9 Casual Dining Spots in Laurel & Jones County

When you’re in Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi, there’s so much to do and see! Whether taking photos, discovering our unique history, shopping our boutiques and name-brand stores, or exploring the great outdoors, you’re sure to work up an appetite in our hometown. Lucky for you, there are casual meals served up deliciously at these must-try restaurants throughout Laurel and Jones County!

 

Eat Like a Local at our Must-Try Casual Restaurants

These destination-worthy restaurants are some of the top-mentioned by our Facebook and Instagram fans – and for good reason! Dishing up seafood, comfort food, breakfast, desserts, and so much more, Laurel and Jones County’s casual restaurants offer varied selections to curb whatever you’re craving!

9 Casual Dining Spots in Laurel and Jones County - Pearl's Diner

Pearl’s Diner

Pearl’s Diner

At Pearl’s Diner, you’ll find Ms. Pearl serving up tasty renditions of classic soul food. From fried chicken and collard greens to mac & cheese and banana pudding. She loves catching up with her customers when they come in so don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation while you’re there. If she’s not in, don’t worry, you can catch her serving up her famous dishes on HGTV’s Home Town in Season 2! Beat the rush by getting there early on the weekends and listen to some live music while you wait. Come for the food, stay for that small town hospitality!

 

9 Casual Dining Spots in Laurel and Jones County - Bird Dog Café

Bird Dog Café

Bird Dog Café

As seen on Season 4 of HGTV’s Home Town, Bird Dog Café is the Bell brothers way of giving back to their hometown of Laurel. The café features everything from lattes and scones to soups, chicken salad, and decadent dinner dishes. Truffled short rib pot pie anyone? Check out their Facebook page for specials.

 

Corn Dog 7

Dining at Corn Dog 7 is like being able to eat fair food even when the fair isn’t in town! Funnel cakes, corn dogs, seasoned fries, and fresh squeezed lemonade. It’s #BetterThanGood.

 

320 Fifth Street

If you like your dinner with a side of live music, add 320 Fifth Street to your itinerary! Casual dining and live music every Friday and Saturday night! Looking for a Sunday brunch spot? This is your place!

 

9 Casual Dining Spots in Laurel and Jones County - Lee's Coffee & Tea

Lee’s Coffee & Tea

Lee’s Coffee & Tea

Our walkable Downtown Laurel offers many dining establishments, and Lee’s Coffee & Tea is a must-stop! While perfect for a breakfast drink or afternoon caffeine jolt, this coffee shop is just as well-known for their delicious lunch offerings. Does Lee’s have the best pimento cheese in Laurel? You be the judge!

 

PDI / Phillip’s Drive-In

If you’re looking for a burger and fries, definitely swing through the drive through at PDI / Phillip’s Drive-in. A local icon, the PDI is known for burgers, shakes, and all the nostalgia of a classic American drive-in!

9 Casual Dining Spots in Laurel and Jones County - Bosun Joe's of Ellisville

Bosun Joe’s of Ellisville

Bosun Joe’s of Ellisville

Looking for more Southern cuisine? Try family-owned and operated, Bosun Joe’s of Ellisville. Fried catfish, po’ boys, turnips, and delicious four layer homemade cakes by the slice (or whole!).

 

The 5000

When it comes to delicious dining options, brick and mortar eateries aren’t the only option. The 5000 food truck offers signature sandwiches, salads, gourmet grilled cheeses, and specials for lunch (and dinner some nights). Don’t miss their Saturday breakfast!

 

Touted as some of the best dining spots in Mississippi by Mississippi Magazine’s reader poll, our local eateries are ready to for dine-in, outdoor dining, and takeout for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! For a full list of restaurants in Laurel and Jones County, MS, be sure to check out our Eat Page.  

 

Couples Getaway: A Romantic Weekend in Laurel & Jones County

Looking for a weekend escape full of charm, relaxation and small-town hospitality? From laid back and romantic to lively and entertaining, Laurel and Jones County has something that every couple will enjoy.

Where to Stay?

Couples Getaway Weekend - Grandiflora Bed & Breakfast

Grandiflora Bed & Breakfast

Laurel and Jones County has found the perfect way to combine romance and history throughout their area and while it might sound crazy to some, it definitely works for visitors looking for that ideal getaway. If you head down to Laurel’s charming historic district, you will find the Grandiflora Bed & Breakfast. Built in the early 1900’s, this luxury Bed & Breakfast will take you back in time with antique décor and vintage furniture, at the same time providing its guest with modern amenities to make your stay the most enjoyable.

