Laurel, Mississippi, a charming town nestled in the heart of Jones County, is a lovely small town often overlooked by travelers. However, those who venture into this picturesque town are in for a delightful surprise. Laurel is home to a wealth of hidden gems that cater to a variety of interests – from history buffs to foodies to shopping enthusiasts. There is plenty to do here, so whether you’re just stopping by or planning a vacation to Laurel you’ll find something for the whole family here.
Below is your ultimate list of things to do in the city of Laurel, Mississippi.
- The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art and Gardens
- Veterans Memorial Museum
- The Laurel Little Theatre
- The Laurel Farmers Market
- Historic Downtown Laurel
- Lee's Coffee and Tea
- Daphne Park
- Lake Bogue Homa
- The Loft on Central Avenue
- The Amos Deason House
- The Knight Butcher
- Laurel Mercantile Co.
- Sweet Somethings Bakery
- Peddlers' Junktion
- Bolton Hometown Tours
- Café La Fleur
- Loblolly Boutique
- Landrum's Homestead and Village
- Bok Homa Casino
- Pearl's Diner
- Southern Antiques
- Bird Dog Cafe
- Now Closed: The Slowboat Brewing Company
Art lovers visiting Laurel should not miss the opportunity to explore the Lauren Rogers Art Museum. Established in 1923, this historic art museum features an impressive collection of European and American art, as well as Native American baskets and Japanese woodblock prints.
The building it is housed a special place too. Originally the incomplete home of Lauren Rogers, the Georgian Revival Structure was then redesigned as the art museum. The interior features quarter-sawn gold oak paneling and a ceiling designed by acclaimed interior designer Charles J. Watson and completed by master craftsman Leon Hermant.
The museum’s permanent collection has five sections: American art, European paintings, Native American baskets, Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, and British Georgian silver. Works on display include those by renowned artists such as Winslow Homer and Robert Henri. In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts traveling exhibitions and educational programs throughout the year.
Surrounding the museum is the picturesque Lauren Rogers Gardens, a peaceful oasis that serves as a lovely backdrop for the museum’s art collection. The gardens are filled with oak trees, azaleas, English Ivy, and Asiatic jasmine. So while you’re there don’t forget to take a walking tour of the gardens and grounds as well.
The Veterans Memorial Museum in Laurel is a tribute to the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. This 6000-square foot museum provides an in-depth look at the history of the U.S. military and is home to thousands of military artifacts and memorabilia. Their permanent exhibit on the U.S.S. Arizona, sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor, includes a real piece of the ship on display.
You can visit a wide range of other displays too, including uniforms, weapons, and vehicles, as well as an extensive collection of personal items and memorabilia donated by veterans and their families. The museum also features a memorial garden and a Wall of Honor, where visitors can pay their respects to those who have served.
The Laurel Little Theatre, a community theater located in a historic building in downtown Laurel, is the perfect destination for those looking to enjoy an evening of entertainment. With a variety of productions throughout the year, including plays, musicals, and special events, the theater offers a diverse lineup of performances to suit all tastes.
This little theater has been entertaining locals and visitors alike for 62 years and counting and are housed in the historic Downtown Arabian Theater. Season tickets are available and Gold Patrons get numerous benefits, including a complimentary drink at every performance.
A trip to Laurel wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the bustling Laurel Farmers Market. Held weekly on Thursdays from 5PM-8PM on the 300 Block of North Magnolia Street, this lively market is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of the town’s local flavor.
Visitors will find a wide variety of fresh produce, homemade baked goods, and artisanal products from local farmers and vendors. The market is also a great place to sample some of the region’s delicious cuisine, with food trucks and vendors offering everything from Southern-style barbecue to mouthwatering desserts.
In addition to its culinary offerings, the Laurel Farmers Market also features live music, children’s activities, and special events throughout the season.
