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
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!
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.