By Tim Mueller Photography, courtesy Louisiana Tourism
Like Destin, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Ala., are known for water sports. One activity, however, dominates.
“Fishing is one of the biggest attractions here along the Alabama Gulf Coast,” said Veronica Petkov, public relations specialist for Spectrum Resorts, which includes the Beach Club, with some 13,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.
“If anyone is interested in deep-sea fishing or inland fishing, then we will assist in coordinating that with our local vendors,” she said.
And many are interested, according to Beth Gendler, vice president of sales for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism. Some meeting guests come early or extend their visit to fish on their own. Most, however, join organized outings.
On fishing excursions, groups are divided into teams and board charter boats equipped for six to 50 people. Excursions can last from two to four hours. Fishing trips to the calmer back bays can alleviate seasickness, if that is an issue.
Explore down under
Kentucky is known for its whiskey, bluegrass, Thoroughbreds and the massive caves that snake under the south central section of the state.
At Mammoth Cave National Park, a World Heritage Site, the Mammoth Cave Hotel can accommodate meetings of up to 125 people. Many opt to hold their base meeting in nearby Bowling Green, about 45 minutes west.
The National Park Service leads tours of Mammoth Cave, the world’s longest known cave system, with more than 390 explored miles. Tours vary in length and difficulty, from an hour or so for a walking tour and a history talk to more than six hours for a tour that requires participants to crawl through part of the cave.
Vickie Carson, public information officer, recommends a short tour if a planner is not familiar with guests’ physical conditions or tolerances for being underground. The park’s website details the elevation changes and length of each tour.
Historic Diamond Caverns, Lost River Cave, Kentucky Caverns, Outlaw Cave and Onyx Cave are also in the area and offer tours.
Aim to please
In the mid-South, hunting is more than a sport; it’s a way of life. “Deer and duck hunting are staples, and Tunica is world-renowned for duck hunting,” said Justin Rogers.
He should know. Rogers manages Willows Sporting Clays and Hunting Center, on the 660 acres in Tunica, Miss.
Part of Harrah’s Tunica Casino and its 45,000 square feet of event space, Willows offers duck, deer, quail and turkey hunts with experienced guides.
But groups are most interested in the facility’s bread-and-butter: trap and skeet shooting with clay pigeons.
“We get a ton of corporate groups,” Rogers said.
Each of 14 automated clay shooting stations has three levels. Participants often divide into teams.
Willows’ “five stand” gives shooters five stations for a new perspective/experience each time, and “duck flush,” a setup that lets shooters aim at targets thrown from machines spread out over the area.
Groups often pair the outing with a cookout or picnic. “People like to be outside and enjoy nature,” Rogers said.
855-633-8238 (Meetings at Harrah’s)