One of the most popular things to do in Laurel is to stroll the town’s beautiful historic downtown area. This charming area is home to a variety of well-preserved homes and buildings, each with its own unique architectural style and storied past. A walk down main street also gives you the opportunity to window shop and support local businesses.
Visitors will enjoy strolling through the oak-lined streets, admiring the grand old houses, and learning about the history of the area. Many of the older homes in the historic district are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and plaques on the buildings provide information about their construction and significance.
In addition to its stunning architecture, the historic district also offers a variety of dining options, boutique shops, and art galleries for visitors to enjoy. Whether indulging in a delicious Southern meal at a local eatery or browsing for one-of-a-kind souvenirs, there is something to delight every traveler in Laurel’s historic district.
Located in the heart of downtown Laurel, Lee’s Coffee is a must-visit destination for coffee enthusiasts. This cozy and welcoming café has been in business since 2009 and offers an extensive menu of specialty coffee drinks, teas, and pastries. Thy also offer a full menu, including a kid’s menu, with grilled cheese and PB and Banana, quesadillas, wraps, salads, and sandwiches.
Lee’s Coffee sits inside a stunning historic building, with comfortable seating and a relaxed setting that encourages conversation and connection. The café also features local artwork, providing a showcase for the talented artists in the Laurel community. Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or just looking for a quiet place to enjoy a delicious beverage, Lee’s Coffee is a hidden gem that you won’t want to miss.
In addition to their delicious drinks, Lee’s Coffee also hosts various events and gatherings throughout the year. From live music performances to open mic nights, there is always something happening at this vibrant café. Be sure to check their calendar for upcoming events and make Lee’s Coffee a regular stop during your time in Laurel.
Nature lovers will find Daphne Park to be a delightful oasis in the heart of Laurel. With its serene walking trails, picturesque pond, and well-maintained playground, Daphne Park provides a peaceful retreat or an active outdoors experience.
For those looking for more active pursuits, Daphne Park also features tennis courts, basketball courts, and a playground and skate park for the kids.
The park’s spacious picnic areas and pavilions make it an ideal spot for a family outing or gathering with friends.
Situated just a short drive from downtown Laurel, Lake Bogue Homa is a beautiful and tranquil destination for outdoor enthusiasts. This 882-acre lake is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and enjoying the scenic beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Anglers will be delighted with the variety of fish species (fully stocked in 2008!) found in Lake Bogue Homa, including largemouth bass, crappie, bream, and catfish. The lake is well-stocked, ensuring a successful day of fishing for both novice and experienced fishermen. Boat ramps and fishing docks are available around the lake, making it easy to access the water and cast your line.
For those who prefer to explore the lake by boat, kayaking and canoeing are popular activities here too. As you glide through the water, keep an eye out for the many bird species that call the lake home, as well as other wildlife that can be spotted along the shore.
The Loft is rated the #1 restaurant in Laurel by TripAdvisor, and for good reason. This steakhouse serves a variety of outstanding dishes, including steaks, chickens, and salads, served with a great selection of local beers. Finish that off with their delicious bread pudding!
They are in the heart of historic downtown in a beautiful old building that now houses a grand piano, which you can play with others during their Sunday afternoon jams. They have a bar and a welcoming atmosphere that serves as a central gathering place for Laurel residents and visitors alike.
History buffs visiting will not want to miss the opportunity to explore the Amos Deason House, located in nearby Ellisville. This historic home, built in 1845, is the oldest standing structure in Jones County and holds many dark secrets, including a bloodstain that will not fade and a door that opens by itself on the anniversary of a terrible event. During the Civil War, many people in Jones County refused to get involved in secession from the Union.
Newt Knight, a farmer, refused to fight for a cause he did not believe in, leading him to desert and form a renegade army with other deserters in the Leaf River Swamp. Despite most people remaining loyal to the south, Confederate troops were determined to capture Knight and his men, with Major Amos McLemore sent to capture him. McLemore made his headquarters in the home of Amos Deason, loyal Confederates.
