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.  

 

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.

Small Town, Safe Travel

From the long list of things to do to the delicious dining options and the fabulous shopping, we love our hometown for so many reasons! We’re pretty convinced it’s the best small town in America, and our local response to Covid-19 is just one more reason to add to the list of reasons to love Jones County, Mississippi. We’re keeping safety a top priority, and when you’re ready to travel, we’re ready to welcome you!

Fewer Crowds than Cities

Travel safely in Downtown Laurel Jones County MS

Locals to Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi take cleanliness – and charm – seriously!

Residents and visitors are encouraged to follow both the Center for Disease Control and Mississippi Department of Health’s guidelines, which includes practicing social distancing.

Restaurants are operating at 75% capacity, and al fresco dining is an option at spots like The Loft, PDI / Phillip’s Drive In, and more. Of course, with such beautiful weather here in Mississippi (hello, mild winters!), ordering to-go and spreading out in picnic fashion at some of our parks is always an option!

Shopping, dining, and attending fabulous events are absolute must-dos when you’re visiting Laurel and Jones County, MS, but don’t underestimate the availability of outdoor activities while you’re here! Check out our favorite ways to enjoy the Great Outdoors during your visit!When it comes to shopping, our boutiques, shops, and stores are taking precautions to ensure your safety during your visit! Retail businesses are also asked to keep capacity to 75%, and individual merchants may require additional safeguards to be taken. Plus, small-town shopping means smaller crowds!

 

Our Accommodations are Ready

Our local accommodations are ready to welcome travelers safely by redefining cleaning and safety standards. Guests’ standards have undoubtedly changed, and although our accommodation providers have rigorous cleaning methods already in place, the commitment to safety provides even more confidence for travelers.

Travel safely in Laurel | Grandiflora Bed and BreakfastLocal spots such as are open to travelers, and are committed to providing a safe environment. For example, the Grandiflora Bed and Breakfast is not only disinfecting the whole house on a regular basis, but the large rooms are separated far apart, and guests have no problem distancing from other guests. They also offer physically distanced breakfast settings.

Our name-brand hotels also have increased their cleaning standards. Hampton Inn & Suites in Laurel utilizes Hilton’s CleanStay program, which gives its guests the comfort of knowing industry-leading hygiene practices are providing the cleanest – and safest experience possible.

Each of our lodging providers has its own set of cleaning standards and safety protocols, so if you’re curious about specific steps being taken, we recommend you reach out to your potential hotel, bed and breakfast, AirBnB, or rental home.

For a full list of places to lay your head while you’re in Jones County, be sure to check out our guide. Camping and RV lodging are also options when you’re in Jones County, MS!

 

We will do our part to ensure all visitors can experience the joy of traveling to Mississippi. We hope you will help too when you #VisitMSResponsibly! 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!

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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! 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

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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.

The 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.

 HGTV Home Town Laurel MS | Ben and Erin Napier

 

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!

ThHGTV Home Town Stars Ben and Erin Napier | Discover Laurel MSe 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!

 

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.