By Cara Smith

Want a charming weekend escape? Head out to the sweet surprise of Mount Pleasant, a cozy city of around 15,000 people, just under a 2-hour drive east of the bright lights of Dallas.

This might be Texas’s best-hidden gem, packed with relaxing family fun and old world charm.

Mount Pleasant isn’t the big city. It’s open spaces neighbor 7 lakes offering fishing and boating, biking and hiking.

Pack your bags and some grub and get ready to experience the great outdoors at Lake Bob Sandlin State Park. Just a half hour from Mount Pleasant, heading south towards Houston, Lake Bob Sandlin State Park is an ideal setting for nature buffs, seasoned anglers, and family travelers alike.

There’s a 9,000-acre lake where visitors can swim, fish, paddle, and boat; a stocked pond filled with largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie; three miles of hiking; and dozens of spots for a picnic with the kids.

Or consider a drive outside of Mount Pleasant to nearby Efurd Orchards or Greer Farms for seasonal fun like berry picking and peach ice cream.

Efurd Orchards is famous for its juicy peaches and fresh produce, while Greer Farms offers cooking classes and prides itself on its sustainable agriculture model.

Take a tour of the Piney Woods Wine Trail with over 20 vineyards to sample, where you can relax and recharge under the big skies. Scenic vineyards include Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards, Red Road Vineyards and many more. Check the event schedules for live jazz and cottage rentals.

If you’re a history buff go back in time at the Mid America Flight Museum and marvel at the museum’s rich collection of vintage planes, historic warbirds, and one-of-a-kind aircrafts—many of which still fly. This is a thrilling experience only open for large groups, families, and history buffs on Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Golfers will appreciate the Mount Pleasant Country Club and enjoy its gorgeous course that’s welcomed the likes of professional golfers Buster Cupit, Jacky Cupit, and Betty MacKinnon. Open to the public, visitors can book a tee time online or by phone. 

If the links aren’t calling your name, shopping is always a great option while strolling the charming streets of downtown in Mount Pleasant. Fans of classic Southern styles will love Rocking C Leather & Boutique, while those looking for bold blouses and colorful dresses will have trouble leaving The Willow Boutique empty-handed. For a pick-me-up, fresh pastry, or panini, the hip Jo’s Downtown, housed in a historic building that dates back to 1894, is a must.

Mount Pleasant has good food to go with the peaches and wine. Maybe some hearty pizza and Italian fare at Nardello’s in downtown Mount Plesant will pair well This trendy eatery offers a delicious tavern board of fresh cheeses and cured meats, Neapolitan-style pizza, savory sandwiches, and a generous wine and beer menu.

Or try the Crazy Heifer’s for ultimate comfort food like juicy burgers, chicken fried steak, sweet potato casserole and buttermilk pie.

Find the perfect take home confections to satisfy your sweet tooth with a tour of Sweet Shop USA’s 80,000-square-foot factory, where it produces more than 100 types of chocolate candies. It’s not every day you get to step foot inside the largest handmade chocolate manufacturer in the country.

Since we’re talking sweet, try Laura’s Cheesecake downtown, and discover more than cheesecake. Try a filling breakfast burrito, sandwich, or traditional breakfast plate.

Summer’s coming, take a detour from your usual weekend getaway spots and discover something entirely new in Mount Pleasant—a city that lives up to its name.

Life is just a little sweeter in Mount Pleasant. To book your stay, or for more information, visit mtpleasanttx.com.

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