The Lost Pines, a 13-mile belt of loblolly pine trees, about 25 miles southeast of Austin, includes treasures such as the Lower Colorado River, which runs right through it, the 1,100-acre McKinney Roughs Nature Park, and, of special interest to groups, the 400-acre Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa, which can arrange group activities on the river, in the nature park, and, of course, at the resort. See more at successfulmeetings.com/LostPines.DAY 1: WATER WONDERS
As the saying goes (sort of), "give attendees fish and you feed them for a day, teach them to fish and you feed them for life." And it's a fun group activity, too. The Hyatt offers fishing lessons right on property in its Plantation Pond, which is always kept stocked. "That makes all the difference in the experience," says Jarrod Owens of Renegade Trailhead, the company that manages the property's nature activities. "A stocked lake can pretty much guarantee the group is going 'catching' rather than just fishing."
Kayaking on the Lower Colorado River is also available nearby. Don't worry about the water being too swift, the part that runs through Lost Pines is leisurely and calm like this tributary running through the Hyatt's golf course. So even the least active attendees will be able to master it. Groups can be led by representatives from McKinney Roughs Nature Park.DAY 2: GET RESORTY
The Wolfdancer Golf Club, located on property at the Hyatt, was named one of the "Best Resort Courses" by Golfweek in 2015. The layout of the course takes golfers through rolling hills, and makes great use of the trees of the Lost Pines area as ridgelines. It also offers terrific views from the greens and fairways of the Lower Colorado River. The club features a full-scale practice facility with a 13-acre driving range.12:30 PM
After a morning on the links, there's nothing more welcome than an afternoon at the spa. Attendees who want to "spa" like a local can indulge in a Colorado River Rock Massage at the Hyatt's Spa Django. Hot river stones diffuse heat into deep muscle tissue and leave tension "unchained."6:00 PM
The Crooked River Water Park and Pool is a great setting for evening events and free-time activities when the group isn't in meetings. It features a sandy beach, two-story waterslide, and adults-only pool with whirlpool.DAY 3: HAPPY TRAILS
Renegade Trailhead, which operates out of a rustic lodge not far from the Hyatt, has three facilities in the Austin area that stable a total of 55 horses, all of which are available for groups.12:00 PM
Groups can get a bird's-eye view of the 18 miles of nature trails and four ecosystems in the 1,100-acre McKinney Roughs Nature Park via Zip Lost Pines. Attendees can choose from six zip-line trails and walk over three suspension bridges.6:00 PM
There's no better place for a small group to end the trail than dinner at Stories, the Hyatt's signature restaurant. As you would expect from a Texas resort, Stories is an upscale steak house, but diners can also enjoy fresh seafood, gourmet salads, and more.This article appears in the October 2017 issue of Successful Meetings.