Celebrating 50 Years!

$50 Off Weekday Nights
Sunday through Thursday


Horse Drawn Carriage Ride to Breakfast

Complimentary Horse-drawn carriage ride to Saturday Breakfast - Available Seasonally - With Log Cabin Rental


Family Vacation!

Nature focused activities...
Plan your Spring or Summer Vacation Now


Hilltop Restaurant and Herb Garden

Enjoy a unique, lakeside dining experience.


We are celebrating 50 years as a Family-Owned and Operated Business!

Big Thicket Camp Park Logo
Big Thicket Red Arrow logo
Chain-O-Lakes Logo

Log Cabin Rentals

Authentic Log Cabins, Log Suites
& Private Log Homes

Hilltop Restaurant & Herb Garden

Dining in a lakeside setting

Featured Menus

Sassafras Meeting Room

Conference Center

Group & Corporate Retreats
Meeting Rooms
Challenge Course


Artesian Lakes Property for Sale

Purchase a waterfront home or waterfront lot in the adjacent Artesian Lakes Community.  The perfect place for a second home for today, maybe a retirement home for tomorrow.


The Retreat at Artesian Lakes (formerly Chain – O – Lakes Resort & Conference Center) is a uniquely designed, nature-focused facility with authentic log cabins and log suites, ideal for weekend getaways, family vacations, romantic getaways, garden weddings, group retreats, corporate retreats and business conferences.

Located on the edge of the Texas Big Thicket National Preserve, about one hour north of Houston, The Retreat at Artesian Lakes offers overnight accommodations in authentic log cabins, log suites, and private log homes.

The Retreat at Artesian Lakes is also home to Hilltop Restaurant and Herb Garden, a famous East Texas landmark founded by renowned herbalist and cook, Madalene Hill.  Hilltop’s exquisite cuisine is based on the herbs grown in the adjacent garden.

horseback riding

Horseback Riding & Carriage Rides

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Equestrian services are provided by our on-site concessionaire, Tempe Creek Ranch, from Livingston Texas. Canoes are available to rent at front desk and horse rides can be set up by calling (936) 967-0719. Effective July 1, 2019 we will be closed for Trail Rides on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. However, if you have a special event or a group of 5 or more people who are wanting to do a trail ride on one of these days please call to make a reservation.
James D Smith Sr. 1969ish

Our History

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Every so often, across this great and bountiful country, Mother Nature is especially kind to a certain small slice of her landscape. These special places are distinguished by their visual or geological esthetics as well as an intangible “energy” or “feel” about them. The Retreat at Artesian Lakes is such a place, and for over a century has served as a retreat for outdoor and nature enthusiasts, a special place for respite and rejuvenation. The story begins eons ago when this land was in the center of an “ox-bow” of the Trinity River for many thousands of years. What this means is that the river made a sharp 180° reversal of its direction; literally a u-turn. When heavy rains upriver…
Hilltop Restaurant and Herb Garden

Breakfast Buffet

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8:00 to 10:00 a.m. • Every Saturday Included with stays in our log cabins, log suites and Hall House. Available to guests staying in our private homes for $12.00 per person.
dining room

Friday Dinner

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Friday Dinner - 5PM - 9PM Buffet plus A La Carte Menu
Hilltop Restaurant and Herb Garden

Saturday Lunch

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Saturday Lunch - 11:30AM - 2:30PM Salads, Burgers, Sandwiches, Wings and more!
grilled chicken breasts on rice pilaf

Saturday Dinner

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Closed October 19th for a wedding party. - Saturday Dinner 5:00 - 9:00 P.M.

Newly built home in a very private location.
Includes carriage ride an breakfast on Saturday morning at Hilltop Restaurant.

This home is spacious and beautiful. When you first enter, you are greeted by 20’ high ceilings and an open view of the Main Living Area with log walls, a ceiling high stone fireplace, Dining Area, full Kitchen, and a large Loft Area above. There is a 360 degree view provided by an array of windows in literally every exterior wall of the house.

The Kitchen is fully equipped with modern appliances. There is a pass thru opening and walkways that facilitate conversation and food distribution to the 8 chair dining table and adjacent living area with 2 large sofas and 3 comfortable arm chairs.  (Read More….)

Everything was great. Wonderful food, friendly service. I will for sure make more reservations.


The home was perfect for our family. The children loved the horseback riding, fishing and alligators. I love what you did with the swimming pool and fish pond.


Quiet and peaceful visit. It was nice to get away from everyday life and be close to home.


The community is beautiful......far enough from the big city but close enough for a weekend getaway. It's our choice....quiet and relaxing.

JaneStayed in The Lake House