In September, Knight threw open the door of the Deason home and shot McLemore point-blank. McLemore’s blood seeped into the pine flooring of the Deason house, leaving a stain that would never disappear, and the front door continues to burst open on the anniversary of the murder each year.
In 1991, the Deason family gave the home to the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who began restoring the house. It is now open to the public, but we have to warn you – several members of the Daughters were afraid to even be in the house!
For those who appreciate quality meats and artisanal food products, The Knight Butcher is a must-visit destination. This family-owned and operated butcher shop offers a wide array of fresh, locally sourced meats, as well as a selection of delicious prepared foods and specialty items.
As you browse the offerings at The Knight Butcher, you’ll be impressed by the variety of cuts and types of meat available for purchase. Beef cuts are numerous and include New York Strip, Flat Iron, Tenderloin, and Ribeye, as well as more hard-to-find cuts like Beef Liver and Kidneys or neck meat. They have a wide variety of pork, poultry, and lamb available too, plus ready-to-grill burgers, hot dogs, and lamb sausage. Be sure to save room for dessert too, as their homemade fudge is not to be missed.
The Knight also offers up some delicious jerky, rubs, and gear on their online store.
When it comes to finding unique and high-quality items, Laurel Mercantile Co. is a must-visit destination. This locally owned and operated store is a treasure trove of handcrafted, American-made goods. The focus on supporting local artisans and preserving the town’s rich history, and you’ll find a variety of products, including home goods, clothing, and gifts, including candles, butcher blocks, bath products, and apparel.
The store is owned by Ben and Erin Napier, stars of HGTV’s “Home Town.” Their passion for their community shines through in the carefully curated selection of products available at the mercantile.
In addition to offering high-quality, locally made items, Laurel Mercantile Co. also hosts special events, workshops, and meet-and-greets with the Napiers. Be sure to check their schedule before your visit to ensure you don’t miss out on any of these exciting opportunities.
Part of the Laurel Mercantile Company is the popular Scotsman General Store. It has a variety of locally produced items, a food truck park and observation deck, and an enormous walk-in soda freezer with tons of unique flavors.
Perhaps the favorite here, though, is the Scotsman Snowball Stand. They offer a wide variety of flavored snowball options, from classic favorites like cherry and grape to more unique concoctions like dreamsicle and wedding cake. With over 50 flavors to choose from, you’ll have a hard time deciding which one to try first.
The Scotsman Snowball Stand is more than just a delicious dessert stop – it’s also a great place to relax and enjoy some family time. The stand features a covered outdoor seating area with picnic tables, as well as a playground for the little ones to burn off some energy. It’s the perfect spot for a laid-back afternoon with your loved ones.
Sweet Somethings Bakery is the perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth. This family-owned bakery specializes in homemade, made-from-scratch cakes, cookies, and pastries that will have you coming back for more. Be sure to sample their assortment of cupcakes, brownies, and pies as well. With options like chocolate peanut butter pie and lemon blueberry cupcakes, you’re sure to find something that suits your taste buds.
One of their most popular items is the cinnamon roles, covered in pecans, syrup, and other goodness. They are also open during the evenings for wine events, too!
Another must-visit spot in Laurel, Mississippi, is Peddlers’ Junction, a sprawling flea market and antique mall that offers a treasure trove of unique finds. With over 45 vendors, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye, whether it’s vintage clothing, antique furniture, or one-of-a-kind collectibles. They were voted Mississippi’s best place to find a bargain in 2017 and Best Flea Market in Mississippi in 2022, by Mississippi Magazine.
With so much to see, do, and eat in Laurel, one great way to get the best of it all is with a guided tour. Bolton Hometown Tours, led by a knowledgeable and passionate local, takes you on a journey through the rich history and heritage of Laurel.
The tour rides through the historic district in a 7-passenger golf cart, giving you a glimpse of historic homes featured on HGTV. You’ll get stops at the city murals for pictures, the Mercantile Store for some shopping, the Scotsman General Store, and other local spots.
