting to be made in Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi.
Whatever your plans may be—a weekend girls trip, a family vacation on the Gulf Coast, or a getaway for two—Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi is the perfect place to stop, if even just for a night, and soak up small-town charm, beauty and Southern hospitality you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
The hardest decision you’ll make while planning your trip here? Where to stay.
From enchanting B&Bs and lovely Airbnbs to top name-brand hotels, we’ve got the accommodations to meet even the pickiest travelers’ needs. Let’s take a closer look.
Charming B&Bs in Laurel & Jones County
Dreaming of a trip full of leisurely strolls taking in one-of-a-kind shops and eateries? Our town’s B&Bs are just the ticket! All are within walking distance of our delightful downtown area and the historic district brimming with beautiful homes and oak tree-lined streets.
If you’re an art aficionado, consider the Grandiflora Bed & Breakfast, a luxurious, 9,000-square-feet manor located just across the street from the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. Located in a home built around 1907, the Grandiflora boasts upscale suites with marble features, en-suite luxury spas and private balconies, as well as a handful of rooms offering all the modern-day conveniences you need to stay comfortably in this historic gem.
Next up on the list is the Sweet Somethings Bed & Breakfast, a remarkable B&B located just above a cute bakery featuring studio suites with original 16-feet ceilings and red oak & pine floors. Not only are you mere steps away from virtually every kind of delicious dessert you can imagine, Sweet Somethings’ convenient Central Avenue location downtown means you’re also a hop, skip, and jump from some of the area’s finest shops and dining spots.
Last, but certainly not least, is Laurel’s oldest B&B, built in 1901 and located in the heart of the historic district: the Wisteria Bed & Breakfast. Rightly named for its lavender-colored exterior, the Wisteria is a historical haven offering an experience like none other of a bygone era with its timeless heirlooms, period furnishings and hand-made leaded and beveled-glass windows. When you’re not busy soaking up the history and goodness of this gorgeous B&B, its prime location on 5th Avenue puts you just a short walk away from Downtown Laurel.
Awesome Airbnbs in Laurel & Jones County
Want a B&B experience—without the company? We’ve got some fantastic Airbnbs worth writing home about!
If you’re an HGTV Home Town fan—or you’re simply wanting to stay like a local—the Laurel Cottages are sure to be right up your alley. Each cottage boasts its own unique and cozy setup, and they’re all located in the beautiful historic district just blocks away from downtown Laurel.
Another quaint local cottage to consider is Bonnie’s Laurel Cottage Airbnb. This cute space features two ultra-clean and comfy bedrooms, spacious decks and close proximity to downtown Laurel and the historic district. What’s more? Depending on when you visit, there are plenty of blueberry bushes and cherry tomato plants on the property ripe for the pickin’!
Name-brand Hotels in Laurel & Jones County
If hotel-staying is more your style, you’re in luck. Laurel and Jones County, MS are home to a variety of name-brand hotels offering all the comforts you’re looking for when away from home.
head. Both are excellent, family-friendly hotels with convenient access to the Big Creek Water Park, the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport and a variety of nearby shops, restaurants and businesses. The Baymont by Wyndham features 65 guest rooms, a courtyard pool area, plus a fitness center with a sauna. All three hotels feature a professional meeting space as well. Bringing Fido on your trip? Quality Inn is an excellent pet-friendly choice.
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!
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 museums 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).
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!
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.
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!
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 a time gone by. From a country store to family events, this exceptional attraction is definitely a must-see in Laurel!
The Veterans Memorial Museum in Laurel, MS houses thousands of military artifacts and memorabilia that reflect the service and sacrifice of countless courageous servicemen and women. The museum also offers a reference library, guest speakers, book signings, reenactments, and special events.
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.