Planning an event for the heat of the summer? Make a splash with a water-based venue.

It’s summer in Texas, and you know what that means: heat and humidity. Fortunately, many Texas venues are on the water and offer some much-needed relief. We looked at five venues across the state and spoke with planners who made a big splash by choosing to meet by the water. Here are some tips for helping your guests stay cool.

Offer a room with a view (an air-conditioned one, that is). For indoor events, consider resorts with a backdrop of calming waters to inspire productivity.

Part of Lakeway Resort & Spa’s 24,000 square feet of meeting space, the 5,150-square-foot Vistas Ballroom sits on the upper level of the facility and overlooks Lake Travis in Austin. The ballroom offers a wraparound terrace, vaulted ceilings, and dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views. Overnight guests also appreciate that 86% of the rooms at the resort have lake views, as well as full-size sliding glass doors leading out to private balconies.

Sea Star Base Galveston’s banquet hall sits on the fifth floor of a state-of-the-art facility and features panoramic views of Galveston Bay, where guests can often catch glimpses of frolicking dolphins. The space can accommodate seated events for up to 275 guests and standing receptions for 330.

The 2,077-square-foot Harbour Room at Tanglewood Resort in Pottsboro, just north of Dallas, has a spectacular view of Lake Texoma and can accommodate up to 170 people. The room can be combined with an adjacent ballroom to provide more than 6,000 square feet of banquet space for up to 500 guests.

Choose a balcony for outdoor mingling. When it’s time to unwind after an event, a balcony over the water gives guests a beautiful view while allowing easy access to food and drinks—and cool air—indoors.

For a private event at Lakeway Resort, Becky Navarro, founder and CEO of Pearl Events Austin, used the establishment’s balcony as a place for guests to relax with a drink before the main event. “We used the balconies for cocktail hour, and the main ballroom with the lake in the background was where the ceremony took place,” says Navarro.

Kristi DePew, co-owner of Eclipse Event Co., also coordinated a private gathering at Lakeway Resort. “The [client] chose the venue because the views of the lake are unparalleled,” says DePew. “The sunset over the lake was the perfect backdrop for photographs.”

To heck with the temperatures—take it outside. Although you may be at the mercy of the weather, guests look forward to being outdoors when attending an event on a waterfront property. Many venues offer multiple outdoor options, such as decks and private-access beachfront locations.

The Waterpoint Landing Deck at Margaritaville Lake Resort Lake Conroe–Houston in Montgomery provides visitors with an intimate waterfront deck that offers expansive views of the lake. Guests can stay cool under the shade of stately oak trees.

Put the meeting on cruise control. Add a cruise or lake excursion to your agenda to make an event special and memorable. Many venues partner with local boating businesses, making the coordination of group outings much easier.

At South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center in League City, for example, guests can enjoy a relaxing ride on beautiful Clear Lake—complete with beer, wine, and light bites—organized through Houston Party Boats. Tanglewood Resort also partners with a local business that offers sunset and dinner cruises, sightseeing tours on the water, private boat rentals, kayaks, paddleboards, and more. Margaritaville Lake Resort has boat and watercraft rentals and also offers a cruise on The Little Palm yacht, which can accommodate up to 70 guests. The Little Palm has lounge seating, a stereo system, two flat-screen TVs, and recessed lighting.

Navarro recalls how guests at an event she coordinated were treated to a cruise, with attendees boarding a party barge after the gathering. Likewise, guests at an event DePew coordinated were encouraged to take advantage of boat rentals. “Being near the lake added a relaxing element to the day, where guests could mingle outside and take in the breeze over the water,” says DePew. “The resort was also able to recommend boat rentals and make water sports referrals to guests so they could enjoy the water in their off times. In Texas, it’s always hot enough to be on the water.”

Do some angling. If your guests are up for adventure, add fishing to the experience. Organize an excursion so attendees can bring home tall tales along with their memories of your event. Many venues will coordinate acquiring fishing licenses for guests.

