A variety of research indicates that many benefits can be derived from spending time outdoors. Whether engaging in vigorous outdoor activities or just taking a stroll, most people find that their stress levels are reduced, while their creative skills are enhanced. Adding an outdoor element to group gatherings is especially enticing for meetings held during the summer. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the best places in the South for fun summer events.
Why It’s A Super Summer Spot: In this scenic area, groups can charter a sailboat, paddleboard along the Chesapeake, rent a fishing charter, or take a guided tour to discover all the history Annapolis has to offer. North of the city, in the BWI Region, you can challenge your team on a unique outdoor adventure with zip lines, rope courses, climbing towers and many more team building options at our Adventure-based team building venue.
Super Group Event: The Chesapeake Bay, where groups can sail on a 74-foot wooden schooner and learn why Annapolis has long been called the “Sailing Capital of the U.S.” Groups can also choose from many types of fishing charters with options that include food, drink and music. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the U.S. and has some of the best fishing in the country.
GREENE COUNTY, TN
Why It’s A Super Summer Spot: Mild summer temperatures provided by the mountains in Greene County entice groups to enjoy adventures such as fishing, hiking, boating, skiing, rafting, hunting, horseback riding, camping and swimming in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Cherokee National Forest or along the Appalachian Trail. Participants can free their senses by hiking the numerous trails of the National Forest Service, enjoying the awesome waterfalls and natural beauty and wildlife of undisturbed forest lands, or dropping a line and hook into one of the many mountainous streams.
Super Group Event: The Nolichucky River, a free-flowing waterway, has a personality that ranges from mild and scenic to wild and scenic. In addition to providing challenging rafting experiences, it also offers calm, scenic spots to fish or just contemplate the beauty of nature.
GULF SHORES & ORANGE BEACH, AL
Why It’s A Super Summer Spot: This destination has 32 miles of white-sand beaches, a scenic state park and offers adventures for all ages, from watersports and dolphin cruises to a Civil War-era fort. Whether groups choose to sink their toes in the sand or cruise on kayaks, coastal Alabama is an ideal meeting destination to unwind, reconnect and discover natural treasures.
Super Group Event: Gulf State Park, home to 6,150 acres of stunning wildlife and natural habitats, has one of the largest fishing piers on the Gulf Coast, more than 27 miles of trails, a nature center, lakes, Segway tours, beach pavilion, and two miles of beachfront. Segway tours and kayak and paddleboard rentals within the park help groups capture a true sense of place, take in the area’s flora and fauna and get a workout in the process. The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a 350-room Hilton hotel with 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, will open in 2019.
NEW BERN, N.C.
Why It’s A Super Summer Spot: Situated on the confluence of the Trent and Neuse Rivers, New Bern features beautiful waterways, a royal governor’s palace, spectacular gardens, historic homes, quaint shops, cozy restaurants and lively entertainment. Boat tours, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and yoga classes on the water provide fun in the sun.
Super Group Event: Stand up paddle boarding gets groups outside and active and if someone does not want to get wet, the chances are very high that they will not, even if they are a novice paddle boarder. Stand Up Outfitters, a local Paddleboard authority, offers a ginormous paddleboard that up to 10 people can fit on, a great way to build teamwork and have fun.
SOUTH WALTON, FL: The Pearl Hotel
Why It’s A Super Summer Spot: Rosemary Beach is a bustling pedestrian town in the summer. Though the beach is its biggest draw, the plethora of unique restaurants and shopping are an added bonus when people are ready to sneak away from the heat. Guests of The Pearl Hotel also have access to an intimate spa with an 18-and-over pool for true R&R.
Super Group Event: Pedego 30A Electric Bike Tours allow groups to explore state parks and pedestrian communities without the extra physical work in the heat. Salt Air 30A Pontoon Boat Tours pair groups with a local guide for sunset tours (complete with wine & cheese) of the area’s rare coastal dune lakes. Another option is a Rooftop Yoga Class while watching the sunrise over the beach, followed by a private brunch bar.
SOUTH WALTON, FL: The WaterColor Inn & Resort
Why It’s A Super Summer Spot: Situated along Scenic Highway 30A, which hugs the coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, WaterColor is a vibrant beach community. Known for its sugar white sand beaches, turquoise water, rare coastal dune lakes, and welcoming beach neighborhoods, 30A is also home to a wealth of cultural attractions and events, including nationally recognized festivals and more than 20 local art galleries.
Super Group Event: Groups can surf or paddleboard at the beach or on a dune lake. The BoatHouse Paddle Club at the WaterColor BoatHouse offers guests the opportunity to experience stand up paddle boarding. Additionally, open-air concerts in neighboring communities of Seaside and Grayton Beach can be found nightly during the summer.
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
Why It’s A Super Summer Spot: Benefitting from its central east coast location, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Chesapeake Bay and within driving distance of major cities, Virginia Beach has built-in summer event spaces along 35 miles of sandy coastline, state parks and nature trails.
Super Group Event: The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium, which has 15 trails, 21 zip lines and almost 200 challenge bridges, is a great venue for a corporate outing or team building events. The Adventure Forest is the largest forest climbing park in the nation and offers a fun way to interact with co-workers outside of the normal office setting, enhancing cooperation, communication, and group cohesion.
By: Marcia Bradford, Senior Editor for ConventionSouth Magazine
Click here to read more from the January 2018 issue of ConventionSouth Magazine.