Meeting on a sandy beach or a rocky shore brings the serenity of water views and the renewal of refreshing breezes.
It can be a river in the Midwest, a California mountain lake, a gulf-side white-sand beach or a Southern man-made reservoir. And waterfront meeting venues are as diverse as their water bodies; they can be a rustic resort, an elegant 1920s retreat or a modern mountain getaway, among others.
Here are some venues where waterfront views are a primary part of the appeal.
Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park
The Kentucky Dam on the Tennessee River creates Kentucky Lake, the largest man-made lake in the eastern United States. The Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park sits on the western end of the dam. Its offers visitors a lodge with 72 lake-view rooms — each with a patio or balcony — and a full-service restaurant with a wall of windows that overlook the marina. On the grounds, guests can choose whether to stay in one of the 60 cottages or in the 14-room Village Green Lodge that sits on the 18-hole golf course.
Meeting planners bring their groups to the resort “because it’s an all-in-one,” said LaDonna Miller, director of marketing and sales for Kentucky State Parks.
The resort’s stand-alone conference center is a 6,300-square-foot space that can be split into three smaller rooms and boasts two decks. Behind the center is a pavilion where groups can set up picnic tables.
“When you have your meeting breaks, everybody goes outside,” Miller said.
The Village Green Lodge’s 1,100-square-foot event room also has an outdoor patio, and the lodge offers another 670-square-foot meeting room. Groups can arrange private dining in the lodge restaurant, which has a wall of windows overlooking the marina, or cater to the conference center, which has a kitchen.
Sponsors often use the cottages to host parties or entertain in the yards.
Groups can rent pontoon boats or houseboats to get on the water, and trails at the park are down by the beach and lead across the dam to the Kentucky Dam Visitors Center on the other side.
The Don CeSar
St. Pete Beach, Florida
Since it opened in 1928, The Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach, Florida, has been a winter wellness retreat for the who’s who of society. Now, 92 years later, the beachfront property is wrapping up a resortwide renovation that preserves and enhances the property’s Jazz Age elegance.
The iconic pink hotel sits next to white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, so it “feels like you’re in the tropics,” said Todd Gehrke, director of sales and marketing.
The property redid all its meeting space in 2018, along with the lobby, the exterior pool, the landscaping and the guest corridors. In 2019, the hotel renovated its boutique shopping area, the lobby bar and the resort’s fine-dining restaurant, Maritana.
The redesign of the 277 guest rooms begins in July, and the hotel will also redo its Sea Porch Cafe and Beachcomber Bar and Grill and add a double-decker bar between the two pools.
The 5,700-square-foot bilevel Grand Ballroom on the first floor is attached to a foyer, as well as a veranda and the courtyard, which can seat about 100 for meals.
But when Thomas Rowe built the property, he did something unusual for the time; “he put all of the event space up on the fifth floor,” Gehrke said.
The North and South Terraces are identical spaces, each with a 2,500-square-foot window-surrounded room that leads onto a 2,650-square-foot, partially shaded veranda overlooking the beach. Planners will find several other spaces on the fifth floor, including a 3,450-square-foot ballroom.
Outside, the covered Beach Pavilion can accommodate 250 people, and the Rowe Bar has fire pits. Because the property has its own private beach, the hotel can do barefoot receptions or luaus, bonfires on the beach and fireworks over the water.
Beach Retreat and Lodge at Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe, California
The Beach Retreat and Lodge at Tahoe sits on the southern shores of Lake Tahoe, just over the California state line. The resort’s 261 guest rooms are all newly renovated and feature gas fireplaces and either a balcony or patio; many have views of Lake Tahoe’s impossibly clear water.
The property has nearly 8,200 square feet of indoor event space, along with outdoor venues that bring people to the water’s edge — or even over it.
The 3,200-square-foot Lakeview Ballroom can seat 250 for banquets, and a wall of glass doors provides lake views or opens onto a 1,000-square-foot deck. The ballroom can also be split into three smaller spaces.
Planners can seat 180 under the Beachfront White Tent for dinners, or use it for receptions or company barbecues. Groups can also use the lodge’s beach for outdoor receptions or networking events where guests can play cornhole, giant Jenga, giant Connect 4 or sip drinks from a tiki bar.
The Boathouse on the Pier restaurant sits on the pier and over the water, and it’s one of the top places on Yelp for places to watch a sunset in Tahoe, said Drew Phillips, director of sales and marketing.
The restaurant can be used for smaller private events for up to 40 guests, and it’s popular for executive teams or VIP events. Inside the boathouse, a second-floor balcony is “the prime real estate,” Phillips said. “It literally feels like you’re floating over the water. The view is all water, mountains and sunset.”
Best Western Adams Inn Hotel and Waterfront Event Center
The Best Western Adams Inn Hotel and Waterfront Event Center sits on the banks of the Neponset River in Quincy, Massachusetts, less than 10 miles south of Boston.
The hotel’s riverfront setting, along with its proximity to the city and location on Interstate 93, is a big draw for meetings and other events, said Fred Dole, corporate director of sales for Giri Hotel Management, which owns and manages the property.
The hotel has 106 guest rooms and three main event spaces. The inn’s marquis venue is the riverfront gazebo, a large, round wooden pavilion with a cupola on top. A short pier leads to the gazebo, which stands over the water. It can seat 125 for meals and is a popular spot for the hotel’s riverside New England lobster and clam bakes, as well as cocktail hours and receptions.
The interior ballroom is the largest event space and can accommodate up to 150 people. A smaller meeting room has walls of windows overlooking the river, “so it has beautiful views; but for those that need to get work done and not stare at the river all day, they do have blackout blinds,” Dole said.
The Adams Inn Pub serves lunch and dinner, and guests can drink and dine al fresco on the deck overlooking the river.
Visitors can also stroll along the river on the Quincy RiverWalk, which runs for two miles along the Neponset River Estuary, from the gazebo at Adams Inn to Squantum Point Park, with views of the estuary along the way.
Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and Convention Center
Not every hotel has boat-in access, but the Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and Convention Center in downtown Oshkosh, Wisconsin, does. The hotel sits on the very edge of the Fox River and has direct access to the riverwalk, as well as boat slips on the river side of the property.
Most of the 176 guest rooms have views of the Fox River and Lake Winnebago. The hotel connects via skywalk to the adjacent Oshkosh Convention Center, but the hotel itself provides its own meeting space.
The 3,400-square-foot Athearn Ballroom can be broken up into three smaller spaces, and the 880-square-foot Lake Winnebago room can also be divided. The property has several other breakout spaces.
The full-service restaurant, Ground Round at River’s Edge, is attached to the hotel and offers outdoor riverside dining on its patio. Guests can even boat in for dinner and pull up to a boat slip on the riverwalk next to the restaurant.