Not only does Sea Star Base Galveston offer fishing, but money spent on charters also helps fund education programs for youth, families, and people with disabilities. Tanglewood Resort’s private fishing outings can be tailored to first-time and experienced anglers, small groups, large corporate groups, and anything in between. Meanwhile, Lakeway Resort has partnerships with Lakeway Marina and Texas Sailing, which both offer team activities, regattas, and fishing tournaments.

Light up the night. Fireworks over a lake create a spectacular ending to any retreat. During the filming of “American Idol” at Lakeway Resort earlier this year, a stunning display over the lake dazzled both the attendees and celebrity hosts.

Ensure spaces are accessible. Guests will want to explore the property and enjoy the water, so easy accessibility to all features at a resort is key. Choosing a well-planned-out space will please guests.

At Lakeway Resort, all meeting spaces are within a three-minute walk of each other, and there are resort golf carts available to take attendees down to the property’s marina. And at Margaritaville Lake Resort, the shore of Lake Conroe is easily accessible from all the resort’s suites and its seven on-site restaurants.

Make your event family-friendly, or allow the 21-plus crowd a chance to relax in the water. If you choose a resort with or near a waterpark, you can offer a fun, cooling experience with your event. Guests at Margaritaville Lake Resort, for example, enjoy the on-site 3-acre waterpark when they’re not working, while Lakeway Resort has parents covered with a family-friendly pool with a waterslide.

Leaving the kids at home? Then bring the bar to the water! At South Shore Harbour, guests can take a dip in the marina-side Oasis Pool with a swim-up bar, private cabanas, and an outdoor lounge. Over at Margaritaville Lake Resort, the 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar is a swim-up bar that serves bar bites and tropical drinks.

Bring the water indoors with your theme or decor. Guests can enjoy the view outdoors, but you can also bring the outdoors in with water-inspired decor. Adorn your event space with ship portholes, poolside lounge chairs,
or nautical anchors.

Immerse your team. Water, far more than just a beautiful backdrop, can be incorporated into team-building events. 

Keep teams engaged with a water-based team-building activity designed to focus on engagement, cooperation, and collaboration.

Margaritaville Lake Resort’s Continental Drifter Cardboard Boat Regatta encourages teams to work together through a friendly competition. Each team is given one hour to build a boat out of materials provided by the resort and then race each other on the water.

For a real regatta that will bring a team together, Lakeway Resort offers guests the opportunity to work together on a sailing excursion that includes training and professional sailing guides. The resort can also coordinate a fishing tournament for groups.

Think outside the box with a beachside sandcastle competition, beach Olympics with several beach games, and coconut bowling on the beach. Margaritaville Lake Resort offers all of the above.

“We have the unique ability to host a meeting, seminar, or conference that combines serious learning with serious fun with Lake Conroe as the backdrop,” says Tom Faust, vice president of sales and marketing for Margaritaville Lake Resort. “Whether a group wants to partake in a team-building activity or host a reception for attendees on the water, we have an endless variety of options and ideas to achieve your group’s goals.”

Planners looking for a destination with an array of venue types, all catering to small-scaled meetings, and fun after-hours entertainment need look no further than McKinney, located just 30 miles north of Dallas. Whether historic, nature-based, modern, or situated in a Croatian village, McKinney’s venues are designed to meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

 

Engage with peers and leaders in Plano, Texas, during this learning and networking event.

The Texas Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus has announced the location of its 2023 Winter Conference. Attendees will gather in Plano, Texas, from January 17-20, 2023. The yearly event gives destination marketing organization staff and leadership the opportunity to learn from expert presenters, meet industry mentors, and find camaraderie in an atmosphere of learning and innovation.

 

Event hosts can choose whether the view rotates or stays put.

The iconic Reunion Tower in downtown Dallas will soon welcome a new restaurant, Crown Block steakhouse. Reunion Tower restaurants have been renown over the years for their slowly rotating view of the city. However, owners and husband-wife business partners Kim Canteenwalla and Elizabeth Blau have chosen to keep the dining area stationary. The previous restaurant, Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty, spun 360 degrees, but it closed in 2020 during the pandemic.