A charming city in Prince George’s County, halfway between Baltimore and Washington, DC, Laurel is perched on the banks of the picturesque Patuxent River. The city was a major mill town in the past, but now, it has evolved into a hub of activity. Laurel is brimming with attractions, nightlife, and restaurants, and it is no wonder this city has become a popular destination for entertainment and recreational opportunities over the years.
If you have moved to Laurel recently and are looking for fun things to do with your family or alone, know that your options are plenty. From fishing to hiking, and wine tasting, here are our picks of the five best things to do in Laurel.
If you have kids who dream of being paleontologists when they grow up, make sure you drive them to Dinosaur Park.
A unique attraction in Laurel, located close to the Montpelier Mansion, the Dinosaur Park is operated by the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation. The destination rests on the former iron ore mines and furnaces site, used in the 18th and 19th centuries to produce iron and steel. Workers at the mine were the first to discover dinosaur fossils from the Cretaceous Period (115 million years ago) at the site in 1858. Later turtle and crocodile fossils were also uncovered.
Today, the site is open to the public. In the park, there is a specific paleontological dig where visitors can join the onsite staff and volunteers to search for fossils. In addition, there is a small dinosaur-themed playground in the park that your children obsessed with dinosaurs will surely love.
Jailbreak Brewing Company
Laurel residents love craft beer, which is why Jailbreak Brewing Company, which opened in 2014, is a local favorite place to hang out. Featuring a large taproom and a kitchen named Foodworks that only opens on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Jailbreak Brewing Company is a great spot to enjoy some delicious steak frites, salads, flatbreads, burgers, and shareable plates. They also offer a variety of gluten-free and vegan dishes. Plus, they have a wide array of beers to choose from. The most popular flagship beer options include Special Lady Friend (American IPA), Clearly Righteous (West Coast-style IPA), Doubles (Hazy DIPA), Feed the Monkey (Hefeweizen), and the Infinite (Amber Ale).
This brewery is known for its delicious food, excellent beers, and great atmosphere. Not to mention, the staff is super friendly and willing to help you have a great experience. Lastly, those interested in the beer-making process can sign up for a guided tour at the brewhouse.
Resting on the Patuxent Riverbank is the charming Laurel Museum that aims to preserve the city’s history. Located at the west end of Main Street, within a former mill worker’s home built by Horace Capron in the 1830s, the Laurel Museum is where you can discover Laurel’s past.
This 2,590-square-foot brick-and-stone building features a wide array of exhibits and a main annual exhibit that is updated in February every year. Recent themes include Laurel during the Civil War, local healthcare, the lives of mill workers, and the story of Laurel Park Racetrack. In addition, a unique feature of the museum is that the exhibits on every floor have a different focus.
The Laurel Museum is free to enter and remains open from 9 am to 5 pm every day. So, head to this spot to learn about your new hometown’s history, explore various paintings and sculptures, or simply stroll through the majestic gardens.
Address: 817 Main St, Laurel, MD 20707, United States
Phone: (301) 725 7975
Dutch Country Farmers’ Market
The Dutch Country Farmers’ Market in Laurel is the largest of its kind in Maryland. Situated in the easter part of Laurel on Fort Meade Rd, this sprawling market brings several merchants selling local produce, groceries, prepared foods, and all kinds of treats from the Dutch Country under a single roof.
Some popular items that locals often come here to buy include cuts of beef, lamb, and pork, cheeses, Christmas turkeys, bread, pickles, fresh soft pretzels, ice cream, pastries, cheesecakes, artisanal candies, and all kinds of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Next time you have to fill your pantry, make sure you head to the Dutch Country Farmers’ Market. Also, enjoy some prepared food while you are here, such as fried chicken, pasta salads, sandwiches, BBQ, rotisserie, and more.
Address: 9701 Fort Meade Rd, Laurel, MD 20707, United States
Phone: (301) 421 1454
Patuxent Research Refuge North Tract
Located close to downtown Laurel, the Patuxent Research Refuge’s North Tract is a visitor area established in 1936 as the only National Wildlife Refuge for wildlife research in the US.
Spreading across more than 12,800 acres of land, extending to the Baltimore and Washington, DC, areas, the northern portion of the tract is much less trafficked and offers more outdoor recreation options than the southern part. The 20 miles of trails in the area can be used for walking, biking, or horseback riding and leads to a designated wildlife viewing area overlooking the Patuxent River. In addition, there are opportunities here for hunting, fishing, and natural hiking. The National Wildlife Visitor Center also hosts education and environmental science programs occasionally.
One point to remember is that the North Tract was once an artillery training range, and unexploded ordnance is regularly discovered here. So, ensure you stay on the trails and don’t wander off.
Address: 230 Bald Eagle Dr, Laurel, MD 20724, United States
Phone: (301) 497 5770
Live Your Best Life in Laurel
Laurel is a perfect place for anyone who loves adventures. With a wide array of attractions and things to do that range from fishing to hiking and wine tastings, you will have a great time in the city.