Wanting to connect a more with nature (and maybe as a couple)? Do some camping at Big Creek Water Park or Lake Bogue Homa. Both with scenic views and a mild climate all year round, you’re always able to take in the countryside and enjoy a romantic picnic while you’re at! These outdoor sites are just a few of the hidden treasures Laurel and Jones County has to offer.

Other travel and lodging can be viewed here.

 

Date Night

Be sure to make a good impression and book those reservations in advance. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered! Laurel’s own, Café La Fleur is a local favorite inspired by the Cajun experience and definitely a place you’ll want to experience for yourself! With classic Cajun fare and homemade desserts, it’s easy to see why people can’t get enough of this local restaurant.

If you’re looking for tasty, innovative dishes, make sure to check out Edgar’s Steakhouse, located in the Dixie Golf Club. Go for lunch and try their blue-plate special if you’re looking for an all-in-one meal or really impress your date and go all out with a perfectly hand cut steak.  And don’t leave without trying their homemade praline bread pudding! We always like to end the night with something sweet.

 

The Loft Restaurant

The Loft

 

Sit back and relax while you enjoy some live music when you dine at The Loft on Central Ave. Steak and seafood are their specialties and you’ll never leave hungry! Having a more upscale feel, The Loft will be sure to impress any date and may even land you a second!

View our other dining options here.

 

A Weekend Full of Fun

Looking for something to bond over but that won’t break the bank? Then the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, might be the perfect place for you and that special someone. Luckily for visitors, the LRMA has countless collections and multiple exhibitions throughout the year that anyone can enjoy.

If you’re wanting something a little more “hands on” look no further than HAND + Made. You’ll find a little bit of everything at this interactive retail and studio and be able to see what makes it unique to Laurel and Jones County. From apparel and take home diy kits to classes offered right there at the studio, they definitely know how to add a personal touch.

 

Couples Getaway Weekend Ideas - 320 Fifth Street

320 Fifth Street

Although we love experiencing new things, music is something we can always count on to bring people closer and Laurel and Jones County have just the spot! Throughout the year you can support local artists and head down to 320 Fifth Street for some live music and good times! No matter how you choose to spend your time in Laurel and Jones County, you can always count on it be memorable. If those don’t strike your fancy, we suggest other fun filled activities you might enjoy such as shopping in Laurel and Ellisville or testing your luck at Bok Homa Casino!

 

Instagram-Worthy: Where to Snap a Photo in Laurel & Jones County

The saying goes, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ and when you visit Laurel & Jones County, that couldn’t be truer. You might come for that perfect shot, but find yourself staying for that familiar feeling we like to call ‘home.’ With its historic charm, small-town feel and the great outdoors, you’ll be sure to snap the perfect photo just about anywhere you turn in Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi, but where are those spots that are completely Instagram-worthy? Here are a few of our favorites.

 

Where to take a photo in Laurel MS

 

As Seen on TV

There’s nothing quite like visiting a spot you’ve seen on the small screen – especially here in Laurel and Jones County! Pair our locals’ hometown pride with the renaissance happening thanks to HGTV’s Home Town, and our beauty is definitely something worth snapping a photo of! If something looks familiar to you, it’s likely what you’ve seen on TV!

For example, you might have come across the iconic blue truck that sits outside of Laurel Mercantile Co. Since its opening in 1901, the building has served many purposes for this small town and now you can catch it as the backdrop for so many photographs as people come to visit Ben & Erin Napier’s store.

If you were searching for something nostalgic, you’ve come to the right place.  Inside you will find the LMCo. original collection, vintage décor, and that perfect take home gift to have memories for a lifetime. Don’t miss the life size Ben & Erin cut outs inside the store!

After you grab a pic and souvenir for friends back home (plus one or two for yourself), you can head over to the Scotsman’s General Store & Woodshop and watch the team hard at work creating one-of-a-kind pieces for locals and visitors alike. If you are lucky you might even see Ben Napier working on his next big thing for Home Town. Now that is a moment you definitely want to catch on camera!

 

Where to Snap a Photo in Laurel MS

 

Murals, Murals, & More Murals

For true Jones County fans, our murals are instantly recognizable, so they definitely couldn’t be left off the photo op list. From Ellisville to Downtown Laurel and beyond, iconic murals abound!

This one is located on Commerce Street and might be one of the town’s most popular to date. The vibrant colors and creative design will surely make your photo pop! A timeless mural backdrop never makes for a bad photo.