320FifthStreet prides themselves on being Laurel’s “favorite place to enjoy great food, great drinks, and live music.” They are open Wednesday through Saturday 11AM to 11PM as well as Sunday for Brunch, and offer a variety of enticing menu options, like building your own burger, fresh from the griddle sandwiches, soups, hot dogs, and more. They proudly serve a great selection of local beers, as well as well-known brands like Sweetwater, Blue Moon, and New Belgium.
Parking is limited here, but there are two parking decks nearby with plenty of parking spots. Their outdoor seating with picnic tables is the perfect place to enjoy the food and music.
This cozy, Cajun and Creole restaurant serves up a delectable array of dishes, from Smoked Salmon to Bayou Chicken to the classics like Red Beans and Rice or Seafood Gumbo. They also have outstanding burgers and steaks and a great selection of beer and wine.
A visit to Loblolly Boutique is a great place to stop to get the perfect gift for the little ones. It is stocked with things kids love, like stuffed animals, one-of-a-kind toys, games and more.
In addition to kids toys, they also have a great selection of baby and children’s clothing, a wooden train for kids to enjoy climbing on, a six-foot Ferris Wheel, and bubbles on the sidewalk! If you’re looking for a place to take your child, then this is a great stop.
One of the most unique and fascinating things to do in Laurel, Mississippi, is visiting Landrum’s Homestead and Village. This living history museum transports visitors back to the 1800s, providing a glimpse into the daily lives of early settlers in Mississippi.
At Landrum’s Homestead and Village, visitors can take guided tours or explore the grounds at their own pace. There are activities for the kids, like gem mining, farm animals, and a maze. The village also hosts various events throughout the year, such as Christmas at the Village and Pioneer Days.
Landrum’s is open Thursday through Saturday 9AM to 4PM. But for groups of 35 or more, they will open just for you! If you’re traveling for a school or church trip this could be a great option.
Bok Homa Casino, located in nearby Sandersville, is committed to offering an exciting and safe gaming experience. Owned and operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, this 27,000 square foot modern casino offers a wide variety of gaming options, including slot machines, table games like blackjack, roulette, and virtual table games. Their onsite Lucky’s Restaurant means you don’t have to leave the casino to grab a great bite to eat. They serve up delicious grab n’ go meals to keep you playing.
No trip to Laurel would be complete without indulging in some authentic Southern cuisine, and Pearl’s Diner is the perfect place to do just that. This family-owned and operated restaurant has been a local favorite for years, serving up delicious soul food in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
At Pearl’s Diner, visitors can enjoy a variety of mouthwatering Southern classics, such as fried chicken, catfish, collard greens, and cornbread. The menu also features daily specials. The portions are generous, and the food is made from scratch with love and care, ensuring a satisfying and scrumptious meal for all who dine there.
Located in the heart of downtown Laurel, Southern Antiques offers a vast array of antique furniture, home décor, collectibles, and vintage items, making it the perfect place to find unique and one-of-a-kind pieces for your home or collection.
This charming little store is housed in a beautifully restored historic building, and the knowledgeable and friendly staff are always on hand to help with any questions or provide information about the items available for purchase.
The Bird Dog Cafe is a charming, family-owned restaurant located in the heart of downtown Laurel, Mississippi. The cafe’s cozy interior is decorated with vintage items and rustic wood accents. The menu offers up a wide selection of coffees, teas, and alcoholic beverages like wine, cocktails, and beer. They have plenty of cozy places to sit and enjoy your beverage along with a small bite.
The cafe also plays an important role in the Laurel community, hosting events and fundraisers throughout the year. They have become a staple of downtown Laurel, and their commitment to supporting local businesses and organizations has made them a beloved institution in the area.
Now Closed: The Slowboat Brewing Company
To be sure you have the most in-depth guide possible, just know the Slowboat Brewing Company is now closed. There may be articles on the internet still discussing it, but unfortunately they closed down in 2019.