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

Start in Nature

Start your day with an early morning hike at the DeSoto National Forest. Located here are two National Recreation Trails, the Black Creek and the Tuxachanie, which offer more than 60 miles for novice and expert hikers to explore pinewoods.  Other trails include Bethel and Rattlesnake Bay ATV trails, Big Foot horse trail, Leaf hiking trail, and Bethel bicycle trail. Everyone from avid cyclists to keen birders and leisurely wanderers will find something to love about DeSoto National Forest.


Let’s Start Shopping (and Eating)

Once you’ve got your fill of the beautiful Mississippi forest, head to Hellfighters USA for a unique-to-Laurel shopping experience. Technically a motorsports dealership, Hellfighters USA is a one-stop-shop for boutique-worthy clothing, home décor, Christian books and décor, and so much more!

Once you’ve shopped to your heart’s desire, walk right across the street for lunch at the infamous PDI / Phillips Drive-In. This classic drive-in is a step back in time serving up mouthwatering burgers and shakes as delicious as when they first opened in 1948.

A little less than a mile away, the shopping continues at Peddler’s Junktion. Here, shoppers take a step back in time to browse through vintage, antique, and artisan wares. Once you’ve loaded up the car with furniture, tchotkes, and even jewelry. If didn’t stop at PDI / Phillips Drive-In for  burgers, you may try Blue Crab Grill for fresh seafood, located next door to Peddler’s.

Shopping and dining go hand-in-hand in Downtown Laurel – your next stop. Funky boutiques, charming toy shops, and antique treasures are all waiting to be discovered. And dinner? Pizza, burgers, pasta, steaks, and more grace the menus of local eateries. From Southern comfort cuisine to fine dining options, whatever craving your daytripping has conjured, there’s an answer for it in Downtown Laurel! Be sure to peruse our full list of shopping and dining options!

Once your belly is full, it’s time to cruise through the Historic District (perhaps while enjoying something sweet from Shug’s Cookie Dough and Candy Bar or Something Sweet Bakery) to view gorgeous craftsman and bungalow style homes. In fact, Laurel touts fame for being home to the largest in-tact contiguous collection of turn-of-the-century craftsman and bungalow style housing (but also for being the setting of HGTV’s Home Town featuring the sweet Ben and Erin Napier). A definite must-see!


The Murals

If you make a day trip and don’t Instagram it, did it even really happen? One of the best ways to explore Laurel is to find all of our murals for a quick photo opportunity. Here are 8 must-see murals to look for as you explore during your day trip to Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi.

  • Laurel Looks Good on You
  • Be Kind
  • Welcome to Laurel
  • Loyal as a Book
  • The City Beautiful
  • Laurel Mercantile
  • Scotsman Co. Woodshop
  • Greetings from Laurel
  • Butterfly at Magnolia State Bank


Stop by on The Way In or Out

The best way to maximize your time in Jones County is to make a stop on your way into or out of town! We’ve already recommended that you start your day at DeSoto National Forest, but if you can manage to spend the night, first thing the next morning would be a great time to grab a to go coffee (and pastries and more) from The CoffeeHouse at Brookside, Small Coffee (hello, delicious cinnamon rolls), Jitters Coffee House and Bookstore, or Lee’s Coffee and Tea, then head to DeSoto for an early morning stroll.

Depending on which way you’re headed when you leave our hometown, be sure to leave time for one of these stops as you leave Jones County, MS!

US 15 North: Hit up 16th Avenue for shopping.

59 South: Historic Ellisville and The Deason Home

US 15 South: Landrum’s Homestead and Village | DeSoto National Forest

59 North: Bok Houma Casino


If you’ve decided a day trip to Laurel and Jones County, Mississippi isn’t enough, find a place to rest your head in our Where to Stay guide. Home Town fans, be sure to check out our guide to seeing Laurel the Home Town way!