Check out these other murals around Jones County:

  • Welcome to Historic Downtown Laurel – Located on Central Avenue
  • Laurel Looks Good on You – Located on North Sixth Avenue
  • Be Kind – Located on North Sixth Avenue
  • Greetings from Laurel – Located on Central Avenue
  • Loyal as a Book – Located at the Laurel Library
  • Everything is Gonna Be Okay – Located in Ellisville
  • I Believe in Laurel – Located in Maker’s Alley
  • The City Beautiful – Located on the corner of Oak and Front Street
  • Welcome to Laurel Mississippi The City Beautiful (purple) – Located

 

Where to Take a Photo in Laurel MS

 

In the Great Outdoors

Looking for something a little more “natural?” Head towards downtown and visit our beautiful Trustmark Art Park. Because who doesn’t love a little greenspace? With green grass all year round, there’s never a bad time for a phot op! It’s the ideal spot for a day with the kids or to just bask in the beautiful sunlight. You’ll have the perfect lighting right at your fingertips.

Ready for something more off-the-beaten-path? Look no further than the Desoto National Forest.  With over 300,000 acres belonging to this beautiful park, the Desoto National Forest is the largest district in Mississippi. With activities such as biking, hiking, and bird watching, there are plenty of ways to keep busy and more than enough opportunities for a photo op.

 

Laurel and Jones County are just getting started and luckily for visitors, the appeal keeps on growing. So next time you’re visiting our neck of the woods, remember to snap a photo and be sure to use #VisitLaurelJonesCounty to share with us!

 

Looking for even more must-see spots in Jones County? Check out these historic landmarks or this bucket list-worthy guide!

Experience a Laurel & Jones County, Mississippi Winter Weekend Escape

If you’re looking to experience an affordable weekend away this winter, Laurel and Jones County Mississippi are a winter wonderland of Southern proportions. When you visit for a winter getaway, you’ll be sure to find a plethora of unique history, local shopping, and Southern charm!

Grab a cup of coffee during a Winter Weekend in Laurel MS

Sip Something Brewed

Mississippi weather is typically pretty mild, so when the temperatures drop (even if only slightly), grabbing a hot cup of coffee or tea is a must. Our local coffee shops are always brewing up something delicious. Grab a cup to-go before you get your day started, or find a cozy table, booth, or seat outdoors to enjoy your cup of joe! Try sipping something at The Coffeehouse at Brookside, Lee’s Coffee & Tea, Bird Dog Café, Higher Ground Coffee Shop, Jitters Coffeehouse, or Small Coffee Big Taste.

 

 

Go antiquing during your winter weekend in Laurel MS

Find Something Vintage

From sipping to shopping, our picturesque storefronts of downtown Laurel and Ellisville, plus the warehouse-sized antique stores

throughout Jones County are ready for every type of collector, browser, and shopper! Three must-see stores for antique and vintage lovers include Peddlers Junktion, Carpenter Brothers Emporium of Wonderful Whatnots, The Rusty Chandelier, and Southern Antiques.

Get a full list of shops and stores on our shopping listings

 

Visit Pinehurst Park during your winter weekend in Laurel MS

Discover Something Local

With our mild winters, our parks are the perfect spot to explore, take a break, or settle in for a picnic lunch.

Located in Laurel, Leontyne Price Musical Park is a unique downtown gem. Discover musical instruments and why locals love Laurel-born Leontyne Price.

Also worth a stop are Euclid and Gardiner Parks, where you can take a break from exploring the beautiful historic homes in the Laurel Historic District to gather your crew for a picnic. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the Laurel Historic District is a must-see.

Situated on North 5th Avenue & Oak Street, next to the Arabian Theatre is a memorial park on the site of the famous Pinehurst Hotel. Pinehurst Park is an iconic Jones County landmark and features a gazebo, fountain, and is a picture-perfect spot to snag a photo (be sure to use #VisitLaurelJonesCounty to share with us)!

 

Even more trip ideas for your weekend in Laurel and Jones County:

 

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.

Unique History: Must-See Historic Spots in Jones County

From Civil War history to beautiful stately homes and even haunted tales, these landmarks are must-see spots for any history-buff. Start planning your historical tour of Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi!

 

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art

Located in the heart of Laurel, the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is known as one of the must-see spots in Jones County, but it also serves as one of the most historic spots to visit! Erected in 1923, the museum was built upon the foundation of Lauren Rogers’s house, which was incomplete at the time of its namesake’s death. Walking into the lobby of the museum, visitors will find the main structure is reminiscent of a stroll through some of the most beautiful historic homes found across the South. The Georgian Revival structure features quarter-sawn golden oak paneling and cork floors, double-hung sash windows, handwrought iron gates, railings, and hardware, and many other beautiful design features. Building additions and renovations were completed in 1925, 1983, and 2013, bringing the Museum to its present size of 27,500 square feet – an absolute must-see when you’re in Laurel, MS!

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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!